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.)

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.

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.  

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. 

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

Related Posts:

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

Related Posts:
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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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



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. 
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. 

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

Related Posts:
Sands Beach