Summer is upon us, and we’re all smiles here in Santa Barbara. The American Riviera is one of the most beautiful corners of the world to enjoy those sunny days. We have a diverse landscape surrounding us:  mountains, valleys, vineyards…and, of course, beaches to explore. Check out this short guide on exploring the best beaches of Santa Barbara. 

West Beach

We are going to start off at the most convenient beach for guests of Hotel Milo to visit during a stay with us. Right across West Cabrillo Boulevard from our property, West Beach is a small stretch of sand that welcomes travelers and locals to come, kick back and enjoy the city. You can easily pull up a towel or blanket and get lost in a nap or good book here. The central location of the beach also lends itself to more activities.

In addition to being the shortest walk from Hotel Milo, West Beach is also right next to Stearns Wharf. This pier is a central attraction in Santa Barbara, and it has restaurants, souvenir shops, candy stores, and a wine-tasting room on it. You can explore the wharf, maybe catch a Sunday art walk on Cabrillo and then go lounge on the sand whenever you get tired. On the other side of West Beach, there’s a marina with a couple dynamite seafood restaurants as well. 

East Beach

Just a mile down the coast from West Beach, East Beach is another of the best beaches in Santa Barbara. When you get there, you’ll be able to find plenty of great tanning spots, as well as volleyball games and water sport opportunities. The beach is also attached to small parks with picnic areas, and bike paths that lead up to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge and other local beaches. Coming up here will also get you closer to other local attractions like the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Butterfly Beach

About four miles down the shore from Hotel Milo, Butterfly Beach is easy to get to with a ten minute drive down the 101. It’s near other attractions worth checking out like Edgecliff Point and Montecito Creek. We love Butterfly Beach because, despite its popularity, it’s entirely serene.

Butterfly Beach has a reputation for being one of the cleanest beaches in all of Southern California. Tabloids photographers have posted up here in the past to catch local celebrities lounging out, but most of the time it’s calm and peaceful. In addition to the expansive ocean views at Butterfly Beach, there are also nearby cliffs and hiking trails to explore when you visit. 

Summerland Beach

Moving a bit further in the same direction, you can find the lesser known, lesser populated Summerland Beach in Santa Barbara County. Surf-friendly shore breaks, a calm community of beach goers, and an open-dog and animal policy all combine to make Summerland a refreshing option among Santa Barbara Beaches. The easiest way to get here from Hotel Milo is by car, which takes just over ten minutes.

In addition to its seclusion, Summerland Beach also stands out as a popular horseback riding destination. This can be nice for sunbathers who appreciate seeing some majestic creatures prance past every now and again, and for riders themselves. If you’re interested, there are plenty of horseback riding opportunities and services in Santa Barbara. 

Discover more of Santa Barbara

Planning a visit to the American Riviera? Explore Santa Barbara like a local and discover insider recommendations on the Hotel Milo Santa Barbara blog