With every passing cloud, every turn of the page, and every cooling breeze, your stress fades away. Your heels dig deeper divots in the coarse golden sand while your shoulders sink further into the back of your comfortable lounge chair. High above on the cliffs behind you is your luxurious resort with its white stucco walls and red tile roof shingles. Afternoon passes into evening as you gaze across the open waters. The sun makes its farewell decent to your right instead of passing into the ocean in front of you. The sun’s path and Spanish colonial architecture would otherwise put you on a Mediterranean getaway. This is not Europe, though. You are on one of California’s only south-facing shorelines and the resort behind you is a Santa Barbara beachfront hotel like the Belmond El Encanto. With the American Riviera at your feet, you smile, exhale a relaxing breath, and bid the sun adieu until tomorrow.
What are the beaches like in Santa Barbara?
The relaxing day described above could easily have taken place in front of any of the many Santa Barbara hotels on the beach. Here are some of our favorite spots to spend an afternoon engaged in the most important of all vacation activities—doing absolutely nothing:
- Shoreline Park: The soft grass makes a great place to challenge your partner to a game of bocce. Or, you could spread out a picnic blanket and sample some local wines and artisan cheeses.
- Leadbetter Beach: Just down the Thousand Steps from Shoreline Park, you’ll find a sandy stretch of sun-soaked real estate. Watch the local surfers glide across the smooth wave-fronts or close your eyes and dream up a way to move here forever.
- Arroyo Burro: Also known as Hendry’s Beach, this is an ideal spot to take a shoreline stroll, cast a line into the surf, or watch the sun tuck itself in for the night behind the Pacific.
- Mesa Lane Beach: This small, secluded, secret beach is accessed via a cliff-side staircase. Make sure to go during low tide when there is more room to recline.
What are the best ocean view restaurants in Santa Barbara?
Thanks to the majestic cliffs rising out of the surf, the ocean views in Santa Barbara are as expansive as they are breathtaking. Here are some of the most popular places to dine that offer a priceless vista of the Pacific:
- Toma Restaurant & Bar: The only things that can rival the view at this romantic waterfront restaurant are Mediterannean-inspired seafood, local wines, and specialty cocktails.
- Brophy Bros.: This popular eatery serves up rich clam chowder, delectable cioppino, and the freshest grilled fish—all with a heaping side of the best harbor view in town.
- Santa Barbara FisHouse: Located just across Cabrillo Boulevard from the ocean, the FisHouse pampers its patrons with the best local halibut and other central coast delicacies.
- Funk Zone: While the name may not exude luxury, your taste buds will sure recognize the quality. The converted warehouses of the Funk Zone are home to 5-star dining at the Lark, pop-up boutique tasting rooms, and quirky shops and cafes.
When you use Travelocity to book your stay on the American Riviera, you’ll find a wide selection of Santa Barbara beach hotels such as the Best Western Plus Pepper Tree Inn. Your luxurious accommodations all come with an amazing view of one of the most unique beaches along the California coast. Be warned, though: Once you set eyes on this sunset, every other one is going to pale in comparison.