Arroyo Burro Beach

Ray Ford

Arroyo Burro Beach

Arroyo Burro Beach

A beach walker’s paradise.

Distance-1 mile east to Mesa Lane; 3 miles east to Shoreline park; 3 miles west to More Mesa; 6 miles west to Goleta Beach.
Topo- Santa Barbara & Goleta
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From State Street, follow Highway 101 west for 2.8 miles to the Las Positas off ramp. Turn left and drive slightly more than a mile to Cliff Drive. Turn right and look for the park entrance on the left in several hundred yards.

Just having a quaint beachside restaurant at the ocean’s edge makes this beach a nice place to visit. The coastline in either direction provides access to long stretches of relatively deserted beach. At lower tides, the walk either to the marina or Goleta Beach is a pleasant way to spend a few hours on a weekend afternoon. This is considered by many to be Santa Barbara’s best local beach walk.

Some call this area Hendry’s Beach. In the early 1900s the beachfront was owned by the Hendry family. Mistakenly, some have named it “Henry’s Beach,” perhaps hearing the name pronounced too quickly. But since 1947, when the land was purchased for $15,000, it has been known simply as Arroyo Burro Beach for the creek which flows into the ocean here.

Regardless of whether you head east or west you have the choice of two great walks. Heading east on medium or lower tides will allow you to make it all the way to Shoreline Park. A popular loop can be made by walking up the steps (all 241 of them) at Mesa Lane and returning through the Douglas Preserve. If you make the walk in the later afternoon, the walk along the edge of the cliffs through the preserve near sunset is absolutely spectacular.

Heading west leads you along a wide expanse of beach, with plenty of tidepooling at lower tides. There are a series of small points, but mostly what you will encounter for the next three miles to More Mesa are wide beaches, lots of sand and great walking.

I would recommend a shuttle for either of these walks. It is really nice to be able to make the trip all the way either to Shoreline Park or Goleta Beach without having to turn back because of the distance involved.

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