local beaches

Hendry's Beach—Arroyo Burro Beach - This beach is just a ten minute drive along the Coast from downtown Santa Barbara.
Directions: Take 101 to Los Positas. Turn away from the mountains. When you come to a T-intersection and turn right. Take the second left at the base of a cliff.

Butterfly Beach in Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraButterfly Beach - This beach is deceptive in its simplicity. Since it is a Montecito Beach, and Montecito and the Biltmore have more than their share of celebrities, you have a good chance of seeing somebody famous here.
Directions: Take the 101 south to Olive Mill in Montecito. Take a right at the top of the exit and follow it around until you reach the beach on your left. Parking is limited.

Carpinteria State & City Beaches - Although legally two beaches, this is one long stretch of gorgeous sand, surf and dunes. Without a doubt, this is one of the nicest beaches anywhere.
Directions: From the 101 take the Linden exit away from the mountains. Go to the end of the road and you will find the beach. There is plenty of free and paid parking.

East Beach in Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraEast Beach - It's hard to say enough about this beach. Beautiful, long, sandy, deep even at high tide and bordered by a grassy, tree-lined park.
Directions: East Beach is accessible from just about any exit along downtown Santa Barbara - Carrillo Blvd,Milpas, Garden, Castillo. Turn away from the mountains and when you reach Carrillo, you can't miss the huge stretch of park between Stearns Wharf and the bird refuge.

El Capitan Beach (and State Park) - This is a beautiful beach for those who love beaches. It's not the biggest in town, but it has plenty of sand, and the level of privacy is delicious.
Directions: Take the 101N past Goleta and drive until you reach the El Capitan signs. The road will take you right into the park. The park is approximately 10 miles out of town.

Gaviota Beach (and Sate Park) - Most people - even long time Santa Barbarans - don't even know this beach is here. It is a ways out of the city - 33 miles west of Santa Barbara.
Directions: Take the 101N from Santa Barbara until you come to signs for Gaviota State Park. Be very careful, however, if you are going northbound as you will be crossing oncoming highway traffic!

Goleta Beach - This beach has a little bit of everything for just about anybody. There are plenty of grills & picnic tables & a brisk wind keeps bathers from getting over heated. There is a busy walking trail nearby.
Directions: From the 101 take the 217 until you come almost the end. Take the airport exit and at the bottom of the ramp turn left. Go under the bridge and turn right into the parking lot.

Leadbetter beach in Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraLeadbetter Beach - This is one of the busiest beaches in town. A long strip of sand flanked by green grass at the base of the city college.
Directions: From the 101 take Garden or Castillo to Carrillo Blvd. Turn right. After you have passed the harbor, Leadbetter will be on your left. Some free, mostly paid parking.

Refugio Beach (and State Park) - This beach is unique among Santa Barbara beaches. Many locals find that they come here than to other beaches closer into town. It just feels different than the others.
Directions: Take the 101 north of the city. Go beyond El Capitan and follow the signs.

West Beach - If you're looking for the best place to watch fireworks on the 4th of July or New Years, or you want to watch boats coming & going from the harbor, or you want to play volleyball or rollerblade, then come here.
Directions: Take the Garden Street exit and turn towards the ocean. At the end of the road turn right. There is on-street parking and if you're willing to walk a bit there's parking on the wharf and parking for East Beach.