Recommended Santa Barbara Beaches
While Santa Barbara is well known for its expansive, pristine beaches, it has just as much space to offer inland as well. Santa Barbara’s beaches and parks are a testament to the city’s affinity for fresh air and outdoor fun. Starting at the Pacific, Santa Barbara is home to miles of public beaches, many of which serve as a launch pad for making a splash. Surf some of the most renowned breaks in the world, or stand-up paddleboard in the protected waters of Butterfly Bay in Montecito. Cabrillo Boulevard connects East and West Beach, which are hot spots for pick-up volleyball games, picnics, and an afternoon date with a good book. Catch the art fair every Sunday.
Rincon is one of the most well-known surfing locations in the world, specifically for its tremendous right break. Look toward this beach off Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Ventura any morning or summer day, and you will find locals enjoying this premier surf location.
Enjoy the best location to watch the sunset in Santa Barbara at Butterfly Beach. A wide angle view of the wharf and its lights at night make this west-facing beach the perfect place to be at sunset. This beach is one of the only west facing beaches in Santa Barbara and it’s a great spot to watch the Fourth of July fireworks off West Beach from afar. Butterfly Beach is directly in front of the five-star Four Seasons Biltmore and Coral Casino in Montecito, CA.
East Beach is one of the most popular beaches for volleyball and BBQs in all of Santa Barbara, and with good reason. Extensive lawn areas with picnic tables, a generous number of volleyball courts (over 12), a playground area for young children, and palm trees for shade make East Beach the perfect location for a full day at the beach—and the Santa Barbara Zoo is just around the corner. Parking is available in a city lot and along Cabrillo Blvd.
West beach is known to be quieter with no facilities on the beach, but is within walking distance of food and shops along the Cabrillo Boulevard boardwalk. It is located between the marina and wharf, and in front of the Veteran’s Center. It is also the location of the popular West Beach Music Festival, a launch point for kayaks and sailboats, and the center stage of the Fourth of July Fireworks display.
You will find Leadbetter beach bustling with families and friends at beach parties and barbecues all throughout the summer. It’s an excellent location for swimming, surfing, sailing, and stand up paddle boarding, with restrooms and outdoor showers provided. Hungry visitors enjoy the numerous barbecue pits for cooking or their choice of indoor or outdoor dining at the Shoreline Beach Cafe. The Santa Barbara harbor, where you can rent kayaks or paddle boards, as well as sample great seafood and treats, is also just a quick stroll away.
Also known as “Dog Beach” or Arroyo Burro Beach, Hendry’s Beach is a favorite for local dog owners. From the hours of four to eight PM on weekdays, the parking lot is almost always full as men and women cruise over after work to take their dog for a stroll. The beach is also home of the Boathouse Restaurant, which is located right on the sand with amazing views of the beach and serene waters.