Campus Point, UCSB

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Santa Barbara, CA
Campus Point, UCSB
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Campus Point is the surfing beach at UCSB. It's a popular spot, especially in the summer when the small surf break makes it a good place for beginning surfers. There's a fun scene with college students laying out and kids yelling in the water. In the morning there is absolutely no shade, but in the afternoon the cliffs make wide expanses of shade.

On the southern tip of the point there are some rocks where waves crash up and tidepools make for some great exploring. Bright pink and orange starfish, big and fat, cling to the rocks slightly below the water, only visible at low tide. Don't touch them!
I especially like the eastern side of the beach, just below the huge staircase near the parking. Here it's sheltered from the wind and in the afternoon there's shade from the cliffs. It's a great place to come with a toddler to play in the sand.
On Saturdays from 11am-2pm The Reef, a marine lab with touch tanks, is open. It's at the very end of Lagoon Rd near the beach. You can enter for free and check out the marine life.
Parking here is difficult. There are only a few stalls available for beach access during the week from 7:30am-5pm. On weekends or after 5pm you can park in any of the stalls. At all times you must pay a pretty hefty parking fee- you use your credit card to pay at the machines and then place the parking pass inside your car by the dashboard. In the evenings and on weekends it's the cheapest: $3 (you can pay $12 for a whole month of weekends and evenings).
The water is cold in Santa Barbara, so wear a wetsuit. The air is cold at the beach, so bring a sweater. In summer, be prepared with a terry rag and a lot of baby oil (or any vegetable oil) if you walk along the shore because your feet or shoes will become covered with huge globs of oil.
From Campus Point you can see the beautiful white cliffs of Goleta Beach and at low tide you can walk there. My favorite spot to walk from Campus Point is the grassy area by the shimmering lagoon. From here you can walk up stairs alongside the lagoon and under eucalyptus trees to UCSB's Campus Center for some lunch (on weekdays).
There are restrooms at campus point at the very end of Lagoon Rd past the signs that don't allow cars to go any further.
You can take the stairs that you see above the main beach to get to the Labyrinth Trail. It's a gorgeous bluff-top walk, especially in spring when there are poppies and morning glories. It leads all the way to the lagoon and the UCen on the other side.

Continue to directions...

A surfer catches a ride at Campus Point.

A lookout made of logs, where surfers sit to watch the action.

It's fun to explore the tidepools at low tide.

Beautiful patterns await in the tidepools.

Waves crashing on the rocks at the southernmost point of Campus Point.

A glob of tar- not fun when it's stuck to your feet!

A perfect starfish at Campus Point- don't touch it!

Kayaks on the sand at Campus Point.

Campus Point Beach.

Nice wave at Campus Point.

The lagoon next to Campus Point.

Sitting amongst the daisies at the lagoon.

Starfish, sea urchins, and other cool creatures at The Reef touch tanks.

The touch tanks at The Reef, open 11-2 on Saturdays, for free!

Carefree grommets at Campus Point on a November day.

Thanksgiving weekend at Campus Point during unusually warm weather.

Magical moment at Campus Point lagoon.

Surfers and mountains behind.

Heart-shaped rock in the sand.

The cliffs that provide some shade.

A cute little sheltered spot by the rocks.

It's fun to explore by the rocks.

Storm clouds approach.

Standup paddling at Campus Point, with gorgeous view of the islands.

A student looks at a starfish at The Reef touch tank.

Wow, a big lobster!

Starfish in the touch tank at The Reef.

Dark pink bougainvillea on the path that winds around the lagoon from Campus Point Beach to the San Nicolas Residence Hall.

Beautiful lawn on the lagoon by Campus Point Beach. One of my favorite spots on campus!

Pathway at the lawn on the lagoon by Campus Point Beach.

View of the lagoon from the walk that goes from Campus Point Beach to the Labyrinth Trail on the bluffs.


Exit Highway 101 northbound at Highway 217. Follow it to the end where it enters the UCSB gate. Go around the big circle and turn on Lagoon Rd. At the end of Lagoon Rd (before the signs that don't allow you to drive further) there is a large parking lot on your left. Read the sign by the pay machine- a few of the stalls are for beach access from 7:30am-5pm on weekdays. Weekends and evenings you can park in any of the stalls. Pay with your credit card at the pay machine. Cost will be about $4 for 2 hours. On weekends and evenings it's $3. You can pay for a month of weekend parking for $12.
Bus line 11 runs between the UCSB campus and downtown via Hollister Ave in Goleta. You can check the website:


Click on map for interactive view


Add your comments
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Wed, 10 Feb 2010

go for a walk on the bluffs. the view is absolutely gorgeous...

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Tue, 19 Jun 2012

I grew up in horribly conservative Santa Barbara and spent every summer and winter there on that beach and I NEVER had to use a wetsuit. Kids today are so coddled!

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Thu, 03 Sep 2009

Thank you for sharing this lovely interactive map. I will share it with our incoming students.

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Sun, 06 Sep 2009

The surf was cranking! Thanks for the awesome tip!

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Kristen P

Sat, 06 Mar 2010

Love your site, lady! We live right here and couldn't find detailed directions to the touch tanks...thanks!!!

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Fri, 10 Jan 2020

Can you fish at campus point

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Fri, 06 Nov 2009

The touch tanks are awesome.

Last Updated: Thu, 13 Apr 2017 15:20:03 GMT

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