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East Beach picture in Santa Barbara
Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

Key Info

Price & Hours

  • Free
  • 24/7 daily

Details

  • Beaches, Recreation, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Food Scene
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

There are three major beaches in Santa Barbara: Leadbetter, West and East. While Leadbetter has the harbor and West Beach is home to the fireworks on the Fourth of July, East Beach is the best stretch to catch some rays without being mobbed by crowds. 

The shoreline may still fill up more on the weekends but East Beach is a bit more removed from State Street and the downtown area than the other beaches, offering more space to stretch out or take a walk along the sandy shores. You may have to protect yourself from the occasional rogue volleyball though, as there are more than a dozen sandy courts here. 

Locals and visitors agree East Beach is the best strand of ocean in Santa Barbara, with its clean sands and free parking. There is also a full-service restaurant, East Beach Grill, right on the beach if you work up an appetite. 

East Beach is situated along East Cabrillo Boulevard, near the Santa Barbara Zoo. Picnic facilities, showers, lockers, a beach wheelchair and volleyballs are available to rent at the Cabrillo Pavilion Bathhouse. For more information on this beach as well as others, check out the City of Santa Barbara's website.

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Hotels Nearby

  • Thing to Do
  • Hotel
Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara

Hyatt Centric Santa Barbara ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Motel 6 Santa Barbara - Beach

Motel 6 Santa Barbara - Beach ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 2.0-star Hotel Class
The Inn at East Beach

The Inn at East Beach ...

  • 0.3 Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
See all hotels in Santa Barbara »

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State Street picture in Santa Barbara
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East Beach picture in Santa Barbara
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Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums Type
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#1 State Street Santa Barbara's most famous avenue, State Street cuts through downtown and leads right onto Stearns Wharf. It's nearly impossible to miss with its shops, art galleries, theaters and ... Read more » Juan Carlos! / Flickr

#2 Santa Barbara County Courthouse Most travelers scoff at the idea of visiting a courthouse while on vacation. Really dry and boring, right? Wrong. The Santa Barbara County Courthouse epitomizes the Spanish-Moorish architecture that is ... Read more » BackyardProduction / Getty Images

#3 East Beach There are three major beaches in Santa Barbara: Leadbetter, West and East. While Leadbetter has the harbor and West Beach is home to the fireworks on the Fourth of July ... Read more » Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

#4 Old Mission Santa Barbara In the northwest part of town just four blocks from State Street, the Santa Barbara Mission offers visitors a glimpse at the city's early origins.  Read more » Jay Sinclair / Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau & Film Commission

Greg Peterson / Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau & Film Commission

#6 Santa Barbara Zoo Neighboring the Andree Clark Bird Refuge in the east part of downtown, the Santa Barbara Zoo gives visitors a taste of the exotic just a block from the sandy shore ... Read more » playfulphoto / Getty Images

#7 Santa Barbara Museum of Art In the heart of downtown on bustling State Street, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art infuses some high culture into this laid-back Californian community. Read more » Courtesy SBMA

#8 El Presidio de Santa Barbara Take a step back in time with a visit to the El Presidio de Santa Barbara. The nearly 6-acre state historic park consists of restored buildings that make up the ... Read more » Courtesy Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

#9 Santa Barbara Botanic Garden North of downtown, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is a refuge for bored beachgoers and nature enthusiasts alike. Visitors walk on unpaved paths through what, at times, looks like unremarkable ... Read more » bpperry / Getty Images

State Street picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County Courthouse picture in Santa Barbara
East Beach picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Mission picture in Santa Barbara
Sunday Art Walk picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Zoo picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Museum of Art picture in Santa Barbara
El Presidio de Santa Barbara picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden picture in Santa Barbara
State Street picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County Courthouse picture in Santa Barbara
East Beach picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Mission picture in Santa Barbara
Sunday Art Walk picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Zoo picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Museum of Art picture in Santa Barbara
El Presidio de Santa Barbara picture in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden picture in Santa Barbara

State Street runs through the middle of downtown Santa Barbara and hosts an exceptional mix of eateries, shops and theaters. Juan Carlos! / Flickr

Arguably the city's most recognizable building, the courthouse looks more like a palatial resort than an administration building. BackyardProduction / Getty Images

The family-friendly East Beach features sand volleyball courts. Geri Lavrov / Getty Images

This Spanish colonial structure hosts a fascinating museum that depicts life in the 18th and 19th century. Jay Sinclair / Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau & Film Commission

Sunday Art Walks along Cabrillo Boulevard are a favorite of Santa Barbara locals and visitors alike. Greg Peterson / Santa Barbara Conference and Visitors Bureau & Film Commission

For a small fee, visitors to the Santa Barbara Zoo can hand feed the Masai giraffes. playfulphoto / Getty Images

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is home to 27,000 works of art.  Courtesy SBMA

The Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park preserves the history of the Spanish colonization of the area.  Courtesy Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation

The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden features plants like the Aloe Barberae Palm Tree.  bpperry / Getty Images

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