California sun, surf, and sand are tops at Santa Barbara beaches. With a balmy annual mean temperature of 72°F (22.2°C) and miles of coastline, the seaside town is a beach-lover's dream. Whether you are looking for a quiet snooze on the sand or to try out a new water sport, here are the Santa Barbara beaches you won’t want to miss.
Located at the bottom of State Street, West Beach is a popular stop for visitors to Santa Barbara. Its proximity to the harbor means this beach isn’t ideal for ocean swimming, but the nearby West Beach Wading Pool is a great option for little ones looking to get wet.
Enjoy the action on the famed beach volleyball courts or simply stretch out on the sand—in fact, East Beach is big enough for you to comfortably do both. The family-friendly beach is located next to Stearns Wharf, a perfect spot to grab an ice cream or bite to eat after a day in the sun.
A favorite of locals, the west-facing position of Butterfly Beach makes it prime sunset-watching territory. The red-tile roof and Spanish colonial architecture of the historic Four Seasons Biltmore, located at the top of the beach, makes for an unforgettable vacation photo.
The gentle surf and long break at Leadbetter has earned it the silly nickname of Bed-Wetter Beach. While that epithet may dissuade hard-core surfers and thrill-seekers, it is perfect for surf lessons and beginner surfers.
Refugio State Beach
A 20-mile (32-kilometer) drive west of Santa Barbara on Highway 101 brings you to the Refugio State Beach, where palm trees line the beach and frame the coast. A favorite activity is taking a kayaking tour for a different view of the distinctive shoreline.