Printed from
Back to Location

Space for your notes

Gaviota Beach

Santa Barbara, California, United States


There's a fun feel at Gaviota Beach, with kids playing and splashing at the sheltered shoreline. The water is not as freezing here in summer and is clean as long as the creek is not open to the sea. Check the water quality before you go. Behind the beach there's a snack shop that kids like to run to for a treat. Bring a beach umbrella because there's no shade.
The huge railroad trestle above the beach adds interest to the area. To the west there's a pier that fishermen and surfers use, and a poster with information on the history of Hollister Ranch, which Gaviota Beach was a part of until it was sold to the state. Surfers use Gaviota Beach as an entry point to ride by dinghy and sneak a few waves at private Hollister Ranch.
On the west side of the pier, there's a cave smashed by sea waves. Check out the amazing geological formations. I love how the shale breaks in perfect rectangles!
Gaviota Beach is on the drive from from Santa Barbara to Solvang and the wide open feel of the road here is freeing. The mountains in the distance, loaded with rock outcroppings, are spectacular.
If you're hungry, head over to Solvang, a town with Danish windmills and lots of tourist stores. At Paula's Pancakes you can sit on their sunny patio and look out on the half-timbered buildings and overflowing flower pots all around you. For an amazing medieval playground in Solvang that will keep your kids happy for hours, check out Sunny Fields Park.
Just north of Gaviota Beach there is a gorgeous natural area called Nojoqui Falls, where you take an easy ten-minute walk with your kids to a waterfall.

Photo Gallery

The railroad bridge that passes over Gaviota Beach- here seen from the beach parking lot.

The amazing rock formations and cave, on the west side of the pier.

Surfers return to Gaviota Beach by dinghy after trying to sneak a few rides on waves at Hollister Ranch, just west of Gaviota Beach.

The cool rectangular shale bits that chip off the cliffs at Gaviota Beach.

I just can't get enough of the shale and its rectangular shape at Gaviota Beach!

More geological wonders at Gaviota Beach!

Mountains you see as you drive out of Gaviota Beach and onto the 101- wow!

Kids having a blast on a summer day at Gaviota Beach.

Girls running along the beach on a summer day.


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

Gaviota Beach is off of Highway 101 between Santa Barbara and Solvang. It is 13 miles south of Solvang and 20 miles north of Santa Barbara. From Highway 101, follow the signs to Gaviota State Beach. There is a huge parking lot. It's a state park so parking is $10.
All content Copyright © 2006-2018 copying prohibited