Located on the mesa above Arroyo Burro Beach (Hendry’s Beach), the Douglas Family Preserve spans 70 acres of undeveloped oceanfront land, making it the largest area of open coastal space in the City of Santa Barbara.
THINGS TO DO AT DOUGLAS FAMILY PRESERVE
From hang gliding and paragliding to hiking and biking, there are many things to do at Douglas Family Preserve. Several native habitats can be explored here, including southern oak woodland, coastal scrub brush, annual grassland and coastal sage scrub. The park houses a variety of trees, making it a popular spot for birds and migrating monarch butterflies. These habitats can be explored via the preserve’s numerous trails, one of which makes a complete loop around the park’s perimeter. Spectacular ocean views also afford opportunities for whale and dolphin spotting.
It’s important to note that the park has no restrooms or picnic facilities, but guests can take a quick walk down to Arroyo Burro Beach County Park to use the facilities available there.
Douglas Family Preserve is a popular spot for pet owners because dogs are allowed off-leash in select areas—a rarity in Santa Barbara. The park offers more than three miles of trails for fido to enjoy, including the easy, flat, 1.3-mile Arroyo Burro Beach Loop.
HISTORY OF DOUGLAS FAMILY PRESERVE
The preserve was the site of Wilcox Nursery from 1949 until 1972. After its closing, the development of a resort and residential community was begun, but local conservationists launched a grassroots movement to preserve the land. In 1996, the actor/producer and UCSB alumnus Michael Douglas donated a large sum of money to be used to protect and restore the park. The preserve was then acquired by the city and renamed the Douglas Family Preserve.
HOW TO GET TO DOUGLAS FAMILY PRESERVE
From the center of the city, take W. Carrillo Street. Then, turn right onto Cliff Drive. Travel about a half-mile and then turn left onto Mesa Lane. Keep driving about 200 feet and then take a right onto Borton Drive. The park will be on your left.
Please note that this entry is located in a residential part of town. We ask that visitors respect the area by throwing all trash away in designated trash cans.
You can additionally access Douglas Family Preserve from Arroyo Burro Beach, which has a dedicated parking lot.