Friday, July 31, 2020

More Mesa



More Mesa Beach is a Noleta Beach popular with runners and walkers. The beach is not wide so check the tides before going. The entrance is narrow along the steps and path, so you may need to wear a mask if you want to practice social distancing.

Directions: From 101, take the Turnpike exit. Turn south toward the ocean. Turn left onto Hollister Ave and continue to Puente Dr. Park on Puente Dr at Mockingbird Lane. There is no parking on Mockingbird Lane, so walk up the hill to the More Mesa path. Head down the path straight from the end of Mockingbird Lane. The steps down to the beach are .8 miles from Puente Dr. (Alternately it looks like walking in from Via Roblado from Las Palmas and Via Bendita is shorter, but I haven't been there to confirm parking.)


Pros
It was easy to socially distance here in every spot except the path down. 
It might be easy to walk into the private Hope Ranch Beach from here.

Cons
This beach is known for being a nude beach. We didn't notice that close to the steps, but have heard the space to the right is clothing optional and the space to the left is not.
The dirt and wood steps down to the beach are a bit treacherous for kids. 
The walk to the beach and back is close to a mile and a half, so it is a bit long if you are carrying beach supplies. 
There are no bathrooms. 
The path is the hardest place to socially distance and you may want to wear a mask here even if you don't wear one out in nature. 


To the East toward Hope Ranch Beach 

To the West toward Goleta Beach (a long ways away)

Steps up to the bluff
Path down to the beach






Friday, July 24, 2020

Sandspit Beach


The Santa Barbara Harbor has a small strip of sand and rocks at the end of the breakwater. It overlooks the harbor and has a great view of the city. Mostly a resting spot for stand-up paddle boarders and kayakers, the beach has a sandy area to the east facing the wharf and a rocky area to the west facing the harbor. You may encounter tourists here, but not many locals make their way here. 

Directions: Take the 101S to the Castillo exit. Turn right onto Castillo St and then right onto Shoreline. Turn left onto Harbor Way. Park there (90 minute free if you can find it) and walk the Harbor Walk past the many flags all the way to the end.  


Pros
It is easy to socially distance here since you may be the only ones there. (We wore masks along the breakwater, but took them off at the beach.) 
It is a beautiful view of the city.
My kids loved poking around in the rocks, finding hermit crabs. 

Cons 
There are no bathrooms near the beach but there are near the parking lot.
There is a short walk (.4 miles from where we parked ) which can add up if you bring a lot of stuff. 
The amount of sand varies greatly by tide and season, one of the times we were  there it was almost all rock. (The harbor is dredged periodically so that it does not fill in with sand with the sand being relocated beyond the wharf.)


Western Harbor View

Eastern Wharf View

Memorial to the Conception Tragedy

Wood Walk

Harbor Flags

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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Red Rock


Red Rock is a day use area on the hike along Gibraltar Trail off Paradise Road. There are cool pools in the Santa Ynez River for swimming and rock jumping. It is a bit of a trek from Santa Barbara, but so worth it on a hot day. 

The closest pool is about half a mile walk from the parking lot. It can get crowded here on a warm day, especially on the weekend. The crowd often leaves trash and can be noisy (music, etc). We had a peaceful time on the backside of the first pool but if you can walk further, you can find quieter pools up the trail further. The next time we go I would take a trail map to navigate. (We did go further up the trail, but found the path difficult to follow through the river bed.) The end of the trail is at Gibraltar Reservoir and part of a 6.5 mile loop

The rocks are fun to jump off, but be aware of where you are landing. A woman had a compound fracture to her leg and had to be air lifted out on the day we were there. 

The road there requires crossing the river several times, so be sure you know how to cross safely through that water level. While the trailhead is open year round, the road is not open when the river it too high. The day use areas require a $10 day use permit or an annual pass for $50. There is parking space for almost 150 vehicles. There are pit toilets, but no water or food supplies as well as now trash pick up. Pack everything in and out. 


Red Rock First Pool From the Path

Red Rock First Pool (Back Section)


Red Rock First Pool From the Back Side


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Lake Cachuma Camping 



Friday, July 17, 2020

Sands Beach


Sands Beach (or Coal Oil Point Beach) is an Isla Vista beach popular with surfers and students. This beach and neighboring Devereux Beach are home to Coal Oil Point, the Devereux Slough and the many Snowy Plover. The beach can be narrow near the entrance path so you may need to wear a mask if you want to practice social distancing. The tide pools are best closest to the point. 

