Santa Barbara > Activity Guide > Beaches > El Capitan State Beach

Pros: This is a beautiful beach for those who love beaches.  It's not the biggest in town, but it has plenty of sand, and the level of privacy is delicious.  Since it is away from the city there is a sense of getting away, even though you don't go too far.

The beach is part of a State Park, so there are plenty of facilities.  One of our favorite aspects of this park is how true to Southern California it is in many ways.  There are more live oaks than palm, more chaparral than ice plant.  You might even be able to find some cactus if you looked.  

Cons:  It's on State Park, which means you have to pay a $5 per car entrance fee.  It's good all day or if you go for just 20 minutes.  There's not a lot of "entertainment," as far as volleyball or rollerblading go.  However, if you're looking for swimming, surfing, or sunning, this is the place to go. 

Facilities: Showers and restrooms, picnic tables and grills, a general store on weekends, abundant (paid) parking.

Directions: Take the 101N past Goleta and drive until you reach the El Capitan signs. The road will take you right into the park.  The park is approximately 10 miles out of town.