Friday, August 28, 2020

Summer of the Beaches II Reflections

It was fun to have a quest (go to our list of beaches) this summer even when so many things were different. We loved finding new treasures in our community and discovered we really liked Sands and Campus Point Beaches as well as Mesa Lane and Hammonds Beaches. This was one of our best blogging summers because we spent a lot of time at the beach. Also the summer season began (in some ways) when everyone got sent home from school in March. We spent so much time at the beach I just put a new beach bag on my wish list (the old one needs to go in the trash)!

We originally thought we might go a little farther away to Rincon, Arroyo Hondo and Gaviota, but finding all the local beaches from Haskell's in the "north" (west) all the way to Miramar in the "South" (east) kept us quite busy. (We did visit a few beaches outside of this in 2016: El Capitan, Refugio, Padaro and Carpinteria City Beach.) We didn't venture to Rincon or Gaviota. (Some day after COVID I will go to Gaviota with you Monica!) 

We did try to visit Arroyo Hondo Beach. We followed the directions, but found the path down to the beach too steep for us to go down (also there is a train track crossing as well) so we turned back. It is a fun place to visit to see the old bridge on the southbound 101. 

Train Bridge

Path to the Beach

Arroyo Hondo Beach

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Hot Springs Trail

Hot Springs Trail in Montecito is a local secret (I was born here and just went earlier in the month for the first time). The spring was the source for a resort from 1850-1963 in many forms over the years. The most recent resort was destroyed in the 1964 Coyote Fire and ruins are in the Los Padres National Forest and the area around it is owned by the Santa Barbara Land Trust.  The trail isn't long, but it is quite steep for the littles. The trail is not well marked. Most people go with a local who has been before, but I will try to explain clearly how we went with help from other hikers. Park, hike and swim at your own risk of course.

Directions: Take the 101S to Olive Mill Road. Turn left onto Olive Mill Road which becomes Hot Springs Road. At Mountain Drive, turn left and park in the handful of spaces or safely along the road. 

Head up the path following the signs toward the springs. The trail takes you along Hot Springs Road and crosses the river once before coming to a cross road (sign below) about half a mile in. 

Take the left trail and follow it for about another half mile. You will cross the stream twice.

When you see this sign (below), head across the stream again (left)  and take the path up and around the nearby hill. It will take you away from this stream and to another one nearby. 

You get a lovely view of the ocean on a clear day.

After about .3 miles more, you will come to the hot springs. 

Trail Rating: Difficult for toddlers and kids not used to hiking, Moderate for others
Distance: 1.4 miles to the hot springs, 2.8 round trip 
Time: 1 hour up, 1/2 hour down and time to enjoy the springs
Nearby attractions: Butterfly Beach, Hammonds Beach and Upper Village Shopping and Restaurants

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Hope Ranch Beach

Hope Ranch Beach is a Santa Barbara Beach that is not easy to access unless you are a resident. For residents, it has storage lockers and kayak storage in and around the cabana as well as a lifeguard in summer. Anyone at the beach can use the snack shop, bathrooms and hoses for rinsing sand off. 

Directions: If you a resident of Hope Ranch, you can enter the main entrance on Las Olas. Take the 101S to the La Cumbre exit. Turn right onto Las Palmas Dr. Continue for over 2 miles, then turn right onto Las Olas Dr. 

Directions: For the rest of us, take the 101 to 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. and total about 1.2 miles to Hope Ranch Beach.

This is a clean beach and we saw very little tar.
There are amenities (shop with snacks--candy and chips type-- and bathrooms). 
While it was crowded near the entrance, it was easy to move down the beach for space. 

This beach is a trek for those of us who don't have access through the gate. We ended up walking about 2.5 miles.
The More Mesa steps are steep with a drop off nearby. It will make some people nervous and it isn't great for little kids. 
The More Mesa steps are narrow and it is not easy to socially distance. 
It doesn't seem like parking is easy, even for residents. There is a drop-off point, but no parking just off the beach. 
If you are walking from another beach, you need to check the tides. Hide tide may make the beach inaccessible. 

