Summerland is a little pocket of paradise perched right on the coast off Highway 101 south of Montecito. The charming small beach town serves up sweeping ocean and Channel Island views and a super slow-paced lifestyle. It’s a destination for browsing, shopping, antiquing, wine tasting, outdoor adventure, and unfussy dining.
Use this neighborhood guide to plan a day of play in Summerland and find out for yourself what the good vibrations are all about.
THINGS TO DO IN SUMMERLAND:
Life naturally gravitates towards the beach here. The namesake Summerland Beach can be accessed from Lookout Park, which is outfitted with barbecue pits, picnic tables, a volleyball court and children’s playground. You can opt to walk down to Summerland Beach from the park, or head south on foot to Loon Point, another popular locals’ beach known for its tidepools and surf break.
Summerland is the only place on the Santa Barbara South Coast where you can go horseback riding on the beach. Book a beach or backcountry tour with Los Padres Outfitters to enjoy two hours of equestrian bliss riding along the bluffs and onto the sand under the guidance of skilled wranglers. Led by a sixth-generation Santa Barbara local, come along for the ride as Graham Goodfield and team share Santa Barbara’s rich ranching history for a truly Californian experience.
Back in town, go wine tasting at Summerland Winery. Between the beachy atmosphere of the boutique tasting room and the inviting patio with ocean views, you certainly won’t be in a rush to move on anytime soon. If a beauty boost is calling, visit Summerland Salon & Spa for a relaxing organic facial.
DINING IN SUMMERLAND:
The dining scene is Summerland is as laid back as the name suggests. Summerland Beach Café is a dog-friendly breakfast and lunch destination with indoor and outdoor seating. The Nugget Bar & Grill is a local institution serving lunch, dinner and stiff drinks daily. Tinker’s Burgers is a reliable, “hole-in-the-wall” burger joint. And Red Kettle Coffee is the spot for artisan coffees made with locally roasted beans. Freshly baked goods are also on the menu.
The newest dining destination in Summerland is Feast at Field + Fort, set in a residential-style cottage on the east end of Lillie Avenue. The hybrid home interiors shop and café offers an all-day menu of breakfast boards, toasts, salads and sandwiches served from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily. You can also simply perk up with a coffee and browse through the goods curated by interior designer Kyle Irwin, whose design studio is right upstairs.
SHOPPING IN SUMMERLAND:
Summerland is known for its stellar antique shopping along Ortega Hill Road and Lillie Avenue. Summerland Antique Collective offers a robust selection of thousands of pieces sourced by numerous dealers. Mary Suding Antiques carries a range of furniture, décor and garden items spanning antique and farmhouse to folk art and Mid-Century Modern. Interior designers also beeline to Summerland to shop at Garde, a showcase of furniture, art and textiles made by leading international makers. They also carry fine jewelry, fragrance and ceramics. Botanik is stocked with plants, interior accents and garden and home goods. Beach-friendly fashions can be found at Bikini Factory, Indian Summers and Bonita.
Locals and visitors in the know make a point to visit Sacred Space, a tranquil oasis created by Summerland insiders Jack and Rose Herschorn. What they started as a retail shop carrying imported home and garden treasures evolved into a destination for the spiritually inclined—the fact that Oprah is a fan is a testament to the caliber of their unique offerings.
At Sacred Space, be sure to enjoy tea service and meditate in the lush gardens. While you’re there, browse through the impressive collection of goods and artifacts sourced from around the world and find your perfect souvenir of a day well spent.
If you like Summerland, we’d also recommend: