West Beach Boardwalk

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Santa Barbara, CA
West Beach Boardwalk
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Because it is situated on a wide beach, and is lined by rows of sky high palms, West Beach boardwalk feels open and expansive. At sunset, the water and sand seem to shimmer for miles in golden light. Rollerskaters, bike-riders, and joggers enjoy the cement path over sand. Volleyball players gather for games at the many nets. You can walk east past the pier and skate park, along the Cabrillo bike path under 1200 Mexican fan palms, to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge lagoon that borders Montecito. Or walk west past the Los Banos del Mar pool (see hours below) and the happening harbor to Leadbetter Beach.

If you're hungry, eat at Chad's Cafe (opened in 1957!) just across the road from West Beach! They are only open for breakfast or lunch, and get busy on weekends so come early. If you can get a table outside, that's the way to go! Try their breakfast burrito, or pancakes. After eating, stroll along the sidewalk enjoying the tropical flowers.
The bike path gets crowded on weekends, especially in the summer, so if you have a wobbly child on a bike or scooter, choose a weekday or stay at the far ends, near Leadbetter Beach or near the Andree Clark Bird Refuge lagoon (avoid areas near Stearns Wharf, the pier).
On July 4th, enjoy the fireworks from West Beach. These are the best fireworks I've seen! Bring a blanket (the sand is freezing!) and a sweater. Come early so you can get a spot to sit. A word of warning- avoid walking back to your parking spot via lower State Street. It is terrifying to cross under the freeway where masses of people work themselves into a frenzy. We almost got pushed into the train tracks as a train went by. People set off fireworks right by your face against the wall under the freeway. It felt like a stampede could happen at any moment. There is no other way to get to the parking garages on State Street, except via Garden Street, but it's worth it to walk out of your way and avoid the freaky experience we had.
In July and August, the West Beach Wading Pool opens, on the west end of the beach beside Los Banos Pool. Kids love to splash around in this large, shallow pool (age 7 and under only, with their parent). It is open daily 12-4 and admission is free. Beside the pool is a small ship playground where kids can play imaginative games while grown-ups watch tourists walk by.
Los Banos del Mar Pool is open year-round for lap swimming. The pool is deep and there are ladders (no stairs) to enter. People are serious lap swimmers here. The views are beautiful with palm trees overhead and the mountains in the distance.

Continue to directions...

West Beach is a very wide expanse- see the pier (Stearns Wharf) in the distance.

Peddling a surrey at West Beach.

Bikeriding at West Beach.

The dolphin statue at the base of the pier.

Watch the sailboats from West Beach.

Just east of the pier.

The sidewalk by Chad's is lined with flowers and palms.

Tropical flowers are everywhere if you walk along Cabrillo Blvd on the Chad's Cafe side of the road.

Pretty shrubs and green lawns, near Chad's.

July 4th fireworks at West Beach!

Chad's Cafe, with its fantastic family-friendly patio looking out on West Beach.

The wonderful palms and mountain views.

The wide sidewalk that runs near the bike path.

Rows of sky-high palms and old-fashioned streetlights.

Sand sculpture of two soldiers, at Arlington West memorial. A man carves this anew every weekend.

Canoes at the harbor end of West Beach.

Volleyball on a sunny day.

Flowers along the sidewalk on Castillo St.

Red hibiscus and palm tree.

Starfish design in the tiles on the sidewalk along Cabrillo Blvd.

Tile pattern on the sidewalk.

West Beach, as seen from Stearn's Wharf.

Canary palms.

Rows of palms.

Red bougainvillea.

Lower State Street is lovely!

Purple bougainvillea outside Ala Mar Hotel.

Banana trees and flowers.

Spanish fountain and hotel, on Cabrillo Blvd.

Directions

West Beach Boardwalk is located at W. Cabrillo Blvd and Chapala St, Santa Barbara CA 93101.
From Highway 101 southbound, take the Castillo Street exit. Turn right on Castillo Street. At the end, turn left on Cabrillo Blvd (yes, there's Cabrillo, Castillo, and Carrillo- now that was a brilliant person naming the streets!) and park along the road.
From Highway 101 northbound, take the Garden St exit. Turn towards the ocean, and then turn right on Cabrillo Blvd. Follow Cabrillo Blvd past the pier and then park along the road.
West Beach Wading Pool is located at 401 Shoreline Dr. It is open in June 16-Aug 23, 2014, M-Sa from 12-4. Admission is free. Only young children (age 7 and under) are allowed to swim, plus the adult taking care of them. No floats or toys are allowed. There are lifeguards. The pool is less than 2 ft deep.
Los Banos del Mar Pool is located at 401 Shoreline Dr, Santa Barbara CA 93109. Hours for family swim are Mon-Sat 2:15-3:45 in summer. Cost is $1 for kids and $5 for adults. Closed on swim meet days. Call (805) 966-6110. There are lifeguards. The pool is deep and has ladders (no stairs) to enter.
Chad's Cafe, 216 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

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Steph

Thu, 15 Oct 2009

Great, laid back atmosphere. A great place to do some serious r&r. Great bars and sunsets!! Nice hotels.

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Scott

Thu, 15 Oct 2009

The beach itself isn't the best, but Santa Barbara is very interesting. Lots of great architecture around downtown and the courthouse, Spanish culture and mexican restaurants. A downer is that it's expensive, but for the first timer, definitely a good introduction to California, and easier to navigate than LA.

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Melissa

Thu, 01 Oct 2009

Be sure to hit up Sambos for a stack of pancakes!!

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Chris

Thu, 01 Oct 2009

beach volleyball, friendly people, peace baby....

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Libby

Sun, 15 Jan 2017

Love Santa Barbara... esp the boardwalk and eating places!

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Nicole

Mon, 14 Sep 2009

Perfect palm-fringed beach. Ate at Sambo's every morning!

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Ken

Fri, 29 Jan 2010

i do like this LIFE is GOOD.

Last Updated: Sun, 15 Jan 2023 01:53:28 GMT

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