Santa Barbara is blessed with beautiful beaches, and weekends tend to be packed.

Just remember, nobody really likes getting up before 10 a.m., so the early bird gets the sand, if you catch our drift.

Beach Tips

There are a couple of survival tips you should keep in mind to enjoy Santa Barbara beaches.

  1. The sun is hot, even though the cool breezes off the ocean make it seem otherwise. Use the sunscreen often, liberally and everywhere. Bring along a hat, too. You see a lot of Santa Barbara natives with hats because it protects even better than sunscreen.
  2. Bring lots of water. Most of our beaches do have stores and vendors nearby, but most visiting would prefer to spend our money on ice cream, hot dogs and chips.
  3. Invest in a pair of those little jelly beach shoes. We have beautiful beaches that tend to have oil leaks. It’s not something we like to talk about, but tar makes a mess of rugs, shoes and everything white.


Hendry’s Beach

Officially named Arroyo Burro Beach, this beach has an ideal location, a sense of privacy and plenty of amenities. The only drawback is the lack of parking. Go early and linger. It’s worth the extra sunscreen.

Butterfly Beach

One of the few west-facing beaching, you can actually catch a sunset here. Private and in the midst of a very exclusive neighborhood, this beach draws an interesting crowd.

Carpinteria State and City Beaches

You get two beaches rolled into one very long stretch of gorgeous sand. The beauty of the State Beach is you can set up camp surf-side. The beauty of the City beach is its easy access. Many a local brings lunch to eat and watch the waves.

El Capitan Beach (and State Park)

We LOVE this beach. It is gorgeous, private, long, and you have an excellent chance of spotting a dolphin or two. Of course, I love reading, swimming and getting a great tan. The lack of non-water entertainment is a big plus. If you’re easily bored bring toys.

Gaviota Beach (and State Park)

This is a quirky little beach about 20 minutes north of Goleta. It has a railway trestle running between the parking lot and the beach and a very long, tall fishing pier.

Goleta Beach

Another favorite of just about everybody. This beach is for the easily bored. Between the excellent restaurant, volleyball, picnic and fishing facilities, you could entertain an entire cadre of folks – which is probably why its a local favorite for company picnics.

Leadbetter Beach

Centrally located and busy, this beach offers plenty to do. It is a popular haunt for windsurfers, catamaran pilots, surfers and walkers. Leadbetter is between Shoreline park and the breakwater. Each summer this beach hosts weekly sporting events, parties and it’s not uncommon to see a radio station hosting something interesting.

Refugio Beach (and State Park)

Just a bit further out than El Capitan, this beach is truly unique. It has a charm all its own that makes it worth the extra
ten-minute drive up the coast.

West Beach – Although not the most glamorous, this beach hosts a number
of sporting events, including the Hawaiian outrigger lessons. Nestled between
the Wharf and the Breakwater, you can enjoy the boats coming and going, as
well as the variety of people walking by.