Off Highway 217 in Goleta, CA
Take Sandspit Road exit
Santa Barbara County Parks
Park Hours: 8:00 AM to sunset
Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.
Santa Barbara County's Goleta Beach Park encompasses 29 acres around Goleta Beach. A wide sandy beach attracts sun bathers, sand castle architects, beach combers, boogie boarders, and swimmers.
The 1,450-foot Goleta Pier is a favorite spot for local anglers. Boat launching from the pier is available during park hours.
Within walking distance of the University of California Santa Barbara, Goleta Beach attracts many students looking for a tranquil place to relax between studies.
Next to the playground at Goleta Beach Park is a 15-foot tall sculpture known as Windamajig. The structure was created in 1990 by artist George Rhoads. Rhoads has spent more than 30 years designing rolling ball machines and wind sculptures for public and private places.
Windamajig is composed of about 20 cone-shaped pieces attached in small clusters to poles that rotate independently of one another. Propelled by the wind, the cones spin at various speeds, creating a dazzling array of whirling parts.
Read more about George Rhoads' sculptures in Wizard at Work.
Isla Vista Beach is west of Goleta Beach, around the tip of Goleta Point. Adjacent to the beach is 1.4-acre Isla Vista County Park resting on a grassy bluff overlooking the ocean. The park has picnic tables, benches along the edge of the bluff, sandlot volleyball courts, and stairs leading down to the beach.
Farther west along the coast, beyond Coal Oil Point, is Sands Beach, a popular surfing spot for local college students. Find parking near Camino Majorca and Del Playa, then follow a path to Coal Oil Point.
A controversy has arisen in recent years over the Santa Barbara County supervisors' plan to remove some of the long established barriers against erosion at the park, eliminate some parking areas, and relocate some facilities to higher ground.
The supervisors' decision is in alignment with the California Coastal Commissions' policy of Managed Retreat. Proponents of the plan point out that the old rock barriers actually cause sand to be eroded from the beach. The new plan, known as Goleta Beach 2.0, would move sewer lines that are currently in danger of leaking. It would also add improved bicycle access.
In 2013 Santa Barbara County asked for proposals to operate a recreational concession providing standup paddleboard, kayak, surf, boat rental and launch services, bait and tackle and marine education center at Goleta Beach.
California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety