Manning Park is a beautiful recreation area in the heart of Montecito. It is a former estate that was donated in 1935 to Santa Barbara County by Dr. and Mrs. J. Manning for the public to enjoy. It is located just a few miles southbound of Santa Barbara. Though Montecito is considered a wealthy community, you don't need a tuxedo or ballroom gown to visit Manning Park. It's a park for everyone.
- Features: Alcohol Allowed, Horseshoe Pits (Upper Manning Park), Parking On Site, Picnic Site, Playground, Popular Event Venue, Reservable Areas, Restrooms, Sports Fields, Tennis Court
- Dog Policy: Dogs Allowed On Leash
Manning Park in Montecito has a diversity of amenities including ball fields, barbeque grills, benches, picnic tables, group picnic areas, horseshoes, playgrounds, restrooms, a tennis court, and a volleyball court. A renovated, historic carriage house is available for use by non-profit community youth groups (reservable in advance, free of charge). The annual Montecito 4th of July parade is held at Manning Park.
Manning Park is divided down the middle by San Ysidro Road. The park on the west side of the road is typically referred to as "Upper Manning Park" while the area on the east side of San Ysidro Road is commonly called "Lower Manning Park."
Lower Manning Park (east side of San Ysidro Road)
The centerpiece of Lower Manning Park is a large green lawn. Next to the lawn are group picnic areas with industrial-sized barbeques, restrooms, a softball backstop, a sand volleyball court, a playground, and a creek that is guaranteed to have pollywogs/tadpoles if there is standing water in it. Lower Manning Park is where you go when you a looking for a playground, or if you feel like throwing a Frisbee or playing sports. Surprisingly the playground at the only park in Montecito is woefully inadequate in a world where Landscape Structures playgrounds are the norm. There aren't many play items in the playground so kids might soon need another form of entertainment.
Upper Manning Park (west side of San Ysidro Road)
Upper Manning Park is itself split into two levels. The upper level of Upper Manning Park is a small sunny lawn with a toddler playground (ages 2-5) over a rubber mat. There are also barbeques, picnic tables, group picnic areas, restrooms, and a tennis court. Oddly, the tennis court is not level which shouldn't matter unless you are training for Wimbledon. The lower level of Upper Manning Park includes a large lawn dotted with pines that some say resemble giant Christmas trees. The lower lawn is a great area to relax in the shade on a sunny day but not so great for high energy recreation. In a valley next to the lower lawn of Upper Manning Park there are barbeques and picnic tables. Upper Manning Park is home to the Manning Park Youth Center, more commonly called the Scout House, which is used by local Boy Scouts Troop 33.
From the 101 freeway in Montecito, exit at San Ysidro Road and go north toward the mountains about a mile.
Lower Manning Park: When you see Montecito Union Elementary School on your left you will see encounter Santa Rosa Lane on your right. Turn right on Santa Rosa Lane and then make a quick left into the Lower Manning Park parking area
Upper Manning Park: Once you pass Montecito Union School and the large grass terraces/sports fields you will see a tennis court on your left. Just past the tennis court is the entrance to Upper Manning Park. At first it may appear that there is no parking but there are parking areas deeper inside, after you cross a bridge. If the parking lots are full you can try parking on School House Road just south of the tennis court.