Santa Barbara's Best Beaches

Santa Barbara's Best Beaches


Perched at the north end of town, Haskell’s is nestled just between the world-renowned Sandpiper golf course and The Bacara Resort & Spa. Weddings are often had there, and bonfires too. It’s quiet and quaint but sometimes rocky.


Located just below the bluffs of Isla Vista, Sands is the hot spot for all the UCSB students. Don’t be surprised if you happen upon a certain empty beer can or bottle. It’s common on this stretch of sand, comically known as Sands. Not one of the most ideal beaches in SB, but one to be aware of nevertheless.

Campus Point.

Common sensically named due to its location, Campus Point beach is at the point of the UCSB campus. It’s known to have the best surf in town. You’ll often see research underway as UCSB students experiment with marine life. There are also some great little trails to hike up onto the bluff and then on around the UCSB lagoon.


Equipped with a huge park, playground, and several built in barbeques; Goleta Beach has everything you need for a fun family event. Walk the pier or have dinner at the Beachside Café. There is tons of parking and so much fun to be had here. The bike path runs along the whole stretch of beach so get some exercise on your way to soak up the sun.


Lounging at the end of Las Positas street is good old Hendry’s. It sits just below Hope Ranch and offers peace and quiet. The only drawback is a lack of parking. And please obey the “severe tire damage” signs.


Located between Shoreline Park and The Breakwater Restaurant, Leadbetter is always full of energy. Busy with people wind-surfing, kite -boarding, sailing, surfing, running, and walking, Leadbetter is the place to be if you’re looking for exercise. The Santa Barbara City College stadium is directly across the street if you’d like to throw in a nice track workout as well.


Sandwiched between The Breakwater Restaurant and The Wharf (the Santa Barbara pier), West beach isn’t the most glamorous, but it definitely provides for the most entertainment in everyone’s favorite pastime of people-watching. Tourists and locals alike, flock to both West and East Beaches since State Street spits everyone out there.


Hanging out to the left of The Wharf, East beach is where all the volleyball players collect in one big sweaty gob. There are tons of nets up and balls flying galore so beware of strays that have missed their mark. You could be the next casualty in the war of the sleek and tan competitors. A lot of soccer happens on the grassy lawns just behind the beach and the bike path is always full of bladers, skaters, and surrey peddlers, so cross with caution.


Located just south of Santa Barbara in the slightly more affluent Montecito, Butterfly Beach is a little more private and a little less busy, than the afore-mentioned East and West Beaches. You’re more likely to spot a celebrity than a butterfly as this stretch of sand sits right across from The Biltmore and next to the Coral Casino, both high-class establishments. The Biltmore Wall is just as popular as the beach that sits below it. There’ve been songs written about it and many a young couple’s first kiss upon it.


Summerland is a quaint little town with the infamous dilapidated Big Yellow House. The town is sweet and small and they’ve got a great beach. It’s not very busy and the bluffs above provide for a great picnic or birthday party venue. Watch out for the seaweed though; sometimes it appears to have been injected with growth hormones.

Padaro/Santa Claus Lane

Hop off the 101 at Padaro or Santa Claus Lane and you’ll find great beaches that also aren’t very busy. Both are hot spots for weddings as the Padaro Bar & Grill has a gorgeous outdoor dining area that overlooks the ocean. Be careful crossing the traintracks as the Amtrak Surfliner flies through this spot frequently.


Settled at the South end of the city, Rincon is the main beach in Carpinteria. Also known for it’s sweet swells, the surfers pepper the water, waiting to drop into the perfect wave. Whether you like to surf or observe, Rincon has just what you need.