Santa Barbara beaches

Santa Barbara beaches

From the aquarium on Stearns Wharf to the child-friendly Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara will entertain your baby or toddler while you both enjoy your day on some great sandy beaches. Shop on State Street or walk the palm tree-lined pathways to Shoreline Park and the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Atmosphere: Amenities like wine tasting and surrey rentals within walking distance of the beach make Santa Barbara popular among families looking for a relaxing and fun trip. State Street gets busy, especially during events, but the picturesque hillside city and temperate climate make the crowds worthwhile.

Parking and Entrance: For easy beach access, park along Cabrillo Boulevard; look for parking near the pier. You’ll cross a grass area and walkway to get to the beach. You can board the trolley at Stearns Wharf and take it all the way up State Street for shopping and dining.

Nice Walks and Views: Walk for awhile along the Santa Barbara city beaches with a variety of interesting stops on the way: giraffes poking their heads out from trees in the zoo, beautiful flowers, boats launching and thought-provoking displays on the north side of the pier.

Activities for Toddlers: Shoreline Park (north of the pier) has a playground, grass area and a bird’s eye beach view. Parking is free here, so if you’re not up for doing the sandy toddler thing, bring your picnic here. Also, Santa Barbara Zoo was practically built for kids with its low, transparent or open enclosures (yet still safe) and big grass areas for picnicking.

Bathrooms: Bathrooms are at the foot of the pier (these ones have a diaper changer), on the pier and in several other locations.

Perks for Parents: Santa Barbara has a few wine tasting rooms within blocks of the beach –Giessinger, Oreana and Santa Barbara Winery. Pick up a bottle to bring back to your hotel for after baby’s bedtime.

Where to Stay with Kids: It can be difficult to find an inexpensive hotel in Santa Barbara,
and even some of the moderately priced lodging isn’t really worth the cost. Motel 6 (Santa Barbara Beach) is within close walking distance to the beach and to Santa Barbara Zoo. The rooms have been recently remodeled with modern décor and wood-style floors, so it’s nice for a Motel 6. Make sure your room has a fridge and microwave, which is sometimes additional. (443 Corona Del Mar).

Baby-friendly Restaurants: Eat at the oceanfront, family-owned Rusty’s Pizza for a semi-local experience. Rusty’s has big rooms for large and loud family gatherings. (414 N Milpas St.)

What Else to Do: Santa Barbara Zoo- This lush tropical zoo is small enough for your toddler’s short attention span and even has a train.

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3 comments on “Santa Barbara beaches

  1. Hi,

    I’ve gone through a few pages on your website and found it very interesting. I just can’t help myself to comment on your blog. Reviews on your website are equally helpful as your tips are. I maintain a travel blog and it would be our pleasure to mention about your website there so that the readers of our blogs may know about you and benefit from the information you share. if you’re interested, please send me an email and I can provide you with more details.


  2. This is exciting! I love Santa Barbara beaches but I only knew about a few of them, the common tourist ones. After some research and the help of this website I now know about all the rest. You have no idea how long I’ve been looking forward to seeing all the different beaches in the area, especially Hope Ranch, Butterfly. I was alway told my friends and family that they are the best to spend sunny days at! I travel there quite often so I’ll make sure to seek them out the next time I am there (summer!). Should make for an excellent trip. My family and I love staying at the South Coast Inn ( Close to UCSB and their excellent surf spots and beaches!

  3. Wow you are one up to date parent for your kids when it comes to beaches in SB! Good for you! It’s always hard to know when traveling which would be the better choice when choosing the better beach, especially depending on how old your child is. Santa Barbara has some great beaches but sometimes not all are baby friendly. If you are more towards the downtown area, the beaches aren’t as great but there are bathrooms for changing and jungle gyms to play on if they ever get bored! I go there every summer with my almost grown children and though we are now able to go to any beach we want, it’s always nice to stumble across something I was struggling with not so long ago! Check out the Sandman Inn ( when in SB, super cheap and really close to the beach!

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