Directions: From 101, take the Los Carneros exit. Turn south toward the ocean. Follow the road until it dead ends at El Colegio Rd. and turn right. Take the second left onto Camino Corto and continue to the end at Del Playa. Turn right and continue to the end. Park in the spots along Camino Majorca under the trees.

We park at the corner of Camino Majorca and Del Playa, then turn right on the path and head to the end, walking down the path to Sands Beach. Coal Oil Point is to the left. 

As a former science teacher, I got lost in all the info for the Devereux Slough. There is a virtual tour. And a videographer that has created videos on the Devereux Slough or the Snowy Plover.


Pros
There were not a lot of people on this beach, so it was easy to socially distance. 
This beach has great tidepools at low tide. They are best closest to the point (left from the path).
We had a great time rock/shell collecting here. 
The surfers concentrate at the point, so if you head right from the path, you might have the beach to yourself. 

Cons
The path is the hardest place to socially distance and you may want to wear a mask here even if you don't wear one out in nature. 
No bathrooms
There are spaces that are roped off to keep the Snowy Plovers safe. 
There has been a ton of kelp the times we have been there and (this being Coal Oil Point) there is a lot of tar. 

Path to the Beach

Entrance to Beach


Sands Beach to the East toward IV Beaches

Sands Beach to the West toward Ellwood Beach

Friday, July 10, 2020

Mesa Lane Beach


Mesa Lane Beach is a rocky beach with good tide pool and lots of dogs walking their owners. There are also a handful of surfers and boogie boarders. The entrance steps (about 230) are narrow, so you may need to wear a mask to practice social distancing.

 Directions: From the 101, take the Las Positas exit. Head south toward the beach. At the roundabout, turn left (away from Arroyo Burro) onto Cliff Dr. Turn right onto Mesa Lane and park near the end at the entrance to the beach. 


Pros
This beach was open and easy to socially distance. There were not a lot of people sitting on the beach. 
It was easy to find week day parking on Mesa Lane.
The tide pools were great with sea anemones, crabs, muscles, limpets as well as egrets and other birds. 
The beach itself is shallow for a long distance out, making it great for little ones.

Cons
No bathrooms
It is hard to socially distance on the steps down. 
The dogs are off leash and often friendly which will bother some. 
The steps are daunting on the way back if you are hauling stuff. 

East toward Thousand Steps


West toward Arroyo Burro

Path to the Beach

Steps to the Beach

Sea Anemones

Crab

Muscles

Friday, July 3, 2020

Ellwood Beach



Ellwood Beach is a Goleta beach adjacent to the Ellwood Preserve. It is a bit of a walk, which makes it easier to social distance. This is a mostly locals beach and a walking beach because it is out of the way. 

Directions: From 101, take the Los Glen Annie/Storke exit. Turn south toward the ocean. Turn right onto Hollister Ave. Turn left onto Santa Barbara Shores and continue to the end. Park on the street close to the gate.

We park at the end of Santa Barbara Shores Dr., then walk straight down the path (directly off the end of the road) down the path to the beach.  Alternately you can go down this path and at the end, head to the left for a wider flatter path down to the beach where you could use a stroller or wagon. 
Pros
There were not a lot of people on this beach so it was easy to socially distance. Mostly the other people were walkers.
There are no surfers to avaoid.
My kids liked the caves to explore. 
We had a great time building with rocks and wood here. 

Cons
The path is the hardest place to socially distance and you may want to wear a mask here even if you don't wear one out in nature. 
No bathrooms 
It is more remote (if the isolation makes you concerned).
The walk is about half a mile

Sign at the steep path down


Close path down


East toward Depressions and Sands Beach

West towards Haskell's Beach

Driftwood Structures

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Sands Beach 



Friday, June 26, 2020

Shoreline Beach


Shoreline Beach is a Mesa beach that is mainly a walking beach. The entrance steps are accessed at the end of Santa Cruz Blvd (just off Shoreline Dr).  It is a narrow stretch of beach, so check the tide charts before going. Park on La Plata (not limited) or an adjacent street in the neighborhood. 

