Santa Barbara is a beautiful city located in Southern California. It is known for its stunning scenery, Mediterranean climate, and lovely beaches. Santa Barbara boasts more than 110 miles of coastline and ranks as one of the best beach towns in America. But with so many great beaches to choose from, it can be tough to decide which ones to visit. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the 11 Best Beaches in Santa Barbara, perfect for whatever type of beach day you’re looking for. Read on to find out more!
Best Beaches in Santa Barbara, CA
1. Leadbetter Beach
Leadbetter Beach is one of Santa Barbara’s best-known and most popular beaches. This locals’ favorite is located in the picturesque Harbor District, where you’ll find a variety of restaurants, shops, and art galleries. The beach is also home to the Santa Barbara Yacht Club and the Santa Barbara Sailing Center.
The wide beach here stretches for almost a mile along the coast. The waves are gentle, and the water is clean, making it a great beach for swimming, surfing, paddle-boarding, and other water activities. And if you don’t want to rest, you’ll find plenty of space to spread your towel and relax. Lifeguards are on duty during peak hours, and restrooms and showers are available.
And there’s plenty to keep you busy on land as well. You can play beach volleyball, frisbee, or just relax on the sand and people-watch. And if that’s not enough, you can also walk for miles along the beach, admiring the views of the Santa Barbara coastline.
This beach is also a great spot for watching the sunset. As the sun dips below the horizon, you’ll get a front-row seat to one of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful natural displays. I highly recommend strolling along the coastline to take in the beautiful views. In addition to all the typical beach activities, I also enjoyed watching the sailboats and kayaks in the harbor.
All in all, Leadbetter Beach is one of the best beaches in Santa Barbara, and it’s no wonder it’s so popular. The scenery here is simply breathtaking, and the amenities are top-notch. So if you’re looking for a beach that has it all, this is the place to be.
2. East Beach
East Beach is the perfect place to spend a lazy day by the ocean. This wide, flat beach stretches for more than a mile and a half, making it one of the longest city beaches in Santa Barbara. It’s also one of the most popular, so you’ll usually find plenty of people to socialize with.
The best thing about East Beach is its wide variety of activities. You can sunbathe, swim, play in the waves, build sandcastles, and go for a walk. You can also take a ride on the Ferris wheel or a spin on one of the colorful carnival rides at the adjacent wharf. There’s also a skate park, playground, and beach volleyball court, so you can keep busy for hours.
East Beach is also one of the best Santa Barbara beaches for people-watching. You’ll find a mix of locals and tourists here, and the atmosphere is always lively. If you get hungry, there are plenty of food options nearby. You can find concession stands selling hot dogs and hamburgers, as well as ice cream and other snacks. There are also several restaurants and cafes within walking distance.
One thing to note is that parking can be difficult to find on busy days. I would recommend taking public transportation or riding a bike if possible. You can also find a few parking spots along the street, but they fill up quickly.
All in all, East Beach is a great place to spend a day in Santa Barbara. There’s something for everyone here, and the atmosphere is always festive. If you’re looking for a lively beach with plenty of activities, this is the place for you.
3. Carpinteria City Beach
Carpinteria City Beach is one of the best beaches in Santa Barbara for families and those seeking a more relaxed experience. Dubbed the “World’s Safest Beach,” this is a great place to relax and enjoy the California sun. The water here is usually quite calm, making it perfect for swimming and paddling. The beach is also well-maintained and offers plenty of amenities, including restrooms, showers, and a picnic area. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, making it a great place to swim and sunbathe.
The best thing about Carpinteria Beach is its location. Just a few minutes down the road is Carpinteria State Beach, known for its long stretch of sand, perfect for walking, running, or biking. The state beach also has a surfing area, and you can rent surfboards and other beach equipment nearby.
For nature lovers, the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park is a must-see. This protected area is located behind the beach and is home to a variety of plant and animal species. You can take a self-guided tour to learn more about the area’s history and ecology.
In general, Carpinteria City Beach is a great choice if you’re looking for a relaxing beach experience. It’s perfect for all ages, and the nature trails behind the beach make it perfect for nature lovers as well. And with its proximity to downtown Santa Barbara, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy all that the city has to offer.
4. Summerland Beach
If you’re looking for a beautiful and secluded beach to relax on, then Summerland Beach is the perfect spot. This wide, sandy beach is located just south of Santa Barbara at Lookout Park. It’s a great place to catch some rays, paddle in the waves, or just take a stroll along the water’s edge.
The best thing about Summerland Beach is that it’s never too crowded, even on the busiest days. You can always find a spot to spread your towel and relax in the sun. The beach is also great for swimming, and there’s a good chance you’ll have the waves to yourself.
