One of the most beautiful beaches near downtown Santa Barbara, Leadbetter Beach is often filled with windsurfers, joggers, and sunbathers. Its light surf makes its an excellent spot for low-key and beginning surfing. It’s one of the more scenic spots close to the city, with an expansive golden sand beach and grass lawn. There are also facilities for picnicking and barbecue, as well as public restrooms and showers.
Often sailboats can be seen cruising just off the coast from Leadbetter, as it’s located next to the Santa Barbara Harbor. Lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours. For these reasons, it is one of the more popular public beach areas. Though it can be crowded, it is often bustling with activity compared to other spots on the coast. It’s considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in California.
Leadbetter Beach is located on Cabrillo Blvd in downtown Santa Barbara, just beside the harbor. It is nearby to the Santa Barbara City College and sits at the start of the Mesa neighborhood. To get there from the 101 freeway, exit Garden Street or Castillo Street, turning south towards the ocean. Parking is paid (some free spots available.)