Because this beach is part of a State Park, beachgoers have access to excellent facilities, including 131 overnight camping sites, showers, restrooms, picnic tables and grills, and even a small general store on weekends. There is plenty of parking, although it costs $5 whether your stay is a few minutes or a few hours. In spite of the facilities and usual activities such as swimming, surfing, tide-pooling, volleyball and so on, this beach offers a wonderful feeling of remoteness, privacy and tranquility.
17 miles north of Santa Barbara, about a 20 minute drive on Highway 101. Look for the signs for El Capitan State Park.
Nearly 30 acres of beach and park comprise Goleta Beach County Park, sandwiched between Santa Barbara and the University of California’s Santa Barbara campus. There is something for everyone at this popular spot, including plenty of sand, expanses of grass, picnic facilities and paved trails for walking and bicycles. There is a fantastic dedicated bike path from many of Santa Barbara to Goleta Beach. This is the only beach in the Santa Barbara area with a non-commercial fishing pier, and is one of three with its own restaurant and snack bar, The Beachside Cafe. In addition to swimming, sunning, picnicking and people watching, Goleta beach offers children’s playgrounds, restrooms, areas for volleyball and horseshoes, boating and a jet ski ramp. The large, free parking lot attests to this beach’s popularity, especially with families and university students.
Just 5 minutes West of Santa Barbara off Highway 217 near UCSB and the Airport.
Arroyo Burro (“Hendry’s”) Beach
Centrally located at the intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas Road, and quite popular with Santa Barbarans, this stretch of oceanfront attracts couples out for a romantic stroll, families seeking a spacious sandy playground, surfers, and dog lovers and their pets who enjoy the canine camaraderie plentiful at the beach’s off-leash area. In fact, this is such a dog-friendly place that canines have their own washing and grooming station. While it is now officially named “Arroyo Burro,” the stretch of shoreline carries the local’s moniker “Hendry’s,” referring to Anne Hendry, a Scottish immigrant whose family farmed nearby land from 1890 to 1919 or so. One of the original ‘farm houses’ still exists nearby. The beach lies adjacent to tony Hope Ranch, an exclusive residential enclave, and is in the cliff-side shadow of the Douglas Family Preserve, a pristine plot of publicly-accessible fields, woodlands and trails. Outdoor showers, restrooms and a grassy area with barbecue grills and picnic tables add to the appeal, and a beachside restaurant, The Boathouse, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner just a few yards from the sand and surf.
From Highway 101, take the Las Positas Road exit and turn towards the ocean, Turn right on Cliff Drive and the beach parking lot will be two blocks on your left.
When the Santa Barbara Harbor breakwater was constructed in the 1920’s, it slowed the natural north-south migration of sand along the Santa Barbara coast. Above the harbor, that sand created Leadbetter Beach, now one of the most popular beachfront recreation spots in the area. Beginner and intermediate surfers enjoy the usually gentle swell of the beach’s point break. Especially during the summer, when winds are the most consistent, windsurfers and kitesurfers join the fun. A large parking lot is convenient not only to the beach, but also to the adjacent park-like grassy area hosting picnic facilities, restrooms and outdoor showers as well as the Shoreline Beach Cafe.
Take Cabrillo Blvd. along West Beach and just past the Harbor the parking lot will be on your left.
Acres of sand, over a mile of ocean access, social and recreational facilities, plenty of parking and convenience to Santa Barbara’s beachfront hotels make this the city’s “front yard” beach. It is always easily accessible, and is as safe and clean as any public beach can be. In the summer months, it benefits from regular grooming and a contingent of lifeguards. The beach is bordered by a grassy, palm tree-lined park that hosts a festive Sunday open-air arts and crafts show and sale as well as frequent, impromptu soccer games and lively drum circles. A paved path comfortably accommodates joggers, bicyclists and skaters.
The wonderful 1920’s vintage Cabrillo Pavilion and Bathhouse sits proudly near the south end of East Beach. Popular and versatile, the historic building offers the East Beach Grill, showers, lockers, a weight room, childrens’ play area and even a lovely banquet and meeting facility overlooking the ocean and Channel Islands. A dozen beach volleyball courts, picnic tables and grills are nearby.
More information about East Beach and its facilities is available at www.santabarbaraca.gov, or by calling (805) 564-5418 .
Take State Street to Cabrillo Blvd. Left on Cabrillo Blvd. The beach is on the right beyond the entire stretch of grassy, park-like frontage and extends all the way down Cabrillo Blvd. to the volleyball courts.
Butterfly, Hammonds & Miramar Beaches
Constituting one of the most prestigious stretches of sand on the entire West Coast, this continuous swath of Montecito beach has been a playground for the well-heeled and the well-known since the 1920’s. Extending from the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel on the north, to Fernald Point on the south, it offers a sun-soaked setting convenient to both a world-class resort and multi-million- dollar beachfront estates. Although these three contiguous beaches can narrow significantly at high tide, at low tide you can stroll from the Butterfly cliffs just north of the Biltmore, past the exclusive Coral Casino Beach Club, on to Hammonds and Miramar Beaches and beyond to Fernald Point, where $30 million will buy you a spectacular oceanfront manor. There is plenty of fun and recreation here as well. Surfers know Hammonds for its superior waves, groups of young locals (looking like they just stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue) toss Frisbees, footballs and flirty glances, while joggers and walkers appreciate the safe and serene, lengthy and unimpeded venue.
Butterfly Beach is perhaps best-known, however, for its spectacular sunsets. As Santa Barbara’s most west-facing beach, it is ideally situated to capture the visual rewards and romantic ambiance of what is, for many locals and visitors alike, the ultimate twilight ritual. Add the frequent site of dolphins putting on their graceful, playful show just offshore, and you have a postcard ending to a perfect Santa Barbara day.
Butterfly Beach: Coast Village Rd. or Hwy 101 to Olive Mill Rd. Turn away from the mountains on Olive Mill Rd.; Hammonds & Miramar Beaches: Hwy. 101 to San Ysidro Rd. Turn toward the beach and continue to end (Eucalyptus Ln.).
Perhaps the Santa Barbara area’s most eaily accessible beach, Summerland’s stretch of sand is just a block off of Highway 101. Not only is it convenient, it is also user-friendly and fun. The beach rests below Lookout Park, a lovely oasis of green lawn dotted with picnic tables, barbecues, and playground equipment for the kids. A paved walkway leads to the mile-long expanse of beach, which, at low tide, connects with Fernald Point and the beautiful Montecito beaches to the north, and extends to Loon Point on the south. It’s hard to imagine that Summerland Beach was home to a forest of wooden oil derricks a century ago.
Hwy. 101 to Summerland (Evans St.) exit. Turn toward the beach and enter Lookout Park.
Carpinteria (State & City) Beaches
For more information: http://www.countyofsb.org/parks/