You’ll find plenty of picnic tables and restrooms here, as well as a playground for the kids. Also, bring your own beach umbrella as this place has a little shade. A few blocks away from the sand is the Summerland Beach Cafe, housed in a historic Victorian home. The cafe serves up some of the best food in the area, and it’s a great place to take a break from the sun.
Summerland Beach is also a great spot for watching the sunset. If you time it right, you can catch the golden hour as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful sights in Santa Barbara.
Overall, Summerland Beach is a great spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of Santa Barbara. I would highly recommend this beach to anyone looking for a secluded and relaxing spot to enjoy Santa Barbara’s beautiful coastline. It’s was one of my favorite beaches in the area, and I’m sure you’ll love it too.
5. Miramar Beach
If you’re looking for a breathtaking view while you relax on the beach, then Miramar Beach is the perfect spot for you. This secluded beach is located in an upscale residential neighborhood in Montecito, and it’s one of the most beautiful Santa Barbara beaches. From the golden sand to the sparkling ocean, Miramar Beach is a postcard-perfect spot.
One thing I really loved about Miramar Beach is its wide-open feel. Even on a busy day, there’s plenty of room to spread out and find your own little spot on the sand. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic stroll, a peaceful meditation session, or simply taking in the incredible view. The beach is also well-maintained, and the bathrooms and showers are clean and well-stocked.
The sunset here is also a sight to behold from Miramar Beach. As the sun sinks into the ocean, the sky turns a deep red and orange, and the waves sparkle in the light. It’s truly a magical sight that you won’t want to miss.
This beach is also known for its beachfront homes, which are some of the most expensive in Santa Barbara. As you stroll along the beach, you’ll get a peek at these beautiful homes and their stunning ocean views. One of them is Rosewood Miramar Beach resort, which I’ll recommend if you want to experience Santa Barbara’s high-end lifestyle.
Overall, Miramar Beach is a beautiful spot perfect for those looking for peace and quiet. It’s one of the best beaches in Santa Barbara for those who want to enjoy some solitude and stunning views.
6. West Beach
If you’re looking for a Santa Barbara beach with a little more excitement, West Beach is the place for you. This lively stretch of sand and sea is situated west of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront District, a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.
You’ll find plenty to do here, with volleyball courts, a playground, and a bike path all located along the beach. The Santa Barbara Pier is also a short walk away, and you can rent bikes and other beach equipment nearby. And since it is located near the harbor, you can also enjoy watching the boats coming and going.
There are sections of the beach that are better for swimming and sunbathing. These include the West Beach wading pool and Los Banos public pool, both of which offer a more relaxed experience. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months, and you can find restrooms, showers, and a picnic area here as well.
And if you want to take a break from the sun, there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area. And, of course, you can always take a stroll along the waterfront to take in the sights and sounds of Santa Barbara.
One of the best things about West Beach is its proximity to some of Santa Barbara’s best attractions. You can walk to the Santa Barbara Zoo in about 20 minutes or visit the Stearns Wharf, the Funk Zone, and more. This makes West Beach a great place to stay if you’re looking to explore all that Santa Barbara has to offer.
With its mix of excitement and convenience, West Beach is one of the best beaches in Santa Barbara. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a little bit of everything, from sun and sand to restaurants and bars. And with so much to do in the area, you’ll never be bored.
7. Butterfly Beach
Butterfly Beach is one of the most celebrated Santa Barbara beaches. This beach is located in the exclusive enclave of Montecito, and it’s one of the most picturesque beaches in Santa Barbara. With its gentle waves and sandy shores, Butterfly Beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, people-watching, and simply enjoying the beauty of the California coast.
What I love about this beach is its stunning setting. The sparkling ocean water and the lush vegetation that surrounds the beach create a perfect backdrop for an unforgettable day at the beach. It’s not as busy as some of the other beaches in Santa Barbara, and that’s part of what makes it so special. You can find a spot in the sun to relax and take in the stunning views, or you can explore the beach’s rocky coves.
This beach is located just below the trendy Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. This is one of the best places to stay in Santa Barbara, and if you’re looking for a luxurious beach vacation, it doesn’t get much better than this. If you’re not lucky enough to be a guest at the resort, don’t worry, there are still plenty of hotels and restaurants in the area.
So if you’re looking for a romantic spot to spend a day or afternoon, Butterfly Beach is hard to beat. Its gentle waves and stunning surroundings make it the perfect place to relax and reconnect with your loved one. And since it’s located in Montecito, you can also enjoy some world-class shopping and dining nearby. It’s the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
8. Mesa Lane Beach
Just a short hike from downtown Santa Barbara, Mesa Lane Beach is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. This narrow beach is located in a secluded cove, offering great waves for both beginner and experienced surfers.