Directions: From 101, take the Carillo St exit. Turn south toward the ocean. Follow the road over the hill which then turns Meigs Rd. Head through the light at Cliff Dr. The road bends and turns into Shoreline Dr. La Plata is on the left across from the park and a wooden arch. The steps are below the wooden arch.

More info

Pros
The walk is short from La Plata. 
It is a good place to socially distance unless the tide is high, but it is busier than most lesser known beaches.
There were cave like places in the rocks that the kids liked.
It is shallow for a long distance out. We hear it is a good tide pool beach (next to Santa Barbara Point). 
There are bathrooms nearby in the park (at the top of the stairs).

Cons
Parking is limited on a busy day.
It is less busy than the main Santa Barbara beaches, but you will not have the beach to yourself on a summer day. 
There is a walk to get there and because of the stairs, you wouldn't bring a stroller or wagon with supplies.

Entrance to the Beach

Stairs

West toward 1000 Steps Beach

East toward Leadbetter Beach

From the base of the cliff

Friday, June 19, 2020

Devereux Beach



Devereux Beach is a Isla Vista beach popular with surfers and students. This beach and neighboring Sand Beach are home to Coal Oil Point, the Devereux Slough and the many Snowy Plover. The beach can be narrow near the entrance steps so you may need to know the tides. The tide pools are best close to the point.

Directions: From 101, take the Los Carneros exit. Turn south toward the ocean. Follow the road until it dead ends at El Colegio Rd. and turn right. Take the second left onto Camino Corto and continue to the end at Del Playa. Turn right and continue to the end. Park in the spots along Camino Majorca under the trees.

We park at the corner of Camino Majorca and Del Playa, then walk straight down the path (directly off the end of the road) down the steps to the Devereux Beach.  Alternately you can go right on the path and head to the end at Devereux or Sands Beach. Coal Oil Point is to the left. 

As a former science teacher, I got lost in all the info for the Devereux Slough. There is a virtual tour. And a videographer that has created videos on the Devereux Slough or the Snowy Plover.
Pros
There were not a lot of people on this beach so it was easy to socially distance. 
This beach has great tidepools at low tide. They are best closest to the point (right from the stairs).
We had a great time rock/shell collecting here. 
The surfers concentrate at the point, so if you keep closer to the stairs, you might have the beach to yourself. 

Cons
The stairs are the hardest place to socially distance and you may want to wear a mask here even if you don't wear one out in nature. 
When entering using the stairs, it does say "clothing optional" to the left (for your planning information).
No bathrooms
There has been a ton of kelp the times we have been there and (this being Coal Oil Point) there is a lot of tar. 
Stairs at the end of Camino Majorca

Devereux Beach East toward Depressions Beach

Devereux Beach East toward Haskell's Beach

Colorful Structure

Path Down at Sands Beach/Coal Oil Point

Path to Coal Oil Point

Nude Beach to the left of the stairs

Tar Rocks

Friday, June 12, 2020

Thousand Steps Beach


Thousand Steps Beach is a Mesa beach that is mainly a walking beach. The entrance steps are accessed at the end of Santa Cruz Blvd (just off Shoreline Dr). (The thousand steps are really about 150, but that doesn't have quite the same ring to it.) It is a narrow stretch of beach so check the tide charts before going. Park along Santa Cruz Blvd or across Shoreline in the neighborhood.

Directions: From 101, take the Carillo St exit. Turn south toward the ocean. Follow the road over the hill which then turns Meigs Rd. Head through the light at Cliff Dr. The road bends and turns into Shoreline Dr. Santa Cruz Blvd is the first right. The steps are at the end of the street.

Pros
You might have this beach to yourself beside the many walkers going by. (Based on Google data, people only spent 30 minutes here.) It is a good place to socially distance unless the tide is high.
This is good for a beach walk or for older kids.
The sand was perfect for sand castles when we were there.

Cons
The slippery stairs end with a large jump down onto the beach (not great if you have very little kids or a lot of stuff).
No bathrooms
There are are only about 8 parking spots on the dead end of Santa Cruz Blvd. It is not restricted but hard to come by.

Entrance to the steps

Steps to the beach

West toward Arroyo Burro Beach

East Toward Shoreline Park and Mesa Lane Beach
Sand Castles