10 Famous Beaches To Explore In And Near Santa Barbara (2023)
When Sun is shining, and the weather is pleasant, there’s nothing more exciting than visiting a beach, and when you are in Santa Barbara, you can visit a lot of them. Santa Barbara’s proximity to the Pacific makes it an ideal beach destination in the state, and believe it when said, “Santa Barbara has some of the best beaches in California“. Also, when the magnificent Santa Ynez Mountains forms the backdrop facing the south-facing coastline, the beauty of the Santa Barbara coastline doubles up, creating a heavenly environment and view.
Santa Barbara beaches aren’t just famous for their beauty and tranquillity, but like various other Californian coastlines, they too are the hotspot for swimming, sunbathing, boating, kayaking and endless other fun activities.
10 Famous Beaches to Explore in and Near Santa Barbara
Considering all the recreation and rejuvenation they offer, here we have compiled a list of the 10 best beaches to visit in Santa Barbara. Have a look:
1. Leadbetter Beach
Leadbetter is any day, the top-rated beach in Santa Barbara. It is one of the preferred spots for surfing and swimming, and its west-facing location delivers some astounding view of the sunset. No matter which time of the day you are here, you will indeed find some windsurfers and sail boaters plying the offshore waters. Apart from being a stunning location, the beach has most of the modern amenities, including BBQs, restrooms, showers, and some popular local restaurants nearby. Also, due to its proximity to Santa Barbara College, tourist attractions and hotel, Leadbetter Beach is often crowded, and the atmosphere here stays lively and celebrative all the times.
2. Arroyo Burro Beach or the Hendry’s Beach
Arroyo Burro Beach, which is referred to as Hendry’s Beach by the Santa Barbara locals, is exactly as narrated by the guides and read in books. It is one of those shores where you can spot seals, whales, and dolphins, though if you spot one, maintain a safer distance from the waters. Hendry’s is also one of the very few beaches in Santa Barbara where dogs are allowed without a lease. If you have a furry, four-footed companion with you, here you can set them free. Further, before getting them into your car, wash off the beach sand from their fur at the coin-operated pet wash machine nearby. Also, consider waiting at the beach a little after 4 in the evening and grab your cocktails (happy hour) and sizzling seafood at the Boathouse restaurant. Image Source
3. Miramar Beach
If any beach is blessed for a natural setting in Santa Barbara, then it definitely has to be Miramar Beach. The scenic view, fresh waters, serene atmosphere, and deep blue horizon make Miramar truly one of the best beaches in Southern California. Miramar is overlooked by the Rosewood Miramar Beach resort, with cute and tiny beach houses tucked on a line along with the shore. Low tides days are ideal for spending some time here, as, during high tide, ocean water washes even till the resort balcony. Surfing, swimming, strolling, and dog walking are some popular activities here at Miramar.
4. Butterfly Beach
Butterfly beach is a naturally beautiful spot located in upscale Montecito, known for its evergreen vibe and glowing sunsets. The beach lies along the street of the Four seasons resort-The Biltmore Santa Barbara and is never left alone by visitors, even several famous celebrities can be spotted at times. It is a walkable beach, and even if you are here on a cloudy and gloomy day, the views and atmosphere are still admirable (only apart from high tide days). However, in case you do not wish to head into the sand, you can simply grab a seat at the rock wall that lines the upper part of the beach and capture the best sky and ocean views. Also, amongst most of the South facing Santa Barbara beaches, it is counted amongst one of the few west-facing beaches.
5. East Beach
One of the busy Santa Barbara beaches that offer an array of recreational activities can be none other than the 1.6 miles of East Beach. It is the longest of the city beaches; thus, no matter how many visitors are here, it always remains breezy and feels less crowded. Here you can enjoy everything from volleyball games, rollerblading trails, water sports, art fairs, or simply sunbathing. If you have a choice of days, consider visiting here on Sundays and be a part of a famous art fair held along the promenade. Ocean near the beach is comparatively calmer, making it ideal for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming. There’s also a Skater’s Point skate park, especially for kids on the waterfront.
6. Summerland Beach
Featuring low crowds, a quiet atmosphere, easy, shallow ocean entrance and vast shores, the Summerland Beach is one of the best-kept secrets of Santa Barbara. It can be reached slightly way south of Santa Barbara, just below Lookout Park. For a relaxing, laid-back beach day, just take your beach umbrella and enjoy your time here. Showers, parking, a few picnic tables and a kids play area are serving right at the beach. Also, Summerland Beach isn’t just dog-friendly but horse friendly too, and the Los Padres Outfitters offers sunset horseback riding tours promising an unbeatable experience. Once you are done with beach activities, you can further head towards the adjacent town and shop from some antique stores.
7. Santa Claus Beach
Santa Claus Beach is another hidden gem of Santa Barbara, located in the small oceanside town of Carpinteria. Apart from the locals, it isn’t known by many thus, the seen here are always quiet and low on crowds. Shores here have shallow, gradual entrance making it ideal and comfortable for not-so beach-friendly visitors and kids as well. The beach gets mild waves making it fun for water activities like general frolicking, paddle boarding, boogie boarding, body surfing, and kayaking. You don’t have to bring it all along as rental shops and surf shops along the lane provides gears at rent. You can also bring your pets along, as long as they are on lease.
8. Carpinteria city Beach
Another beach in the town, the Carpinteria State Beach in Santa Barbara, is noted as one of the safest beaches in the world. The ocean here is primarily calm, along with gentle slopes and protective offshore reefs. Ideal for complete family fun, the city beach offers plenty of facilities, including picnic tables, restrooms, showers, volleyball courts, and campgrounds. A little far southeast along the coast, you can head up to the world’s most famous surf breaks, right at the Rincon Point. Carpinteria City Beach offers long walking paths and some beautiful spots to capture sunsets.
9. Mesa Lane Beach
A hidden beach gem in Santa Barbara, the Mesa Lane Beach is a sight totally unknown to travellers and even most of the locals. Getting down to the beach is a bit of physical strain as one has to get along a long staircase (tucked between private homes); however, the wilderness and sandy paradise of the beach makes it all worth the efforts. Views from the beach are breath-taking, ideal for nature admirers and photography enthusiast alike. Mesa is also known for local surfing, though there aren’t; any lifeguards on the spot, hence it can be slightly risky. Avoid visiting here during high tide days as the ocean water blends in the beach altogether, and you might not find even a single trace of it.
10. Goleta Beach Park
Goleta Beach Park is a family-friendly and kids friendly beach park and a less busy place than several downtown beaches. It is popularly known for its 1,500-foot pier offering beautiful Pacific coast views and endless fishing opportunities. The beach is within proximity to the Santa Barbara airport, ideal for a quick stop before flying off the city. It is well packed with amenities including picnic tables, barbecues, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, restroom, playground, kayak rentals, a bar cum restaurant and more. The pier and beachside restaurant are some of the prime sunsets watching spots here. Further, the abundance of free parking adds another level of comfort.