Santa Barbara RECOMMENDATIONS See all

Top Beaches in Santa Barbara

By Viator, March 2018

5 10 Reviews | Add your review

With a mean annual temperature of 72 and miles of pristine coastline, this coastal town routinely makes Best Of beaches lists; some for beauty, some for seclusion, and some for sport activities. Whether you’re in town wanting some beach time to play, catch rays, or have some alone time with a loved one – Santa Barbara beaches will please.

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.

Tours & Tickets

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Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, null
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Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson in Santa Barbara

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

Learn to stand-up paddleboard in beautiful Santa Barbara, with all equipment included! Your expert guide will teach you how to paddle, offer balance tips and ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $75.00
Private Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Other Water Sports
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Private Kayak Tour of Santa Barbara

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 5 Reviews

Set out from Santa Barbara Harbor on a private kayak tour of the stunning Santa Barbara coastline. Take in views of Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Mountains, ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $60.00
Santa Barbara Kayak Tour, Santa Barbara, Kayaking & Canoeing
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Santa Barbara Kayak Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Experienced local guides take you on an unforgettable Santa Barbara kayak tour spotlighting one of California's most thriving marine regions. Learn about Santa ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $55.00
Kayak Rental, Santa Barbara, Kayaking & Canoeing
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Kayak Rental

Rent a Kayak in the Santa Barbara Harbor!  Your reservation is for 1 hour, but you can extend your time longer once your arrive.  Tickets are valid on a per ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $15.00
Santa Barbara Harbor Kayak, Santa Barbara, Kayaking & Canoeing
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Santa Barbara Harbor Kayak

Kayak through Santa Barbara Harbor and enjoy a tasty deli spread lunch on the beach! See the American Riviera from a unique perspective. This 4-hour guided ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $89.00
Santa Barbara Sunset Kayak Tour, Santa Barbara, Kayaking & Canoeing
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Santa Barbara Sunset Kayak Tour

An evening of paddling and watching the night sky. This twilight kayak trip is a great way to end a full day, and offers spectacular views of the city and ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $89.00
Stand-Up Paddle Board Rental, Santa Barbara, Kayaking & Canoeing
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Stand-Up Paddle Board Rental

Rent a Stand-Up Paddle Board (SUP) in the Santa Barbara Harbor! Your reservation is for 1 hour, but you can extend your time longer once your arrive. Tickets ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 60 minutes (approx.)

From USD $30.00
Santa Barbara Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson, Santa Barbara, Other Water Sports
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Santa Barbara Stand-Up Paddleboard Lesson

Stand-up paddle board with a local guide for the best views of Santa Barbara's legendary waterfront! This is an accessible sport for all ages and skill levels ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $89.00
Refugio State Beach Kayak Tour, Santa Barbara, Stand Up Paddleboarding
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Refugio State Beach Kayak Tour

Kayak one of the few remaining sections of undeveloped, scenic coastline in California, home to more than 1,500 plant and animal species. Enjoy a leisurely ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $112.00
Surfing Lesson in Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Kayaking & Canoeing
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Surfing Lesson in Santa Barbara

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Learn to surf in beautiful Santa Barbara! Your expert instructor will teach you how to stand up on your board and ride the perfect wave, offering tips on ...  Read more

Location: Santa Barbara, California
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $75.00

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