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Summerland Beach and Lookout Park

Santa Barbara, CA
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Summerland Beach and Lookout Park, Santa Barbara California


Driving south toward Summerland Beach on Highway 101, as you round the bend and see the glittering ocean and curved beach stretched before you, you can't help but feel delight! When you pull off the freeway and park, you come first to Lookout Park, which stands on a cliff over the beach. A playground with views of the sea offers baby swings, regular swings, two curved slides, stepping stones that move, and a dinosaur bouncy to ride. Perfectly-positioned benches and picnic tables overlook the ocean, on the edge of a bright green lawn.
You can walk down a steep paved road to the beach below. The cliff beside you is covered in lush vegetation and flowers. The sand is a bit mucky-looking, but walk to the east and it improves (you can park closer to this stretch of beach- see directions below). Sanderling birds rush along the shore- it's amazing how fast their legs move when they run from a wave! Lovely houses above the beach make you jealous.
Summerland Beach is a favorite with dog owners. There is even a spiffy dog washing station for a fee. The dogginess of this beach is great if you are a dog owner, not so great if your child is scared of dogs because most of them aren't leashed.
If you're brave about cold water and want to swim, check the water quality before you go.
If you're hungry, head across the railroad tracks and turn right on Ortega Hill Rd to Summerland town where you will find charming cafes and shops set in Victorian houses along the road.
For panoramic views, enjoy the drive up to Toro Canyon Park, a wilderness area with hikes. Other spots to check out in Montecito are Manning Park, a beautiful wooded park; and Miramar Beach, where people hang out in front of the rickety beachhouses.


Photo Gallery

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Bright lawn over the ocean at Lookout Park.
Bright lawn over the ocean at Lookout Park.
View of the Channel Islands, from gorgeous picnic area at the top of Lookout Park.
View of the Channel Islands, from gorgeous picnic area at the top of Lookout Park.
Teepee hut at Summerland Beach.
Teepee hut at Summerland Beach.
Summerland Beach, looking to the west.
Summerland Beach, looking to the west.
Sanderling birds run away from a wave!
Sanderling birds run away from a wave!
Summerland Beach- the nicest part- looking to the east.
Summerland Beach- the nicest part- looking to the east.
Ooooh, yeah....
Ooooh, yeah....
Sanderling birds and a wave rolling in.
Sanderling birds and a wave rolling in.
The trail down to the east end of the beach.
The trail down to the east end of the beach.
Playground at Lookout Park.
Playground at Lookout Park.
Daisies on the cliff above the sea. Love it!
Daisies on the cliff above the sea. Love it!
Dog wash station.
Dog wash station.


Summerland Beach and Lookout Park are located at the ocean end of Evans Ave, Summerland CA 93067.
Exit Highway 101 southbound at Summerland and turn towards the ocean. Drive across the railroad tracks and into the large parking lot for Lookout Park. You can walk down to the beach from here.
From Highway 101 northbound, exit at Evans Ave, and turn left on Lillie Ave. Turn left at Evans Ave and head under the freeway, across the railroad tracks and into the large parking lot for Lookout Park. You can walk down to the beach from here.
There are restrooms at Lookout Park.
A nicer stretch of beach is accessible further east. When you exit Highway 101 southbound, go straight, on the access road, as if you were getting back on Highway 101 South. Right before the Highway 101 South entrance, turn right, over the train tracks, past the Sanitary District Building. Park along the road and walk down the path to this more pristine stretch of Summerland Beach. This area fills up early.

This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:

08/19/2017 19:16
I think the posts on here are quit funny.... horse poop is just grass chewed up and horses are not off leash lol they wear a bridal, saddle and or pad with rider on back they are not running free.. u people are sillly with nothing better to do than bitch... lol,

04/20/2017 08:01
The beaches around Summerland are nice, but I had to walk on a narrow trail with a lot of horse feces to get to Point Loon at Padaro. Not only was it inconvenient, it smelled awful. Don't we have a right not to have to trample through that awful stuff in order to visit the beach?

10/18/2014 09:15
Thousands of miles of ocean and no dog Beach has anyone thought of this besides me? If enough people join together we should be able to get one little Beach designated as off leash. I would even pay a use fee.

