Santa Barbara Harbor is one of the most picturesque boating locations in Southern California. Built in 1929, this 1100-slip harbor has become a popular destination for recreational boaters, fishermen, and tourists alike. Here you will find world-class yachts, commercial fishing boats, and pleasure craft side-by-side. The harbor, Stearns Wharf and nearby State Street provide visitors with a wide variety of services and recreational activities including fine restaurants, wine tasting, gift shops, whale watching, cruises and marine supplies, just to name a few.
Once you walk past the commercial area you encounter a breakwater that runs the length of the Santa Barbara Harbor. The breakwater is intended to prevent waves from damaging boats in the harbor but to the general public it is perfect for strolling on sunny days and warm nights. Incorporating stone brought over from Santa Cruz Island, the breakwater is a smooth path lined with flagpoles and offers great views of the harbor, the city and the Santa Ynez Mountains. During storms it is fun to watch waves crash and splash over it. The there is small beach at the very end called Sandspit Beach that is never crowded, except for the flocks of seagulls and pelicans. Sandspit is the only beach in Santa Barbara with a view of the city and the riviera. Sandspit Beach, also known as Harbor Beach, is one of Santa Barbara's hidden gems.
The Santa Barbara Harbor was built in 1929 and is a popular destination for locals, tourists, recreational boaters, fishermen, and those who live on their boats. The Santa Barbara harbor has about 1,100 marina slips, with a dozen or so reserved for visitors and the rest for long-term occupants.
Max Fleischmann, heir to the Fleischmann's Yeast fortune, donated $600,000 towards the creation of the Santa Barbara harbor because he wanted a safe mooring for his 250 foot yacht. Fleischmann was a major Santa Barbara philanthropist whose generosity also included funding early research by the Sansum Medical Association, making significant contributions to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, establishing the Santa Barbara Foundation, and helping to restore the Santa Barbara Mission after the 1925 earthquake.
Santa Barbara Harbor is managed by the City of Santa Barbara's Waterfront Department. Their mission is to provide the community with a quality Waterfront for recreation and commercial use, along with mooring and landside services for boating. The department oversees the Harbor, Stearns Wharf, parking lots, tidelands, and submerged lands.