East Beach#1 in Best Things To Do in Santa Barbara
- 4.5Food Scene
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. Recent visitors also noted it's a great family-friendly spot, with room to spread out.
East Beach is situated along East Cabrillo Boulevard, near the Santa Barbara Zoo, and is reachable by the MTD shuttle. The beach welcomes visitors from sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset daily. You can rent stand-up paddleboards and other gear from East Beach Rentals. For more information on this beach as well as others, check out the City of Santa Barbara's website.
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#2 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.
Founded in 1786, this Californian mission was Spain's 10th attempt to colonize the region and convert the native inhabitants to Roman Catholicism. Still a functioning house of worship, the Santa Barbara Mission boasts a museum filled with colonial artifacts and early photographs of the area.
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