The city of Santa Barbara and its surrounding residential neighborhoods from Carpinteria to Goleta are located along one of the most breathtaking and pristine stretches of coastline in California. Nestled between the rugged foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains and the vast expanse of the glittering Pacific Ocean, these oceanfront communities are sustained year-round by a temperate Mediterranean climate, and their beauty is continually being nurtured and enhanced by dedicated homeowners. With such a setting and legacy, it is no wonder that the southern Santa Barbara County coastline is home to some of the world’s most desirable real estate. Perhaps nowhere is Santa Barbara’s remarkable life under the sun more vividly experienced than its beachfront and oceanfront homes.
Beachfont homes at Rincon
Just south of Santa Barbara, several residential communities are located along the seawalls of the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1 or 101 Freeway). Together these are referred to as the Rincon, and include Solimar Beach Colony, Pacific Coast Highway, Faria Beach Colony, Seacliff Beach Colony, and Mussel Shoals. Rincon Point is located at the northernmost end of the Rincon, on the border of the Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, and includes 36 homes on and 36 homes off the beach. Its rocky beach on the Ventura side boasts the excellent surf break for which the Rincon is famous.
Besides easy access to some of the best surf in the world, each of the Rincon communities has its own unique characteristics and advantages. For instance, some enjoy dry sand more often than others, and some offer shared community amenities such as gated access, tennis courts, playgrounds, gardens and parks. Because of the freeway’s proximity, residents also have an easy commute to Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, or Ventura and beyond. And though freeway noise is a consideration, it is generally drowned out by the ocean breakers. Life on the beaches of the Rincon is defined by its fresh ocean breezes, the saltwater spray, an up close experience of marine wildlife, and a perpetual vacation lifestyle away from it all.
Beachfont homes in Carpinteria
Sand Point Road and Sandyland Cove are Carpinteria’s two beachfront residential communities. They are both guarded and gated, and provide residents with a “toes in the sand” experience of life and luxury, right on the California coast. Uniquely coupled with the privacy and security that both communities enjoy is their sense of immense openness, being nearly surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean and the 230 acre Capinteria Salt Marsh reserve. These expanses of pristine natural beauty allow for panoramic island and mountain views, and also provide a buffer from freeway and railroad noise.
The Sand Point Road community includes 33 beachfront homes as well as eight homes within the Moorish-style Casa Blanca development. Sand Point Road boasts an especially private neighborhood and beach, perhaps the most private in the entire Santa Barbara area. Besides its access road being gated and perpetually guarded, its beach is bordered by the outflow of the Santa Monica Creek and Salt Marsh reserve on one end, and an enormous sea wall at the other end. Privacy is remarkable even between neighboring homes, with beach frontages of 100 feet. Access to amenities outside of the neighborhood is still extremely convenient, however. The adjacent 101 Freeway quickly takes you north to Santa Barbara or south to Ventura, and residents can easily walk to shops and restaurants along the quaint Santa Claus Lane.
Sandyland Cove includes 37 beachfront homes with a 38 foot standard frontage and many double lots. The beach of Sandyland Cove, in contrast to Sand Point Road, is open to the public as a continuation of the Carpinteria State Beach—which is a very popular beach indeed. Though the summer months see great crowds along this stretch of beach, residents can easily take part in the energy and recreation while entrusting the privacy of their beachfront decks to an ever-patrolling guard. Residents also enjoy the walkability of their neighborhood, with the myriad of shops, restaurants, and other services along Linden Avenue within easy walking distance.
Beachfont homes in Summerland
The charming little town of Summerland rests on the hilly slopes and bluff-tops directly above Summerland Beach, so that the majority of homes enjoy magnificent ocean and island views. Those that can truly be considered oceanfront homes, however, are the 11 single-family homes located on the bluff-top with beach access and two additional oceanfront homes set back on the bluffs, as well as two beachfront condominiums. Even though these homes are not located directly on the sand, most have their own private staircase down to the beach. And with bluffs only about 30 feet high, the climb is quick and easy. Summerland Beach is a wide stretch of dry sand, usually isolated from the beaches of Montecito or Carpinteria. During low tides, however, long beach walks can be made in both directions. Lookout Park is located on Summerland’s bluff-top and provides public access to the beach as well as amenities for hiking, picnicking, and play. Summerland’s oceanfront homes are ideally located for enjoying the coast’s abundant natural beauty as well as the town’s quaint downtown center.
