BEACH WALK INFORMATION
Distance-1 mile east to Corral Beach; 2.5 miles east to El Capitan; 2 miles west to Tajiguas Beach, though accessible only at very low tides
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From Fairview Avenue in Goleta, follow Highway 101 west for 14 miles (22.5 miles from downtown Santa Barbara) to the Refugio turnoff. There is free parking under the freeway and a trail leads you directly into the park. For those who would like to drive into the park, presently there is a daily fee.
Refugio is crowded during the summer months but almost deserted from October through April.
Like El Capitan, Refugio Beach State Park has lots of space for picnicking and playing in the surf, and the water is usually calm, making this a relatively safe place for the kids to play at the ocean’s edge. This is a very nice place to hang out under the umbrella while the kids play in the water, share a barbeque and take a short walk when the urge hits.
To the east it is a mile to Corral Beach which is just long enough to make you feel like you’ve gotten somewhere and not too long for smaller kids. There is a long stretch of sand and then a series of small points which can be very tricky (or fun) to get by when the tide is higher. The return trip via the bike path provides views along the coast which are very nice,
The first half mile of coastline west of Refugio Point is accessible only during lower tides, but there are loads of tide pools to explore at minus tides. There is a dirt path leading from the point for about a mile, providing an enjoyable way to explore this section of the coastline. Eventually you will be able to make your way back down to the beach and continue on in the direction of Tajiguas if you want.