Year-round warm weather and small offseason crowds are reason enough for some to take a weekend trip to one of the most beautiful towns in America this winter. A better vacation alternative to Santa Monica, if you're looking to surf, winter in Santa Barbara offers the best swells. It's also the season to witness the annual gray whale migration. Mid-November to mid-February is also when monarch butterflies migrate through the region in the thousands. Spend time shopping on State Street, strolling through the Santa Barbara Museum of Art or touring the numerous breweries and wineries around the city.