08/31/2012 08:02
Okay, I have heard so much about this beach that I had to investigate. We loaded up the trailer and headed down to Carpenteria with our horses. Where this website directed us was wrong. It directed us to a sort of lookout point where we could -see- the beach, but we couldnt get down there. We saw horses on the beach, so we knew we were in the right place. Luckily, a kind woman directed us to get back on the freeway and get off at Summerland exit, NOT Evans. Then take Padaro and you'll be right there in the parking lot. Park your trailer in there (its a bit of a tight squeeze) and then ride your horses down to the beach from the path under the overpass. It takes you literally right down to the beach, and boy is it nice! The beach itself has WONDERFUL sand, beautiful scenery and mild waves. The perfect part is its not too crowded. IMPORTANT NOTE: Between the months of May and November, you are only allowed to bring your horses on the beach before 10am and AFTER 5pm. On our first trip, we brought our horses at 9:40am and we were told to be off the beach by 10 or we would be fined. They are very strict on this rule.

06/25/2012 10:16
How do you get down to the beach with your horses?

06/06/2012 22:00
So are you allowed to bring your horses here? If so, where is a good place to trailer them in?

03/20/2012 15:25
when do the waters glow blue again?

I guess I won\'t be visiting
12/21/2011 16:22
After seeing the comments about the enforcement of leash laws at this beach, I won\'t be driving up from Los Angeles and stopping by with my very well behaved dogs. I guess I will drive down to Huntington and spend my money eating lunch in their neighborhood instead.

Responsible Dog Owner
07/16/2010 10:59
Sadly, Dave is correct. While horses are allowed to leave feces all over the beach without penalty at any time of day, dogs must legally be kept leashed, despite the fact that dogs have been running free with their mostly responsible owners for decades. Sadly, a few Santa Barbara \"implants\" who believe they are entitled to special rights have begun complaining about others\' rights to be there and law enforcement has been forced for the first time in a long time to waste valuable resources on leash enforcement. (And here I\'m not referring to Animal Control--I\'m talking about sheriff deputies whose time should be spent elsewhere.)

And, despite Dave\'s trying to steer you toward Hendry\'s Beach, keep in mind that it is a small sliver of beach at best. Because this is the only legal off-leash beach, you will find it crowded to the point of \"why bother?\" And please beware, dog lovers, that the Douglas Family Preserve is covered in foxtails nine months of the year--informed dog owners recognize this as a potentially lethal plant to our furry friends.

Dave may use capital letters to express his stern righteousness, but responsible dog owners, long-time, tax-paying citizens of Santa Barbara County, are in the majority. I suggest there may come a time when Summerland might be a place where ALL citizens, including dog owners and their OFF-LEASH pets (just like the horses) are ENTITLED to share the beach in a state of compromise.

God Bless America and our freedoms...

05/28/2010 11:30
This is a wonderful beach for dogs to play on, and while it is listed here as being a place where "OFF LEASH" dogs are allowed, it is in fact NOT TRUE, dogs are welcome here but they are supposed to be ON LEASH, and they (animal control) do often patrol the beach and in particular, the access points to the beach from parking areas. People do frequently let their dogs run off leash at this beach, but they are risking an "off leash enforcement fine of $166./per dog". Also it is 100% expected that your dog be well socialized and friendly to all people as well as other dogs on the beach, bad behavior will NOT be tolerated by the local's in this beautiful area of the California Coast.

If you are concerned about the possibility of getting a ticket, and especially if your dog is less than WELL MANNERED then might I suggest the beach at Hendry's (otherwise known as Arroyo Burro, beach below the Douglas Family Preserve which is another wonderful place to walk and exercise your dog in the Santa Barbara area, without fear of being ticketed for letting your dog off leash.

Again, it is expected and well enforced that all dogs on the beach be well socialized and friendly to ALL persons and animals they may encounter.

Wherever you choose to let your dog walk and exercise, have a wonderful visit and enjoy all that Santa Barbara has to offer, Have Fun.

10/01/2009 14:42
if you're in Summerland, soak it all in while you can

09/19/2009 20:38
I brought my college girlfriends with me. Nice change from the busier beaches.

Last Updated Wed, 18 Jan 2017 19:29:39 GMT