:: Santa Barbara, CA - jpoff
Station/Boat Location~

Date there~
Dec 2005 to July 2007

The weather is wonderful. In winter it is usually 55 to 65 degrees during the day (long sleeve T-shirts and jeans) and can get down into the 30s at night. We found you should always take a jacket with you when you leave the house! The rainy season starts typically starts around January and ends around March. The rain in the winter can often bring floods and mudslides in the area. The summers are mild. The highs are normally in the mid 70s with lows in the 60s. While we were there, it only got unbearably hot for about one week one July. The temp can be close to 80 degrees but there is almost always a cool breeze. There is a foggy season called “June Gloom” that typically starts in late May and goes through early July (the fog usually burns off by 1pm each day, but on the Mesa where the housing is it can last much longer). This is not weather related, but we did not experience any earthquakes while we were there. There were a few wildfires that got kind of close to the city, but nothing truly threatening.

Military facilities~
The closest military bases are Port Hueneme in Ventura which is 45 to 50 minutes from housing and Vandenburg AFB in Lompoc which is 50 to 60 minutes from housing (all times depend on traffic). Both have a nice exchange and commissary. You can get IDs at both. There is bowling and free movies at Port Hueneme. We went to Port Hueneme to shop at the Commissary and Exchange once a month. I also used their MWR ticket office (for Disneyland and Six flags tickets), their JAG office (for notary) and their ID office. They also have a Vet office that will see your animals for the price of vaccines (about half the cost of a visit to a civilian vet). They also have affordable microchips available.

Everyone has Tricare Prime Remote. Most people I knew used Jackson Medical Group for their primary care physician; I recommend Dr. Cummings. I also recommend Dr. Lindblad for OB/GYN care. He had delivered two Coast Guard babies and loves working with the Coast Guard families. He also helped me through my miscarriage. The on call doctor I dealt with when I had questions after hours was great as well. I had surgery at Cottage Hospital in Goleta. The staff was amazing and the experience was wonderful! For dental, I saw Drs. Grube and Scott in Goleta. The members were required to see Dr. Davis for dental. There are several OTC medications available at the MSD office.

Coast Guard housing was amazing. I never dreamed I'd live in a house with a wide-open view of the Pacific Ocean. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. There are 8 houses on a gated street (Lighthouse Place) off of Shoreline Dr. It's literally 2.5 miles to the MSD and boat from housing. The houses are 3 bedrooms/2 full baths, with W/D hookups, an attached one car garage, disposal, dishwasher, gas stove, and carpet throughout (except the bathrooms, laundry, and kitchen area). The bathrooms were redone in 2006 and the kitchens were redone just before that.
There is central heat, no air, but you honestly don't really need A/C. There is almost always a cool breeze, so you can open your windows for air conditioning. Each house has a back porch with a large storage room attached. Four houses have porches with a view of the ocean; the other four have living rooms with views of the ocean. Each house has an additional storage shed in the back yard. Tenants must perform their own yard maintenance. A mower and yard tools were provided, but that could change. Two of the houses have bigger bedrooms and bathrooms than the other six houses. Each house has a master with an attached bathroom. The 6 smaller houses have stand up showers in the master bath and a tub/shower combination in the guest bath. Each bath has only one sink. The 2 larger houses have tub/shower in both bathrooms, one sink in the master bath, and two sinks in the guest bath.
Living on the economy is difficult. Members in SB receive Ventura BAH. It's a lot cheaper to live in Ventura so it is difficult to find a suitable place on the SB economy within BAH. One family lived in Solvang (30 min drive). Some lived in Summerland and Montecito. The non-rate bachelors lived in a government leased house in Carpinteria.

In Goleta there was Linen's and Things (probably closed now), Home Depot, K-Mart, COSTCO, Comp USA, Staples, Michael's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Orchard Hardware Supply (OSH), Big 5 (discount sports), Play It Again Sports, Walgreens, and Radio Shack.
In Santa Barbara there is Nordstrom, GAP, Victoria Secret, Bath and Body Works, Staples, Office Max, Smart and Final, American Eagle, Trader Joe's, PetCo, Sears, Robinson's May, KB Toys, Circuit City, and Radio Shack.In Ventura/Oxnard there is Office Depot, Target, Walmart, Petsmart, Family Christian Bookstore, Best Buy, Babies R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Kohl's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Linen's and Things, Old Navy, and Nordstrom Rack (my personal favorite).
Lazy Acres and Albertson's grocery stores are within walking distance of housing as well as a Longs drugstore (which I believe has been bought by CVS), Rite Aid, Starbucks, and Hallmark (with a small Post Office inside). You can also grocery shop at Von's, Albertson's, Ralph's, Gelson's Market, or Trader Joe's.Restaurants are wonderful but can be pricey. Our favorite was right down the road from housing, El Torito – half price appetizers during happy hour. Mesa Thai on the corner of Cliff and Cabrillo/Meigs near housing was very good. We also enjoyed Marie's Kitchen in Goleta. I also liked the Sushi place down at the harbor. Pick Up Stix in Goleta was also a favorite.
There are AMAZING farmer's markets throughout the week.
The traffic in and out of SB typically gets bad around 3:00 in the afternoon with commuters. Friday and Sunday evenings are the worst. The traffic is usually only bad for a short distance, though. Holiday traffic is very bad – try to use the back roads.

Child Care/Schools~
I didn't have kids while in Santa Barbara. One neighbor's kids went to the grade school across the street from housing. Another neighbor's kids attended Santa Barbara High school. I believe there is also a Catholic school in Goleta. There didn't seem to be any complaints about any of the schools.

Adult Schools~

I took a few classes at Santa Barbara City College. They charge in-state tuition to military spouses. Ask about it when you go through the admissions process. Parking is difficult. My classes were all after 5pm so I parked in the Waterfront parking for free and walked through the track area to get to class. The school is close enough to housing to ride a bike. They offer some good programs and seem to design their class schedules around typical 8 to 5 job hours. Other schools are UCSB in Goleta and Brooks Institute of Photography.

Fun Activities~
There is an abundance of things to do. We took the Trolley Tour so we could find out more about SB and what there is to do here. We visited the SB Courthouse, the SB Mission, the Botanical Garden, the harbor seals in Carpinteria, Nojoqui Falls, the SB Zoo, the Ty Warner Sea Center, and the Natural History Museum. There are also whale watching tours and a Duck tour. If you want to overlook Goleta and Santa Barbara, drive on E. Camino Cielo from Highway 154 to Gibraltar Rd. It's about a 1.5 scenic drive through the mountains. There are many festivals throughout the year; the Carpinteria Avocado Festival in October was our favorite. There are also free outdoor concerts throughout the summer.

Additional Info~
If you are looking for a church, I highly recommend Reality Carpinteria. It is about a 15 minute drive from housing, but well worth it. There is another church that is closer that we have not attended, but would recommend, Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara.
For auto body work, we used Hughes Auto Body in Goleta. Ask for a discount for being Coast Guard. He gave us 10% off.
For help in finding a place to live on the economy and/or a job, contact the Santa Barbara Navy League. They have adopted both SB Coast Guard units and are always looking for ways to help the Coast Guard members and families (I was their Office Administrator while in SB).
Cable (Cox) costs were close to $100 for basic and expanded cable plus the mid-grade high speed internet access. We used VOIP, so I don't know the cost of phone service (Verizon).

Homeport CA

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