As earlier said, you’ll need to hike up and down a few flights of stairs to get down to the beach, but it’s definitely worth the trip. The beach is often deserted, giving you plenty of space to relax, sunbathe, or surf. Soaring sea cliffs and rocky outcroppings protect this beach from the wind, thus making it a great spot to relax and take in the natural beauty of the Santa Barbara coastline.
There are no facilities here at mesa lane beach, so make sure you bring everything you need. And since it’s not as well-known as some of the other beaches in Santa Barbara, there’s also no lifeguard on duty.
Mesa Lane is also a popular spot for fishing, and you can often find people fishing from the rocks offshore. This is definitely not a swimming beach, but it’s a great spot for surfing, fishing, and taking in the natural beauty of Santa Barbara.
Even though it’s a bit of a trek to get to, Mesa Lane Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in Santa Barbara. If you’re looking for a secluded spot to relax or catch some waves, this is the place for you. But be sure to come prepared, as there are no facilities at this beach.
9. Arroyo Burro Beach
Arroyo Burro Beach, also known as Hendry’s Beach, is one of Santa Barbara’s most popular beaches. This beautiful beach is situated 5 miles west of Santa Barbara’s city center, and it features a long stretch of sandy shoreline and crashing waves.
The waves at Arroyo Burro Beach can be pretty wild, and it’s definitely not a swimming beach. However, the beach is great for surfers and a stand-up paddleboarders. The waves are best in the morning and early afternoon. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer, and there are restrooms and showers available.
If you’re not feeling like getting in the water, there’s plenty to do onshore. You can sunbathe, build sandcastles, read a book, listen to music, or just people-watch. And if you get hungry, there is a restaurant overlooking the beach known as The Boathouse. This is a great spot to enjoy delicious seafood, and it has an outdoor patio with beautiful views of the beach.
And if you’re looking for a romantic spot to watch the sunset, you can’t go wrong with Arroyo Burro Beach. The beach is long and wide, and the sun sets behind a ridge of hills, providing some beautiful views. In addition, this beach is also known for its dog-friendly policy. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach but in a designated dog area.
During low tide, you can hike from Arroyo Burro Beach to Mesa Lane Beach, a hidden beach that’s only accessible by foot. The hike is about a mile long, and it’s definitely worth it for the solitude and views you’ll get at the end.
10. Goleta Beach Park
Nestled between the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus and the city of Goleta, this beautiful beach is one of Santa Barbara’s best kid-friendly beaches. The gentle waves and wide expanse of sand make it a perfect place for swimming, boogie boarding, and sandcastle building. You’ll find plenty of facilities here, including restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and BBQ grills.
The highlight of this beach is its 1,500-foot pier, which is a popular spot for fishing, strolling, and taking in the stunning ocean views. The pier is also a great place to watch the sunset and people-watch, as it’s a popular spot for students and locals to hang out.
Lifeguards are on duty during peak season, and you can find a variety of shops and restaurants in the adjacent Goleta Beach Park. The shops offer everything from beach gear to souvenirs, and the restaurants range from fast food to sit-down dining. There are also several volleyball courts on the beach, making it the perfect place to spend a day with friends.
And if you’re looking for something to do beyond the beach, you can take a walk or bike ride on the adjacent UCSB campus or check out the nearby Goleta Butterfly Grove, where you can see thousands of Monarch butterflies.
This is definitely one of the best beaches in Santa Barbara for families. The beach is clean and well-maintained, and the facilities are top-notch. I also found the locals to be incredibly friendly and helpful. So if you’re looking for a great family beach in Santa Barbara, Goleta Beach Park should definitely be at the top of your list.
11. Santa Claus Beach
Santa Claus Beach is one of the most unusual and picturesque beaches in Santa Barbara. Located in Carpinteria, this wide and soft sand beach is a great place for swimming, sunbathing, and playing in the waves. The beach is popular with locals, especially on summer weekends, when this beach town comes alive with people enjoying the sunny weather.
Water sports enthusiasts will also find plenty to love here. Santa Claus Beach is a great place to learn surfing, paddle-boarding, boogie boarding, and body surfing. The waves here are gentle and consistent, making it the perfect place to practice your skills. And if you’re looking for a more challenging wave, just walk down the beach to Rincon Point, where you’ll find some of the best surf breaks in California.
There are also plenty of facilities here, including restrooms, showers, and picnic tables. You can also rent beach umbrellas and chairs, and there are several restaurants and cafes within walking distance of the beach.
One of the best things about Santa Claus Beach is its unique setting. With few buildings on sight, it’s easy to feel like you have the beach all to yourself. This is also a great spot to watch the sunset over the Pacific Coast.
The beaches of Santa Barbara are a major draw for visitors and locals alike, and there is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a great place to swim, surf, sunbathe, or just enjoy the incredible scenery, you’ll find a perfect spot among Santa Barbara’s many beaches. So what are you waiting for? Grab your sunscreen and head to the beach!