Beachfont homes on Padaro Lane
Homes located along the oceanfront of Padaro Lane, just east of Summerland, are situated on a sandy cove unrivaled in the Santa Barbara area for its combination of wide, spacious, dry beach and privacy. Although the Padaro Lane Beach is not gated, it is rarely visited by the public due to a seawall on its eastern end and steep bluffs on its western end. Homeowners prize the quiet serenity of their long stretch of coast, while never feeling far from the shopping and dining options at Summerland and Santa Claus Lane—these are in fact within walking or biking distance. Each home, whether situated on either end or the middle of the cove, offers a unique vantage point and experience of the coast. Altogether, there are 87 homes on and 26 homes off of the Padaro Lane Beach. The easternmost end of Padaro Lane features beachfront cottages with 50 foot frontages, with the best view of the Santa Barbara coastline and its spectacular sunsets. The middle section features one acre lots with larger homes sitting on a slightly higher elevation that provides both protection from stormy waves and a complete view of the Padaro Lane cove. The westernmost end of Padaro Lane consists of bluff-top homes situated on multiple acre lots, in view of the coastline stretching south toward Carpinteria. In addition to these properties, the gated, private community of Beach Club Road provides beachfront and non-beachfront homes in the Padaro Lane neighborhood.
Beachfont homes in Montecito
Four distinct beachfront areas along Montecito’s coastline offer a diverse array of luxurious oceanfront homes. Montecito’s southernmost beachfront community is found along Fernald Point Lane, and includes 34 homes oriented towards both the east and west. Those facing east enjoy more privacy along their beach cove, since the road is gated at this end. However all properties feature long, lushly landscaped lots that provide a stately buffer between homes and any beach-going public.
Adjacent to Fernald Point is the Miramar Beach community, which includes 27 cottages built snugly next to each other right on the sand. Many of these cottages feature their original 1920s build and design, when the homes were developed as beach getaways for the wealthy of Montecito. They are compact homes, as narrow as eleven feet wide, and some only inches apart from one another. Homeowners and the public alike delight in the Miramar’s spacious sand beach, which is especially a favorite of young families. Next along the Montecito coastline is Hammond’s Beach, which includes the communities of Edgecliff Lane, Sea Meadows, and Bonnymede/Montecito Shores condominiums. All three are gated and guarded, affording the utmost privacy to residents. The beach itself offers a quiet stroll along dry sand, and can be followed east to Miramar Beach or west to Butterfly Beach, where the amenities of the Biltmore Hotel and Coral Casino can be enjoyed. Although the beach is open to the public, it is secluded during high tides from neighboring beaches and otherwise only accessible via the Hammond’s Meadow Trail. Along the trail, properties are often hidden from passersby behind walls of tropical flowers. Among the homes located on Hammond’s Beach, 38 are directly on the beach while many more are located just off of the beach or along the bluff-tops.
Butterfly Beach, Montecito’s westernmost stretch of coastline, offers 17 oceanfront and bluff-top homes, located directly across Channel Drive from the beach. During the warm summer months the street can get crowded with the parked cars of the beach-going public. Still, the inconvenience is more than made up for by the world famous amenities provided by the Biltmore Hotel, the Coral Casino spa, and the Music Academy of the West—not to mention the incomparable beauty of Butterfly Beach itself.
Beachfont homes in Santa Barbara proper
Santa Barbara proper features 136 oceanfront homes along its beautiful bluffs from Shoreline Park in The Mesa area to just past Hendry’s Beach (Arroyo Burro Beach). Additional oceanfront condominiums are located along Cabrillo Boulevard, facing East Beach and Leadbetter Beach. All of these locations are within walking distance of the beach, and most are also within walking distance of shops, restaurants, schools, parks, and other amenities. With clear and open views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean and silhouetted Channel Islands, Santa Barbara’s oceanfront real estate offers residents an inspiring and unobstructed experience of the California coast.
El Escorial Villas at East Beach is a resort-style condominium community offering luxurious oceanfront living in Santa Barbara. Not only are residents footsteps from East Beach’s wide stretch of sand, but they are also near to the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Bird Refuge, and a myriad of shopping and dining options along the Santa Barbara waterfront and the Lower Village of Montecito. Amenities within the community include tennis courts, health club, pool and spa, library, barbecues, and clubhouse, as well as 24-hour guard service and a gated entrance.