Hope Ranch to the East (Arroyo Burro)

Hope Ranch Beach to the West (More Mesa)

More Mesa Path

More Mesa Beach Entrance

More Mesa Steps

Hope Ranch Beach Bathrooms

Cabana and Bathrooms

Cabana Storage

Kayak Storage

Snack Shop

Friday, August 21, 2020

Hammond's Beach

Hammond's Beach took us multiple tries to find, but it was a treasure. The quarter mile path to the beach is edged by the gardens from either side and it feels like you are walking through lush gardens to the beach. We encountered many locals with their unleashed dogs walking on the beach but no surfers or boogie boarders.  

Directions:  Take 101S to San Ysidro Rd. Turn right onto Eucalyptus Lane and continue to the end. The parking area for both Hammond's Beach and Miramar Beach is here. 

The path straight down is to Miramar Beach. As you look toward the Miramar Beach path, look just to the right of the gated road (Edgecliff Lane). That is the path you want! Park along Miramar Ave or Humphrey Lane if necessary. (If you don't mind getting wet or it is low tide, you can walk west/to the right from Miramar Beach.) 

Note: Do not Google directions for this beach. Instead, follow the directions for Miramar Beach and follow these directions for finding the path. 

More info 

This was a very clean beach
The gentle waves seem great for the littlest kids. 
We accidentally were there at low tide and the many rocks made it an amazing tide pooling adventure. 

It would be hard to swim or boogie board because of the many rocks on the shore. (We didn't see any surfers here.) 
There are a few spaces at the end of Eucalyptus. Otherwise, you might need to search for parking on Miramar Ave or Humphrey Rd and carry your stuff a lot further.

Hammond's Path to the Right of the Miramar Path

Garden Path

Bench along the Path

Hammond's to the East (Miramar Beach)

Hammond's to the West (Butterfly Beach)

Hammond's Birds

Rocky Beach

Tide Pools in the Rocks

Tide Pools 

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Depressions Beach

One last Isla Vista beach worth mentioning on its own is Depressions Beach. Close to Campus Point, there are a lot of surfers, but closer to the lagoon, there is space to spread out. Getting there involves a walk, but you may have the space to yourself once you get there. To the east is th popular Campus Point Beach and to the West is the Isla Vista beach at El Embarcadero. 

Directions: Take the 101 N to Los Carneros Ave. Turn right onto Los Carneros. Turn left on El Colegio and then right onto Camino Pescadero. Turn left on Del Playa and park wherever there is space closest to the end of Del Playa.

From the east (campus) end of Del Playa, follow the bluff trail a quarter mile to the steps to the beach. Alternately, you can follow the directions to Campus Point Beach and walk around the point to Depressions Beach. This would not work at hide tide without getting wet. More info

There area in front of the lagoon is very calm (but may have stream water coming from the lagoon).
The space near the lagoon is wide, even at high tide and didn't have a lot of people.
The waves are great for boogie boarding towards the point. 
The walk is not too long.

There are no amenities (bathrooms or restaurants) nearby.
The sections closer to the point and El Embarcadero are much narrower at high tide.
There are more people in the narrower section and it is harder to socially distance. 

Bluff Path
Depressions Steps

Depressions Beach to the East (Campus Point)

Depressions Beach to the West (Isla Vista Beaches)

Friday, August 14, 2020

Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach is a pristine beach in front of and near the Rosewood Miramar Resort. The narrow beach has vacation homes and the resort at the back. (We were there at high tide and there was still plenty of beach space.) We encountered some locals and some tourists. 

