This is one of the busiest beaches in town. A long strip of sand flanked by green grass at the base of Santa Barbara City College - who needs to wonder why? The 17 acre Leadbetter Beach Park is in the city just west of the Santa Barbara Harbor and offers all the amenities including hot coal-disposal receptacles for barbecues. The Shoreline Beach Cafe offers diners tables on a covered patio or even in the sand. Outdoor showers, restrooms, a grassy picnic area combine to make this a mecca for the young and active. The normally light surf draws beginning surfers, windsurfers, paddleborders, and sailboats. A favorite part is at low tide you can walk around the point to a wonderfully private, isolated strip of beach. This beach has lots of activity much of the year. If you're seeking privacy, forget it (unless it's low tide and you can slip around the point...)
- Features: Alcohol Allowed With Permit (but not on the beach at all), Beach, Biking, Parking On Site, Picnic Site, Reservable Areas, Restaurant, Restrooms
- Dog Policy: Dogs Not Allowed
Leadbetter is an artificial beach, built by accident. When Santa Barbara Harbor was built, it blocked the downshore current, holding up the natural sand flow. The college is built on the original coastline's front cliffs, now about 30 yards off-shore; the original beachfront lies where the current SBCC football field is located. The blocking of sand from downshore cities prompted several lawsuits against Santa Barbara.
Portable barbecues and camp stoves that are self-contained, enclosed with a lid, and raised at least six inches off a surface may be used on any permanent picnic tables at this park or by permit such as a rental or special event. If there are no permanent picnic tables available at this park and it is not a permitted event then no barbecues are allowed at this park. Barbecue users must remove hot coals and ash from the park, unless a hot coal-disposal receptacle is provided.
From the 101 Freeway northbound exit Garden Street and from 101 Freeway southbound exit Castillo Street. Turn south towards the ocean. Turn right on Cabrillo Blvd. After you have passed the Santa Barbara Harbor, Leadbetter will be on your left. There are a few 90-minute free parking spots but mostly it is paid parking.