Santa Barbara Beaches

Where Those in the Know ~ Go

To say there is no shortage of beaches along Santa Barbara County’s coast, just might be the biggest understatement we’ve ever made. No matter what neighborhood you stay in, chances are, you’ll be just minutes from beautiful sandy shores that Santa Barbara is so well-known for. But just because you’re vacationing close to one of Santa Barbara beaches, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the right beach for you or your family. Below, we explore some of our personal favorite locations, along with what are the best Santa Barbara beaches for kids, for dogs, for privacy, and for unlimited activities. Take a little tour with us, won’t you?

Cms santa barbara beaches


Carpinteria State Beach ~ perfect for families of all ages

Located just about 10 minutes from downtown, this is one of Carpinteria’s beaches that is just perfect for families of all ages. Calmer waters than most because of its protective reef, here children (and adults) can splash around in the tidal pools, drop a fishing line in the clear waters, or even catch a view of the dolphins or whales that pass through in the winter and spring months. It’s also just at the tip of the region’s main strip. So grab a sandwich and some beach toys before you settle in for a sunshiney day.

Cms carpenteria beaches

Downtown Beaches

East Beach ~ Adjacent to the ever-popular Stearn’s Wharf

This recreational gem has plenty of leisure opportunities waiting for you. Think a children’s playground, picnic facilities, volleyball courts, rollerblading and bike trails, and plenty of restaurants (and even a zoo nearby!) when your day of fun in the sun goes stale. But get there early. While there are plenty of street and paid parking options, you can understand why they fill up so fast.

Leadbetter Beach ~ The place for Activity enthusiasts

Activity enthusiasts will want to head to this centrally located Santa Barbara beach. It’s constantly busy with exciting beach-related pursuits that will keep the whole family busy. Sure, there’s plenty of sand to work on that tan, but most people come here for the surfing, swimming, socializing, and other sporting opportunities. The convenient showers, special events, restrooms, and restaurants make it a particularly enticing destination for groups of all ages and all interests.

Cms downtown beaches


Goleta Beach Park ~ What does your family want to do today?

Chances are, you can find it at Goleta Beach. It may be a little less crowded than the downtown beaches, but boy do they know how to pack a myriad of exciting activities into one small space. Here, you can rent a kayak, play some volleyball, drop a line off the pier, take advantage of the horseshoe pits, or simply enjoy a laidback family picnic. Oh, did we mention the free parking, barbecues, playground, or restaurants that call this beach home? This can be your homebase for a day.

Cms goleta beach

Hope Ranch

Arroya Burro Beach (Hendry’s Beach) ~ Dog lovers rejoice!

This is the rare Santa Barbara beach where you can let your canine off its leash. And while your research may call it Arroya Burro, the locals know it as Hendry’s…and the ideal, friendly location for plenty to do and to bring your entire crew. There’s even a pet wash in the (free) parking lot when your day is complete. And here’s a little tip: the further you walk along the sand, the more privacy you will enjoy. But beachgoer beware: the lots fill up fast – especially on weekends. Grab that extra bottle of sunscreen and get there early.

Cms hope ranch beaches


Mesa Lane Beach ~ Shhhh…this one’s a secret

Mesa Lane Beach lies quietly in between some private homes. But worry not, it’s perfectly public. You’ll have to descend down some stairs to get there, but this stretch of sand is popular amongst local surfers and sunbathers for a reason. Quiet and serene, just be sure to check the tides before you arrive. Because when the tides come in, your beach disappears rather quickly.

Cms mesa beaches


Butterfly Beach ~ the most breathtaking sunsets

What Santa Barbara beach guide would be complete without a mention of Butterfly Beach? This is where everyone heads – and we mean everyone – to be seen while seeing the most breathtaking sunsets in Santa Barbara County. So take your eyes off that celebrity who emerged from their suite at the Four Seasons and is now sitting next to you. Ignore those beach-ready bodies that came up from L.A. to stroll down Montecito’s pristine sands. That can wait. Because unlike most of Santa Barbara’s beaches that face south, Butterfly faces west. On warm summer evenings, a chance to view the sun retreating from the horizon is an experience all its own.

Cms montecito beaches

Still Have Questions?

We have answers. Please don’t hesitate to contact a live InvitedHome vacation consultant via call or chat and we’ll make sure you have all the information you need. We’re always here to help.