People come to Santa Barbara for a number of reasons, from the tourist attractions to the beautiful weather. But one thing every Santa Barbara visitor has in common is a desire to go to the beach. The coast of Santa Barbara has a variety of charming beaches to visit and with miles of beautiful white sandy beaches looking out on the sparkling azure ocean, it can be hard to decide which beach to choose. Here is a list of some must see beaches in Santa Barbara and Montecito.
This lovely beach in Montecito, is across the street from the esteemed Four Seasons Resort the Biltmore Santa Barbara. The beautifully kept sweep of sand is ideal for lying in the sun, and the ocean proves irresistible to swimmers. Butterfly Beach is very walkable and overlooked by the fabulous Coral Casino. The perfect setting to enjoy cheese and crackers and wine. For pet lovers, it’s one of a few places in the county where you can walk your dog on the beach without a leash. The rock wall that lines the upper part of the beach provides a great seat and vantage point, even on not-so-sunny days. Another perk to Butterfly is that it looks west, unlike most of Santa Barbara’s south-facing beaches. For that reason, it’s one of the area’s best spots for sunset views and long strolls.
Hammonds Beach is a locals beach and surfing spot in the Montecito area of Santa Barbara. The beach here is a nice sandy spot hidden away amongst homes on several private drives. Behind the beach is an undeveloped open area known as Hammonds Meadow. Hammonds Beach shares a small parking lot with Miramar Beach located at the end of Eucalyptus Lane. For a more exclusive Montecito beach experience, head to Hammond’s, a true hidden gem.
A lovely beach just 10 minutes south of Santa Barbara with wide shores and an easy, shallow ocean entrance. Lookout Park is the main beachfront park located up on a bluff with a south-facing view. Usually not too crowded, there’s a great picnic spot, volleyball court, playground, picnic tables, barbeques, restrooms, grass lawns, and benches to take in that view which includes the Channel Islands. When you’ve rinsed all the sand off, head into Summerland town for a bite and some shopping. Antique stores and boutiques line the main avenue just a few blocks from the beach.
Leadbetter is a gorgeous beach located next to Shoreline Park, which has a bluff overlooking the ocean with a long stretch of sand extending from Shoreline Park around to the harbor, making it a favorite spot for walkers. Leadbetter Beach is probably Santa Barbara’s most popular beach. Constantly busy, this beach is popular among surfers, windsurfers, sailing enthusiasts and paddle boarders. It is a perfect place for socializing on the beach and picnicking on adjacent grassy expanses with built-in grills, making this beach ideal for celebrations with friends and family. A restaurant, restrooms and showers make life easier during leisure time, and impressive private boats cruise in and out of the nearby harbor. It’s a great place to relax or get active along the Santa Barbara shore.
A Santa Barbara leisure-time favorite, this busy beach offers fun recreational opportunities. Volleyball courts are prominent, given that the beach is home to various tournaments. A children’s playground, rollerblading trails, restaurants, picnic facilities, a bathhouse, showers and open lawns are all part of this beach. Close to East Beach you can rent bikes and ride all the way to the Bird Refuge where there is a nice bike path. Swimming and sunbathing are popular as well, and special events are hosted regularly. Near Chase Palm Park, the Santa Barbara Zoo and area hotels. With a close walk to restaurants and the pier there are a variety of fun things to do at this beach.