Arriving by plane:
The closest airport is the Santa Barbara airport (SBA). Several major airlines fly into SB. LAX or Burbank Airports are the next closest and a quick 1.5 hour drive north to SB.
Arriving by car:
From LA area: 1.5 hour drive north from LA
From SF: A scenic 5 hour drive from SF. *keep in mind many hotels charge a daily parking rate
Arriving by train:
This fun alternative is great if you don't feel like renting a car and have a few extra hours. Amtrak has several stops in LA that bring you up to SB. The station is in the heart of downtown and close to several hotels.