Leadbetter Beach Activities

Santa Barbara, California

Nearby Activities and Events

Amgen Tour of California

May 14, 2018
Stage 2 finsihes on Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara
Amgen Tour of California

Santa Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation

Santa Barbara Harbor, CA
After school and summer sailing programs for youths
Santa Barbara Youth Sailing Foundation

Condor Express
Whale Watching

301 W. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA
Cruise the Santa Barbara Channel in the 75' Condor Express Catamaran. View whales, dolphins, and other sea life.
(805) 882-0088
Condor Express

Summer Solstice Celebration

Alameda Park, Santa Barbara, CA
June TBA, 2018
Saturday Parade draws crowds of spectators to view floats, giant puppets, whimsical costume and masks. Dancing and music.
Summer Solstice Celebration

Aquasports Kayaking Trips

Professionally guided and outfitted Channel Islands kayaking adventures
Explore island sea caves
No experience required
Aquasports Kayaking Trips

Cachuma Lake

Highway 154, 25 miles north of Santa Barbara
Boating, fishing, camping
Cachuma Lake

Books of
Local Interest

Leadbetter Beach Activities

Locals and tourists alike flock to Leadbetter Beach, right in the heart of Santa Barbara. The long, wide arc of sand provides plenty of room for visitors to spread out and find their space. Picnickers like the view from the picnic tables along the edge of the sand. Families appreciate the lifeguards on duty during the peak season.
Leadbetter Beach Webcam

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

Catching the Leadbetter Wind

A steady wind makes Leadbetter Beach a favorite launching spot of water craft with sails. Catamarans line the beach along the Harbor West parking lot. A permit is required from the city to place a boat there on what is called Catamaran Beach. Windsurfers and kiteboarders put on shows for the beach visitors.


Leadbetter Beach is rated for intermediate and advanced kiteboarders. Beginners are advised to learn their skills at nearby East beach. A swim zone, marked by buoys, is for launching and landing only. Kiteboarders hold back on Wet Wednesdays after 5:30 PM when the Santa Barbara Yacht Club kicks off its racing week with more than 60 boats out on the water and Nite Moves is holding its running and swimming events.

Fishing from Leadbetter Beach to
Arroyo Burro Beach

Anglers have good luck at Leadbetter casting for perch, calico bass, corbina, and an occasional halibut. Because of the gentle surf here, many fish from kayaks or float tubes. At Arroyo Burro Beach expect bigger waves. Surf fishing is most common for barred surf perch and perhaps some corbina. Some fishermen wait for the lowest of tides to work their way out to rocky areas where they hope for rockfish and cabezon.

Birding at Arroyo Burro Beach

Birders will find a variety of species around the beach, along the Arroyo Burro Estuary and Mesa Creek, and up in the Douglas Preserve. If you arrive at low tide you will be able to watch birds feeding from the tide pools. Shore birds can often be seen picking insects from the kelp that washes up on shore. Among the shore birds you are apt to see are sanderlings, sandpipers, and gulls.

Back along the estuary watch for snowy egrets and great blue herons. In the uplands keep your eyes open for Allen's hummingbirds, canyon wrens, northern waterthrushes, California towhees, and Steller's Jays.

Arroyo Burro Beach, Santa Barbara County, CA

Arroyo Burro Beach

Nite Moves Summer Sunset Series

Every Wednesday night from May through August, swimming, running and biathlon events are held on Leadbetter Beach. With the Wet Wednesday sailing races in action on the water, participants in Nite Moves enjoy a featured buffet host and local entertainment.

Registration opens at 5:00 PM, The swim begins at 6:25 PM and the 5K run starts at 6:35 PM. There is also a kids' 1 mile run. Entertainment, refreshments, and the Beer Garden open at 6:35 PM.
Fees: $25 per night or $269 for the season
Run Santa Barbara - Nite Moves

kiteboarder, CA

Kayaking the Santa Barbara Coast

With the gentle surf at Leadbetter Beach, it is a convenient place to launch kayaks and set out to explore the Santa Barbara coast.

Paddle Sports Center

Santa Barbara Harbor
117 B Harbor Way
Single and tandem kayak rentals, stand-up paddleboard rentals, wetsuits, surf boards, boogie boards
Open 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM in the summer, shorter hours the rest of the year
Paddle Sports Center

Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Kayaking tours around Santa Barbara Harbor, Refugio Beach, Fun Paddles along Santa Barbara shoreline and Sunset tours of the harbor.
Santa Barbara Adventure Company

map of Arroyo Burro Beach and Douglas Preserve, Santa Barbara, CA

Arroyo Burro Beach

Hiking Trails

Taking advantage of the 70-acre Douglas Preserve next to Arroyo Burro Beach (Hendry's Beach), hikers have a nice selection of trails to explore, many with views of the ocean.

One popular route begins on the beach near the Arroyo Burro Estuary. Head up to the parking lot and the Mesa Creek restoration area and cross the bridge leading to the Douglas Family Preserve via the Oak Grove Trail. The trail loops through the preserve, giving hikers wonderful views of the ocean and the Channel Islands. Some hikers like to cut over to Mesa Lane and use the steps there to include a long stroll on the beach as part of their loop.

Hang Gliding and Paragliding at the Douglas Preserve

A launch site for hang gliders and paragliders is located on the bluff in the Douglas Preserve overlooking Arroyo Burro Beach. Pilots who launch from there must have a minimum H4 or P4 USHPA rating. H3 and P3 pilots will need a signed permission to fly there from a local advanced instructor. Membership in the Santa Barbara Soaring Association (or a $5 daily fee) is required to fly in Santa Barbara. Check the SBSA website for complete guidelines for flying at the Douglas Preserve (aka Wilcox).

hang glider, CA

Hang gliders launch from the bluff in the Douglas Preserve, overlooking Arroyo Burro Beach

Boathouse Restaurant at Hendry's Beach

The Boathouse Restaurant is located right on the edge of the beach. It has outdoor patio dining as well as indoor. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a brunch on the weekends. Generally they open at 7:30 AM.
Boathouse at Hendry's Beach

Horseback Riding

Arroyo Burro Beach is closed to horseback riding from May 1 to November 1 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Arroyo Burro Beach, CA

Southern section of Arroyo Burro Beach

Ocean Safety

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

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