Goleta Beach Park
||Santa Barbara, CA|
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Goleta Beach has a fun, festive atmosphere. The vibrant blue sea is a colorful sight. Too bad the county has let the grass go (even though they are close to the sanitary district where there is recycled water) and now there is just an abundance of dirt blowing around. Families gather on the weekend to have BBQs overlooking the beach, which is good or bad depending on whether you like smoke wafting around. Little kids flock to the playground, which has views of the water. The sand by the swings can keep kids busy for hours if you bring some spoons and cups. There are usually international moms associated with UCSB at the playground on weekday afternoons so it makes for some fun conversations.
Older kids bodyboard in the waves on warmer days. On weekdays, students jog along the sand by the cliffs or sit on one of the many picnic tables and study. In winter and spring Goleta Beach can be quite a cold beach, so bring a sweater. If you don't mind very cold water, bring a swimsuit in summer! Check the water quality before you go- if the lagoon is open to the sea, this beach is one of the most polluted ones along the coast.
Sometimes I've seen dolphins swimming and making their graceful arched dives near the west side of the beach very close to shore. It's a wonderful sight!
For kids, the abundant driftwood at this beach leads to endless imaginative games. During beach preservation in the spring some areas are closed off while tractors haul sand from the oceanfloor back to the beach, but afterwards, there are tall "cliffs" of sand that kids can jump off. This is a blast!
On the east side of Goleta Beach there is a rugged, wide fishing pier, which is pleasant to stroll along. See the mountains, the endless blue sea, and the stunning white cliffs that line the beach from a romantic walk on the pier. Look down at the long strings of kelp reaching to the surface. See what the fishermen have pulled up. Check out the seagulls as they balance meditatively on the railings.
Walk further east and you come to a lagoon where white cliffs topped with eucalyptus reflect in the pale green water. It reminds me of Australia.
One of few beachfront restaurants in Santa Barbara is the classy Beachside Cafe, near the pier. You can sit outside on the huge patio sheltered from the cold sea air by glass panes. The view is gorgeous! It's a happy scene and sure to cheer you up! Try their Rockfish served with pineapple and mango bits. It's so good!
If you're hungry but want a picnic not a sit-down restaurant, try the little Mexican burrito place, El Sitio, on Fairview Avenue (a five minute drive). This is delicious Mexican food- something you should try while in California! The building doesn't look like much but their Adovada burritoes are yummy and memorable- spicy pulled pork, rice, beans, and cheese! The other meals haven't been as good (avoid the Fish tacos).
A bike path leads east of Goleta Beach all the way to Modoc Rd and Hope Ranch. To the west it leads to UCSB and to the groovy college town of Isla Vista. It's nice to ride without the noise or fumes of cars.
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Goleta Beach Park is located at 5986 Sandspit Road, Goleta, CA 93117. Parking is free.
From Highway 101 northbound, take Highway 217. Exit at Sandspit Rd and turn left. The road curves to the left and the entrance to Goleta Beach Park is on your right.
From Highway 101 southbound, exit at Patterson Rd. Turn left and then left again and follow the signs to Highway 217. Exit at Sandspit Rd and turn left. The road curves to the left and the entrance to Goleta Beach Park is on your right.
Beachside Cafe, 5905 Sandspit Road, Goleta, CA 93117, call (805) 964-7881.
There are public restrooms on both ends of the beach.
To get to El Sitio Mexican Restaurant: From the beach, turn left out of the parking lot. The road curves to the right. You will pass the airport and then take the left fork. Cross Hollister Ave. El Sitio will be just after the McDonalds and laundromat on your right.
El Sitio, 102 South Fairview Ave, Goleta CA 93117, call (805) 964-6104.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating:
|White Sea Bass is soooo good at Beachside Cafe, and amazing views.|
|This August at Goleta Beach, my two kids ran the kids' race in the 31st Annual Endurance Event sponsored by McConnells Ice Cream. They enjoyed the free ice cream after their race! And the beach of course.|