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Leadbetter Beach

Santa Barbara, California, United States


Leadbetter Beach is a crescent-shaped beach with rock pools, yellow and white cliffs, and surfers riding small waves near to shore. Near the parking lot, there are some picnic tables and lovely lawns graced with palms. It's nice to sit here and watch the sunset.
In winter there can be so many sandflies at Leadbetter Beach that it's unpleasant. Also, the proximity to Santa Barbara Harbor makes the sand dirty and the water polluted.
For tidepools with amazing geological formations, walk to the west end of the beach. Here surfers ride waves that are at an angle to the shore. This gives you a good view of their technique! The soft break attracts beginning surfers. Above you, yellow and white cliffs make slanted layers, as if the earth's crust was pushed wildly up! It's a gorgeous sight! Little caves and private beaches await you as you walk further west. The sand is grey and compacted so that it is rock hard, but it's a nice place to walk in sneakers. Kids enjoy drawing with sticks in the compacted sand. We once stayed for hours and drew an entire city. It's a private spot to listen to the waves and play. You can let your imagination free because there aren't many people around to interrupt!
Both a bike path and a jogging path along Shoreline Drive lead from Leadbetter Beach up to Shoreline Park where there are always tons of people jogging, pushing strollers, and bringing their kids to play on the toddler playground. You can jog all the way to La Mesa Park- it's beautiful the whole way.
Leadbetter Beach is situated below Santa Barbara City College. It must be hard to show up to class when you have a view like that beckoning you to play hookie! Check out the lovely clifftop walk at SBCC.
From Leadbetter Beach you can walk past the harbor to West Beach Boardwalk, the pier, Cabrillo Bike Path, and all the way to East Beach and the lagoon. It's a walk, jog, or bike ride under hundreds of palm trees with sweeping ocean views!
There is a cafe with glassed-in outdoor seating at Leadbetter Beach called Shoreline Beach Cafe.

Photo Gallery

Grassy lawn at Leadbetter Beach, by the parking lot.

Gorgeous, healthy California palm, with beach in background.

Looking up at Santa Barbara City College's wonderful cliffs, from Leadbetter Beach.

Looking back toward the harbor...

Spring seaweed on Leadbetter Beach.

Take a long stroll along Leadbetter Beach...

So many sandflies buzzing around you! Keep walking and don't stand still if you walk on Leadbetter Beach in the winter or spring.

Tidepool area on the west side of Leadbetter Beach.

I love the blue California lifeguard shacks!

Jogging path that runs along Leadbetter Beach and all the way to Shoreline Park.

Wow, what a gorgeous place! Incredible yellow rock strata.

View of Leadbetter Beach from Santa Barbara City College.

View of Leadbetter Beach from Shoreline Park.

Residents cool down at the beach on a hot summer day.

Unusually high surf in January 2017.

High surf and a broken board.

Surfing lessons at Leadbetter Beach.

Learning to surf!

Pink flowers in March.

Lawn by the sea.

Picnic tables with a view!

View from above Leadbetter Beach, on Shoreline Drive- a wonderful walk!

Yellow flowers and pretty water, on a warm spring day.

A warm day at the beach.

Slack-lining on the lawn by the beach.

Sailboat on a perfect day at the beach.

The mountains in the distance. Though it's a warm April day, the water is COLD!


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

Leadbetter Beach is located at Shoreline Dr and Loma Alta Dr, Santa Barbara CA 93101.
From Highway 101 southbound, take the Castillo exit and turn toward the ocean. At the end, turn right on Cabrillo Blvd which becomes Shoreline Drive, and drive past the harbor. At Loma Alta Drive, turn left into the Leadbetter Beach parking lot.
From Highway 101 northbound, take the Bath Street exit. Turn left on Haley St and left on Castillo St. At the end, turn right on Cabrillo Blvd which becomes Shoreline Drive, and drive past the harbor. At Loma Alta Drive, turn left into the Leadbetter Beach parking lot.
It costs $2.00 an hour to park here. On weekends you can park for free in the Santa Barbara City College parking lot on the west side of Loma Alta Drive (if you don't mind a short walk).
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