Lookout Park is a small park in Summerland, Calif., set atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Where four acres of carefully groomed grass suddenly give way to the sweeping expanse of the ocean below.
This is paddling on the open ocean, so while the waves on this part of the coast are relatively small thanks in part to the Channel Islands, be aware that the water will not be glassy smooth. Striking out in the early morning before the afternoon on-shore breeze picks up is a good way to ensure you’ll have a smoother ride.
Time To Complete
Yes, dogs can come and be off leash at Summerland Beach. However, the beach is nearly a mile long, more so at low tide, so be sure that your dog responds well to voice commands.
Just south of Santa Barbara sits Summerland, Calif., home to the aptly named Summerland Beach, nestled below Lookout Park. This beach features steep cliffs dropping dramatically onto a beach that is a mix of rock and sand. The beach is more than a mile long, and in low tide the receding water makes it possible to walk all the way south to Loon Point Beach, nearly two miles away.
What Makes It Great
Driving south on the 101 you’ll be treated to a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean as you exit at Summerland. Less than a block later you’ll arrive at Lookout Park, whose green lawn drops suddenly onto the beach below. Take the pedestrian ramp from the parking lot down to the sandy shores.
Summerland is a great option for paddleboarders looking for a less crowded, yet undeniably beautiful spot. The waves here are typically pretty small and break close to shore, which means that it’s fairly easy to get out past the breakers and onto smoother waters. Strike out southbound and paddle along the cliffs headed towards Loon Point nearly two miles away if you’re looking for a great workout. Or stay closer to the park and enjoy the views of the Channel Islands off-shore.
Who is Going to Love It
This beach is perfect for paddlers looking for a beautiful location with fewer crowds, where they can get out onto the water and just cruise. Unlike many of Santa Barbara’s beaches the surf at Summerland is pretty small and mushy during all but the biggest winter storms. So while this beach may not be for those who wish to catch waves, it is a good beginner to intermediate spot for paddle boarders looking for a relaxing day out.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take the California Highway 101 south from Santa Barbara and take the Summerland exit, follow the signs to Lookout Park, less than one block off the highway. Parking is ample and free, as is the use of the park. There are some larger group areas that may be reserved for private parties for a daily fee. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to sunset, and has volleyball courts, picnic areas, BBQ pits, a playground, showers, and restrooms, all available for public use.