Located in the chic and laid-back village of Montecito, Butterfly Beach is a favorite among Santa Barbara locals. The beach’s pristine shoreline is ideal for swimming, surfing and sunbathing, and its unique east-west orientation makes for some truly spectacular sunrises AND sunsets. Spend the better part of your day lounging with a good book, or venture into the ocean and take on the waves in a kayak. Keep your eyes peeled and you might even see a star or two—Montecito is home to several celebs. Whatever activities you include in your day by the sea, Butterfly Beach is the perfect setting.
Things to Do at Butterfly Beach
Butterfly Beach attracts locals, vacationers, relaxing sunbathers, adrenaline-junkie surfers, and everyone in between. Bring a kayak or stand up paddleboard and you’ll be in good company, too. Beachgoers can see the Channel Islands just 20 miles west and have a good chance of spotting dolphins and whales in the distance. Many locals bring their dogs to Butterfly Beach and walk along the water (dogs are permitted on-leash). There are no public facilities at Butterfly Beach, but Coast Village Road is a five-minute walk from the beach and has many food, drink and retail options. Upgrade your experience with a visit to the luxe Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore across the street for a cocktail as you watch the electric sunset.
How to Get to Butterfly Beach
Butterfly Beach is easily accessible from Downtown Santa Barbara via 10-minute drive or 15-minute bike ride. From Santa Barbara, follow Highway 101 to Olive Mill Road, which turns into Channel Drive. As you near the shoreline, Channel Drive will bend to the left. Park on either side of Channel Drive or on Butterfly Lane if Channel Drive is full.
You can also rent a bike and ride the Cabrillo Bike Path from Stearns Wharf to Butterfly Park. The path is an easy three miles on flat, paved surfaces. Arriving by bike will put you at an advantage on weekends when parking tends to fill up quickly.