Directions:  Take 101S to San Ysidro Rd. Turn right onto Eucalyptus Lane and continue to the end. The parking area for both Hammond's Beach and Miramar Beach is here. Continue on the path straight down to Miramar Beach (The path slightly to the right is Hammond's Beach). Park along Miramar Ave or Humphrey Lane if necessary.

More info 

This might be the cleanest beach we have come across
The gentle waves seem great for the littlest kids. 
There were both steps and ramp down to the beach (you could take a wagon down for supplies). 

The gentle waves were not great for boogie boarding. 
There are a few spaces at the end of Eucalyptus (about 8). Otherwise, you might need to search for parking on and carry your stuff a lot further.
There are no bathrooms or amenities. 
This could get very crowded and be hard to socially distance. 

Miramar Parking Lot (Path to the left/straight)

Miramar Beach Path

Miramar Beach to the East (Summerland Beach)

Summerland Beach to the West (Hammond's Beach)

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Friday, August 7, 2020

Isla Vista Beaches

The beach in Isla Vista varies a great deal: crowded or not depending on time of year, time of day and weather; Narrow in some places, wider in others. The entrances are all narrow paths or steps that can make social distancing difficult.  But at the right time, you may have the beach to yourself. Unless you know your specific spot well, we recommend checking the tides first. Some beaches are almost inaccessible at high tide.

We have scouted the entrances and walked along most of the beaches as well as having beach days at a couple locations. Near the Camino Majorca entrance, we were mostly by ourselves with walkers coming by, mostly surfers on their way to Coal Oil Point. On our most recent day, we found a spot below Sea Lookout Park and mostly had the beach to ourselves apart from a noise jet skier.

Directions: Take the 101 N to Los Carneros Ave. Turn right onto Los Carneros. Turn left on El Colegio and then right onto Camino Pescadero. Turn left on Del Playa and park on Del Playa wherever there is space close to the entrance you want to visit. 

If you time it right, you may have the beach to yourself. 
At Sea Look Out Park, we found a cave to explore big enough for us to stand up in.

Parking is always tight in Isla Vista, even in the summer, even during COVID 19. 
There are no bathrooms or food for purchase (IV is close by).
All the entrances have steps down to them. it may be hard to socially distance.
The steps can be underwater (sometimes even at low tide). If you are hauling stuff, it might get wet.
There was a lot of seaweed but we encountered little tar on the days we were there.

Entrances at:

El Embarcadero
The beach is wider on this end but also busier. Park along Del Playa near the entrance at El Embarcadero.
El Embarcadero Path
El Embarcadero Steps

El Embarcadero East

El Embarcadero West

Camino Pescadero 
The path to the beach is along the left side of the park. Park on Del Playa or Camino Pescadero. This section of beach is also wider than Camino del Sur or Sea Lookout Park Beach.

Camino Pescadero Path

Camino Pescadero Steps

Camino Pescadero to the West

Camino Pescadero to the East

Camino del Sur
This entrance is on Del Playa at Camino del Sur. These steps can be covered at high tide. This section of beach is very small especially when the tides are wrong.

Camino del Sur Entrance

Camino del Sur Steps

Camino del Sur to the East

Camino del Sur to the West

Sea Lookout Park (Isla Vista Park Beach)
The entrance here is on Del Playa near Camino Corto. There is a building between Sea Lookout Park and the path. These steps are almost always underwater. This stretch of beach is narrow. Check the tides if you are headed here.

Sea Lookout Path

Sea Lookout Steps (underwater)

Sea Lookout Cave

Sea Lookout East

Sea Lookout West

Camino Majorca
This is the busiest entrance since many surfers going to Coal Oil Point pass through here. Parking is often best on Camino Majorca under the trees. The steps are the hardest place to social distance. One sign indicates that to the left there is a nude beach, but there is no indication of that anywhere else and we didn't encounter anyone less than fully clad. 

Camino Majorca Stairs

Nude Beach to the Left of the Stairs

West of the Camino Majorca Entrance

East of the Camino Majorca Entrance