During the COVID-19 pandemic the beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara have been a sanctuary for both locals and tourists alike. The Meditteranean climate in the coastal town brings warm weather year round allowing for plenty of long days at the beach. Whether it's surfing at some of California’s best surf breaks or playing volleyball in the sand, we've rounded up some of the best beaches in Santa Barbara, California to meet everyone's needs.
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There are many beaches in Santa Barbara to choose from that offer different levels of breaks for every surfer to enjoy. A locals favorite, Mesa Lane beach offers waves perfect for intermediate surfers and it is particularly breathtaking at sunset. While carrying a board up and down the long steps that are needed to enter the large cove can be tiring, it is more than worth the extra workout.
For more advanced surfers, the famous Rincon Point in Carpinteria, just south of Montecito, is one of the most praised surf spots in Southern California. Some of the world's best surfers rave of its amazing break on the point and locals make the 20 minute drive year round to experience it. Advanced surfer Luc Doering (14) raves, “Rincon is by far the best break in Santa Barbara. I drive down to Carpenteria every weekend to surf with my friends (there).”
For beginners who are just starting to catch waves, Campus Point Beach is the perfect spot to learn to surf. At the tip of UC Santa Barbara’s beautiful campus, this beach offers waves for all levels and offers some fun rock jumping around the point.
If one desires to catch the sunset or walk their dog, Arroyo Burro beach and Haskell's beach are the perfect places for a mellow hangout to enjoy the scenery. Arroyo Burro beach has a dog off leash section to the left and on leash section to the right. This beach is very popular for long beach walks with or without dogs and many locals visit at the end of their work days to stretch their legs. The main entrance to the beach is home to the Boathouse, an upscale seafood restaurant overlooking the water.
Similarly, Haskell's beach, right below the Ritz Carlton Bacara, is a gorgeous beach at sunset and is well worth the extra drive deeper into Goleta. Jay Klanfer, a Santa Barbara local and dog father states, “Haskell’s is my favorite beach to walk my dog, Jasper, especially during sunset. The way the cliffside and rocks line the beach makes it one of my favorite spots on the coast.”
Butterfly beach, in the heart of Montecito is another local favorite for long walks or spectacular sunset views. The sea wall lining the beach is a popular spot for family photos and is the perfect perch to watch the ocean.
Finding spots along the coast that cater to long beach days with family or friends can be hard to come by during COVID-19 for the average beach goer. Social Distancing is made easier at East Beach, Miramar, and Leadbetter beach where there is plenty of sand area for everyone to spread out and be six feet apart from one another. As an added bonus, they are easy to get to making them kid friendly.
East Beach is lined with public beach volleyball courts that Santa Barbarans of all levels and ages play on throughout the summer. Some other popular beach games for all ages are Spikeball, Smashball, and Kan Jam.
Deeper in Montecito is Miramar Beach lined with beautiful beach houses and the beachfront hotel, The Rosewood. This beautiful beach usually lacks any large surf and is perfect for families with kids.
Lastly, Leadbetter Beach is a long strip along the coast right between the Mesa and the Harbor. Conveniently, there are picnic tables that line the grass above the sand making it super easy to set out for a full day in the sun. While quite popular, the size of this beach makes it easy to find space away from others and maintain a healthy distance.
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