Santa Barbara Beaches
By Viator, March 2013
Santa Barbara is a coastal city, true, but in this part of the California coast, the beaches typically face south, not west, and as a general rule of thumb, though the breeze might be cool, the sun is still doing work so remember to wear sunscreen accordingly.
West Beach is popular with tourists as its right at the bottom of State Street and adjacent to the pier. Note the walking/bike path that runs its length. Walk East of West Beach and you’ll find yourself in East Beach – famous for its volleyball courts, though also nice and expansive to allow for room to stretch out.
Further East still, and you’ll find Butterfly Beach, which is a popular local’s beach and located right by the Four Seasons Biltmore. This is also a rare west-facing beach, so it makes for some spectacular sunset viewing.
Leadbetter Beach has been nicknamed “Bed-Wetter” beach for its long slow point break, which is great for beginning surfers. It’s also right downtown, just west of Santa Barbara City College. The open bar-be-queue pits make for great family outings.
The best beaches for surf are Rincon, which is about a 20 minute drive south of Santa Barbara proper, but is a world-famous point break and correspondingly crowded. In-town, there’s Hendry’s beach, which is also a dog beach and a popular place to watch the sunset.