Horseback riding on the beach is a dream for many and Loon Point Beach on Padaro Lane is one of the very few places on the South Coast where it is allowed. Padaro Lane is a small, affluent community that starts on the eastern edge of Summerland, California (about 7 miles south of Santa Barbara) and ends near the neighboring city of Carpinteria. Summerland is a seaside town offers a village-like feel, with restaurants, antique stores, and even a classic white-colored church. Where Padaro Lane and Summerland meet is an area called Loon Point, that contains estates on high bluffs above Loon Point Beach. There are no facilities at Loon Point Beach but there are portable toilets in the parking area, which is 1,000 feet away from the sand.
- Amenities: Restrooms
- Activities: Beachcombing, Beach Walking, Horseback Riding, Stand-Up Paddleboarding, Sunbathing, Surfing
- Dog Policy: Dogs allowed on leash
The parking area for Loon Point Beach is at the far west end of Padaro Lane where it meets the 101 freeway. Locals know about this out of the way beach, but tourists are more likely to visit the better-known beaches in Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. Once on the beach, and if the tide is cooperating, it is possible to stroll all the way north to Summerland Beach/Lookout Park about a mile away. If you walk south at low tide you will encounter tide pools below Loon Point. It is rocky along the way and usually not passable at higher tides, but if you can get around the first point, this is a great walk. Surfers can be found carving the right break east of Loon Point which is usually accessed from the south side at Santa Claus Beach.
On any given warm day in Summerland, beachgoers fill the Loon Point parking lot and hike along the trail that parallels the train tracks and goes under a bridge, then down a gentle ravine to the sand. It's a popular spot for families because there's free parking, a portable toilet, and lots of room to spread out once they reach the beach. Surfers, fisherman, and horseback riders most definitely enjoy it too.
Horseback riding is allowed year-round at Loon Point Beach. From May 1 to October 31 horses are only allowed on the beach from 8am to 10am and 5pm to sunset. From November 1 to April 30 horses can be on the beach 8am to sunset. Horseback riders should be aware that some people let their dogs off leash at Loon Point Beach, even though it is not allowed, which can create a hazard.
Take the 101 freeway to exit 90 at Padaro Lane and turn toward the ocean. Just a two-tenths of a mile away from the freeway is a parking area on your left marked with a Loon Point Beach parking lot sign. From the parking lot you will walk along a path next to the railroad tracks, under an overpass, and then down a long ramp to the beach. The total walking distance from parking lot to paradise is 1,000 feet.