Santa Barbara’s single-family oceanfront homes begin on the northwestern end of the city’s waterfront, along Shoreline Drive. Homes situated across from Shoreline Park enjoy ocean and island views beyond the park, as well as beach access via steps leading down from the park. Shoreline Park is the perfect place to enjoy panoramic views of Santa Barbara, to breathe fresh ocean breezes, to enjoy picnics on its numerous benches, play games on its wide, manicured lawns, and to take invigorating walks on its long paths. Children especially enjoy Shoreline Park’s charming, sandy playground. Residents also have easy access to Leadbetter Beach, as well as shopping, dining, and other amenities in the West Beach and Mesa neighborhoods. Several homes along Shoreline Drive in the East Mesa neighborhood enjoy bluff-top, oceanfront properties. A secluded, sandy beach is accessible via the “One Thousand Steps” staircase (in reality much fewer steps, though still a climb), and it’s at its best during low tide when the beach is widest and fascinating tide pools are revealed. Oceanfront homes continue along the bluffs of the western end of the Mesa neighborhood. While a few of these homes have their own staircases down to the beach, most share access via the “Mesa Lane Steps”. This peaceful stretch of beach leads all the way to the popular Hendry’s Beach and the Douglas Family Preserve. Further along Cliff Drive, just past Hendry’s Beach and just before the Hope Ranch neighborhood, are the bluff-top homes of the Campanil neighborhood. Here some of the largest and most luxurious selection of Santa Barbara’s oceanfront homes can be found. Many are gated and over an acre large, and though few have direct beach access, all enjoy wide ocean and island views.
Beachfont homes in Hope Ranch
There are 37 bluff-top estates within the prestigious Hope Ranch neighborhood, most covering more than two acres, and featuring some of the most expensive real estate in Santa Barbara. While only some of these bluff-top homes have their own staircases down to the beach (per local zoning restrictions), all residents of the Hope Ranch community obtain a gate key card and exclusive access to Hope Ranch Beach. Although the beach is accessible during low tides from public Hendry’s Beach, the walk is so long that non-residents virtually never make their way over. Hope Ranch Beach also features amenities such as umbrellas, picnic tables, and a snack shack open during the summer.
Residents of Hope Ranch oceanfront homes enjoy not only the breathtaking scenery and serenity of the coast, but also the many benefits of living in the Hope Ranch community. These include equestrian trails, tennis courts, easy access to Laguna Blanca School and the La Cumbre Country Club, and proximity to shopping and dining along Santa Barbara’s upper State Street.
Beachfont homes in Goleta
Although true “toes in the sand” properties are not available along the Goleta coast, a few enclaves of bluff-top homes provide a spectacular oceanfront experience and easy beach access via steps. Found along just a few streets in the More Mesa, Isla Vista, and Ellwood neighborhoods, these properties are quite rare, and even more rarely come available on the market.
Homes located on the south side of Dorwin Lane and Austin Road, adjacent to More Mesa, boast the most up-close and sweeping ocean and island views of any residential neighborhood in Goleta. They also enjoy private shared access to the beach with the rest of this quiet neighborhood. Only two oceanfront homes in this neighborhood have been sold in the past five years, highlighting the rarity of these desirable homes. Oceanfront homes in the small university town of Isla Vista are found along the south side of Del Playa Drive. Overlooking the ocean from atop lofty bluffs, these homes present lucrative income property opportunities, as students expect to pay a premium for these spectacular locales. Only four sales in the past five years again demonstrate the rarity of these homes on the market.
If you are considering a beachfront or oceanfront property anywhere in the Santa Barbara area, it is imperative to research the specific erosion rate of the parcel you are considering purchasing. Erosion rates can differ dramatically from very little to 5-6 inches of lost bluff front per year. Some oceanfront homes in Isla Vista are dramatic examples: concrete patios can be found extending out several feet past the edge of the bluff where the hillside has been eroded away underneath it. Contact Daniel Zia by phone (805-456-3635) or email to discuss any beachfront and oceanfront homes in the Santa Barbara area. He would be happy to give you more information about this exceptional niche of the Santa Barbara coast real estate market.