Santa Barbara > Activity Guide > Santa Barbara Parks

Santa Barbara is blessed with many parks and wonderful natural places.  Although the entire metro area has around 150,000 people in a strip of land three miles wide and 35 miles long, the abundance of parks give the city a green and wild look despite its dense population.


Alameda Park - 1400 Santa Barbara Street
A wonderful family oriented picnic and playground spot that hosts the 8,000 square foot Kids Zone playground.  Close to downtown and the Alice Keck Gardens, you are can usually find plenty of parking and a picnic table if you come early.  Don't expect sunbathing here though.  Trees provide plenty of shade for long hours playground fun.

Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden - Corner of Santa Barbara and Arrellaga
This park is one of our favorites.  The beautiful landscaping, pond stocked with coy and turtles make is perfect for a simple stroll through unique low-water gardens or a picnic on the rolling lawns.  This is a haunt for wedding parties and their photographers.  
Chase Palm Park - E. Cabrillo Blvd. next to and across from East Beach
An outdoor music pavilions, carrousel, children's playground and ambling, streamside walks give Chase Palm Park a unique charm.  Almost any night of the week and all weekend there will be some sort of musical, sporting or picnicking activity going on.
Douglas Family Preserve - End of Linda Street on the Mesa
This park is fairly undeveloped with no restroom or picnic facilities. It is a prime place for walking humans and dogs (who can go without a leash) along the bluffs overlooking the ocean.  
Elings Park - 1298 Las Positas Road
This park boasts 230 acres - 135 of which are undeveloped - 3 lighted fields,  jogging/hiking trails, playgrounds, restrooms, barbeque facilities, picnic tables and hang-gliding.  There are wonderful views of the ocean and the city, as well as group picnic areas (which will need reservations).  There is usually plenty of parking.
Franceschi Park - 1501 Franceschi Road
Wonderful views and unique plants make this park on of the city's treasures.  The Franceschi mansion is still on the property.  Walking paths, picnic tables and scenic overviews lend an aura of sophistication and grace.
Lake Los Carneros - Los Carneros and Calle Real, Goleta
This wonderful park is a unique combination of history and rustic charm.  On the grounds you will find Stow House, the Southcoast Railroad Museum, and a 25-acre lake that has a walkway all around it.  This hidden treasure is absolutely wonderful and worth a visit.
Mission Rose Garden - Los Olivos and Laguna Streets
Directly across from the Mission, this park offers over a thousand different varieties of well-tended roses, a bubbling fountain and exquisite views of the mountains and city.  There is also a large grassy area perfect for lounging in the sun or tossing a Frisbee.  The surrounding homes are of historical importance - meaning most of them are real Spanish colonial, not neo-colonial - and give the area a distinctly authentic feel.
Oak Park - 300 W. Alamar Avenue
Oaks and sycamores provide plenty of leafy shade to the location of many of the cities ethnic celebrations.  During the summer the dancing platform hosting evening gatherings and lessons.  There is a small wading pool and plenty of picnic facilities.
Orpet Park - Almeda Padre Serra and Moreno Road
A hidden local treasure, this park is on the Riviera - guaranteeing an excellent view.  The unique plants and trees offer an exotic break from the norm as well as an excellent chance to see unusual birds during migrations.  You need to park on the street and walk.
Parma Park - the Foothills
This enormous park is perfect for hikers, bikers and dog walkers. It is very rustic and not for the faint of heart, but if you're into authentic California vegetation, freedom from highway noise and fresh air, this is the perfect place for you.
Rocky Nook Park - 610 Mission Canyon Road
This 19-acre park is more rustic than most.  Trees, boulders, and a stream make this park perfect for quiet picnics and afternoon strolls.  Also a good place for birding.  There are facilities for large group picnics, a small playground and restrooms.
Tuckers Grove - 805 San Antonio Creek Road at Cathedral Oaks
Officially named San Antonio Canyon Park, this park provides large groups with plenty of picnic and parking space.  Large open spaces, room for up to 400, playgrounds, volleyball, horseshoe pits, and restrooms make this a favorite for company outings.
Shoreline Park - Shoreline Drive and la Marina
This long, narrow ocean-side park offers fabulous views of the harbor, the Islands and the mountains.  Scattered parking and picnic facilities, as well as a small playground, make this a popular spot for family gatherings.  This is a great park for walking, skating and playing Frisbee.  Follow the narrow wooden stairs to the beach below and discover a local secret - a beach and tidal pool area (when the tide is low) that is both private and beautiful.  You will often see three dolphins skimming the surface off this park.  Stand by the bronze whale tale and gaze through the binoculars and you might even see a whale.
Stow Grove Park - 580 La Patera Lane, Goleta
Redwood trees, sycamores, oaks and eucalyptus provide plenty of shade for this popular picnic park.  Many company outings are planned for the group picnic areas where volleyball courts, a baseball diamond, horseshoe pits and a children's playground provide plenty to keep everybody busy.