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Top Beaches in Santa Barbara

Top Beaches in Santa Barbara
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California sun, surf, and sand are tops at [Santa Barbara](Top Beaches in Santa Barbara) beaches. With a balmy annual mean temperature of 72ºF (22.2ºC) 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.

West Beach

Sunset over the famous beach at West Beach in Santa Barbara.
West Beach is a popular spot.Foto: photosounds / Shutterstock

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.

East Beach

The broad white East Beach in Santa Barbara.
East Beach on a sunny day.Foto: komuna photo / Shutterstock

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.

Butterfly Beach

Purple flowers and palms at Butterfly Beach in Santa Barbara.
Butterfly Beach is a beautiful Santa Barbara hangout.Foto: C.rosell / Shutterstock

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.

Leadbetter Beach

The white sands of Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara and the mountains beyond.
Leadbeter Beach and the mountains beyond.Foto: vsashahaltam / Shutterstock

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 surfer walks along the sand at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara.
Refugio State Beach is a popular place for kayaking.Foto: Amira Sharif / Shutterstock

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.

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