Nestled against the southern terminus of the University of California Santa Barbara’s campus lies Goleta Beach Park. A stretch of classic California sand, replete with a fishing pier, bicycle path, and snack shop, and the perfect spot to make the transition from paddleboarding in a harbor, to striking out on the open ocean.
What Makes It Great
Striking out into the open ocean for the first time can be daunting, especially if you learned to SUP on the glass-smooth waters of a harbor or lake. However, Goleta Beach Park offers a perfect transition zone for beginner and intermediate riders looking to test their skills without getting in over their heads. On most days the waters off of Goleta Beach Park are calm and moderately flat, with some shorebreak that rarely exceeds three feet.
For more advanced riders consider heading over to Campus Point where, on the right day, with the right swell, riders can catch right-breaking waves that have been known to last almost a minute.
If you’re traveling with a mixed group, with some people stoked on getting out into the water, and others content to park it on the sand, then this beach has you covered. Arrive early to secure a picnic spot and get the BBQ grill going, or start up a game of volleyball on one of the sand courts.
Who is Going to Love It
If you’re a beginner or intermediate paddle boarder, coming to the beach with your family, or you’re an advanced rider simply looking for a relaxed day and some mellow waves, then look no further. Goleta Beach Park has relatively mellow waters with small swells as well as a host of other activities. Take a paddle around the pier, and then hit up the Beachside Bar Cafe for its daily happy hour.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From downtown Santa Barbara, take the 101 north, exit onto the 217 west and follow that road until you hit the beach. There are two free parking lots on either side of the Beach Market, and another lot just a little further north near the university.