Miramar Beach, made famous by the blue-roof Miramar By The Sea Hotel (now known as Rosewood), is a south-facing cove with a narrow sandy beach that most Santa Barbara visitors don't know about unless they are staying nearby. Casual beach homes, many available for rent, and the Rosewood Miramar Beach luxury resort occupy the land next to the beach. Rosewood Miramar Beach is the only five-star resort directly on the beach in Southern California, situated less than an hour north of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara's affluent Montecito community. The coastal retreat, a few miles south of Santa Barbara, is spread across 15.7 acres of beachfront real estate. Some of its rooms are directly on the sand, a rarity in Southern California; of the hotel's 161 rooms - which include 37 suites - 26 have direct beach access.
- Amenities: No Facilities, Tide Pools
- Activities: Beachcombing, Beach Walking, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Surfing
- Dog Policy: Dogs allowed on leash
For visitors not staying at one of the beachfront properties there are no facilities but there is plenty of sand (in spring/summer/fall), terrific views, and great beach walking. From Miramar Beach you can walk east to Fernald Point Beach and Shark's Cove, or west to Hammond's Beach and Butterfly Beach. When the ocean swells are right surfers can be seen carving waves at Miramar Point, and Hammond's Reef.
The Miramar history began in 1876 when Josiah and Emmeline Doulton purchased the 20 acre ocean front property in Montecito. In 1889 the Doultons built a separate cottage for visiting friends, which soon served to accommodate outside guests. Originally called Ocean View Farm, a guest suggested that the name be changed to "Miramar", meaning "behold the sea." Over the years, the hotel was expanded and by 1910 there were 29 structures on the property. The Depression hurt tycoons and tourists alike, and the Miramar fell into bankruptcy. The Doultons eventually sold the hotel to Paul Gawzner in 1939.
For decades, the Gawzners greeted regulars like William Randolph Hearst, who would stop en route to Hearst Castle. Jane Russell once smashed up her Mercedes outside. Robert Mitchum spent so much time at the bar that he moved up the road. But the Miramar was never so snooty that it wasn't filled with middle-class families who arrived in station wagons. Every May, the hotel would haul out its huge wooden raft and tether it 50 yards offshore, signaling that summer had begun.
Gawzner owned the Miramar until it was sold in 1998. The property was shut down in 2000 and changed hands multiple times, and an entirely new resort, built from the ground up by developer Rick Caruso, opened in 2019.
Take the 101 Freeway to San Ysidro Road and turn toward the ocean. San Ysidro Road becomes Eucalyptus Lane on the ocean side of the freeway bridge. There are public parking spaces in front of the Miramar, next to San Ysidro Road, and along Eucalyptus Lane. If you can't find parking there, try Miramar Avenue and Humphey Road which meet Eucalyptus Lane near the railroad tracks. Continue to the ocean and Miramar Beach will be on your left.