Editor’s note: The grassy areas will temporarily closed through January 2024 for turf renovation.
Located along Shoreline Drive and directly adjacent to the Santa Barbara Harbor, sits Leadbetter Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Santa Barbara. The beach is flanked by green grass and showcases an expansive strip of sand lining the beautiful blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. And, because of its proximity to both the Harbor and the base of Santa Barbara City College, Leadbetter Beach is a top spot for tourists, locals and college students. The beach’s amenities include restrooms, outdoor shows, picnic areas, grills and lifeguard stations.
Things to Do at Leadbetter Beach
Surfing, boogie boarding, stand-up paddleboarding, and general beach lounging are some of the most popular things to do at Leadbetter Beach. The beach boasts a light surf, making it a great spot for beginners. For kayak, paddleboard and surfboard rentals, visit nearby Paddle Sports Center.
Due to Leadbetter Beach’s flat stand and stunning views, many area yoga studios set up outdoor beachfront classes throughout the week. There’s nothing like breathing in the fresh ocean air to reset your chi.
If you’re wanting to spend some time off the beach, take a short walk up to Shoreline Park. Here, you’ll be treated to an aerial view of Leadbetter Beach and The Channel Islands. Perhaps you’ll even be able to spot dolphins or whales swimming in the distance.
Where to Eat at Leadbetter Beach
Serving Santa Barbara since 1997, Shoreline Café is located directly on Leadbetter Beach. Dine with your toes in the sand or on their shaded deck while enjoying traditional beach fare. Shoreline Café offers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4-6pm.
A little further away, but still within walking distance, visit the handful of restaurants at the Santa Barbara harbor that offer to-go fare that can be enjoyed picnic-style on the sand. A few recommendations include On the Alley, Brophy Brothers and Sushi Go Go.
How to Get to Leadbetter Beach
Leadbetter Beach is at the base of Santa Barbara City College and adjacent to the Santa Barbara Harbor. Take Highway 101 north and exit on Garden Street; or take Highway 101 south and exit on Castillo Street. From there, turn south towards the ocean and right on Cabrillo Blvd. Once you’ve passed the Santa Barbara Harbor, Leadbetter Beach will be to your left.