How many other cities have had soap operas named after them? Consistently near the top of the rankings with a median home price slightly more than $3 million, Santa Barbara is nicknamed "America's Riviera" [source: Forbes].
Located on a rare stretch of south-facing land along California's coastline, it's nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, part of the 1.9-million-acre Los Padres National Forest [source: Santa Barbara]. Known for its Mediterranean-like climate, the city is surrounded by a number of wineries and ranches. Another big draw is the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, a favorite of Southern California elite.