East Beach, located between Stearns Wharf and the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, is a hallmark of Santa Barbara’s Pacific coast and one of the city’s most popular and well-known beaches. Wide and sandy, East Beach stretches over one mile long and offers plenty of room for spreading out a beach blanket or pursuing a variety of recreational activities.
On its easternmost end, rows of world-class beach volleyball courts are available to the public for pick-up games, and are often the site for classes and tournaments as well. Bordering this stretch of beach is a grassy strip dotted with picnic tables in perfect view of the courts. Neighboring them is the historic Cabrillo Bathhouse, which houses the East Beach Grill, a day-use fitness center, lockers, and public bathrooms. Its upper level houses the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, and its beachfront includes a large playground and outdoor showers.
Walkers, runners, skaters and bikers enjoy East Beach’s palm-lined bike path, which parallels the beach all the way from the Bird Refuge to Shoreline Park on the Mesa. Skater’s Point provides a professionally designed skateboard park for the adventuresome. East Beach ends at the historic Stearns Wharf, the ever-popular landmark that hosts shops, restaurants, pier fishing, and the Ty Warner Sea Center. Stearns Wharf, along with Santa Barbara’s historic mission, are the two most popular tourist attractions in the area, each receiving two million visitors a year!
Everyone from serious athletes to families with young children will find East Beach to be a perfect and breathtakingly beautiful location for a full day’s play. And in addition to recreation, the beach regularly hosts weddings and cultural community events, such as the weekly Santa Barbara Arts and Crafts Show in which hundreds of local artists display and sell their original works.
Free parking is available along most stretches of Cabrillo Boulevard (no RVs) and paid parking is available at any of the City of Santa Barbara waterfront parking lots for reasonable hourly and day rates. Lifeguards are on duty during a portion of the summer.
East Beach’s real estate is made up almost entirely of hotels serving tourists and business travelers, including Hyatt Santa Barbara and Fess Parker’s Doubletree Hotel, as well as many inns and motels. The prominent residential community is El Escorial Villas at East Beach. This resort-style complex, featuring Mediterranean architecture, is located across the street from the East Beach volleyball courts and in walking distance of the famous Santa Barbara Zoo and Andree Clark Bird Refuge. This complex offers what many deem as the only real option to purchase “resort style living” in the Santa Barbara condo market. The area is very walkable, making it a desirable locale for potential homeowners and visitors alike.
For those interested in a map of East Beach, see this Google map.