Santa Barbara offers escape and relaxation, along with opportunities to contemplate the ocean, mountains, and engaging vistas, and to explore a bit of history and humankind’s relationship to coastal ecology. The area offers a multitude of activities for active and passive vacationers: everything from swimming, boating, hiking, and sports fishing to the more exotic jet skiing, kayaking, whale-watching, windsurfing, horseback riding, and more. Or you can select your beach lounge chair, watch the scenery, and relax Santa Barbara-style. Santa Barbara enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate that is generally mild and sunny all 12 months of the year, with relatively stable temperatures; there is no real “off-season.”
Santa Barbara just wouldn’t be Santa Barbara without the beach and the ocean. Thanks to the temperate climate, you can enjoy the outdoors most of the year. Its a great feeling to think about the rest of the country in the dead of winter, while you’re playing on the beach in shorts, T-shirts and bathing suites. East Beach is the large stretch of sand along Chase Palm Park to the east of Stearn’s Wharf. It’s often acclaimed in various magazines as one of the best beaches in the nation. There are places for picnics, volleyball, showers, a playground and a beach side grill.
West Beach is directly west of Stearn’s Wharf and also next to the Santa Barbara Harbor. You can rent a kayak just a block from here on State Street and spend the day paddling the coast. There are nearby playgrounds and a kids swimming pool during the summer. Leadbetter Beach is a fantastic family beach just west of the Santa Barbara Harbor. The waves are usually calm, there are great picnic facilities with barbeque’s in addition to restrooms and showers. The center piece of this beach is the Shoreline Beach Cafe where you can sit at tables with your toes in the sand!
Butterfly Beach lies across the street from the posh Biltmore Hotel. If you’re hoping to run into celebrities, you have a fairly good chance here and we recommend you do your best to leave them alone! There are no facilities here, but it is a nice beach for swimming and sunbathing and at low tide you can take a great walk to East Beach.