Visitor center: A tourist center with information about lodging, recreational opportunities, and tours is at the corner of East Cabrillo Boulevard and Garden Street.
Trailhead: West end: Santa Barbara Harbor parking lot. East end: Andree Clark Bird Refuge parking lot at Los Patos Way.
Length: 2-4 total miles
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Typical Grade: Level
DescriptionFor a good workout or leisurely stroll filled with numerous diversions, begin your trip at Santa Barbara Harbor's main parking lot, just off Harbor Way, and follow the beachway east to Andree Clark Bird Refuge. Be prepared to share the trail with joggers, strollers, and bicyclists, and even wide surrey bikes. Striped lanes help to keep everyone in line. At the harbor, the trail briefly cuts inland toward Cabrillo Boulevard, past a swim center and small inaccessible play area. Continue along Cabrillo Boulevard for a few hundred yards as it travels along the back of West Beach, starting at Bath Street. A five-inch drop onto the sand impedes access to the beach, but you can watch a beach volleyball game as you stroll toward Stearns Wharf at the foot of State Street. Here you can hop on an accessible electric shuttle for a side trip downtown along State Street, a dense shopping and restaurant district, or explore the very bumpy wharf, which also has some shops, restaurants, and the Ty Warner Sea Center, an interactive marine education facility.
Just past Stearns Wharf is Skater’s Point, a 14,600-square-foot skateboard park, and an expansive palm-studded grassy area. At Milpas Street you can either cross Cabrillo Boulevard and continue on the bike path toward the Santa Barbara Zoo, a few hundred feet down Los Ninos, or detour to the end of East Beach and stop at the Cabrillo Pavilion Bathhouse, built in 1927, for a snack on the oceanfront patio. Past the zoo, where the Andree Clark Bird Refuge begins, be sure to look over your shoulder, as you will likely catch a glimpse of a giraffe towering high on the hilltop. Follow the path as it travels along the southern edge of the refuge, turning left at Los Patos to reach the refuge trail and the end of the accessible portion of the beachway.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Beach Wheelchair: YesAvailable from the Adapted Programs division of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation, in the Cabrillo Bathhouse at East Beach. They can be reserved Mon.-Fri., 8 am-5 pm, weekends 11 am-4 pm; call (805) 564-5421. If you have a secured way to transport a chair, you can take one to other nearby beaches.
Accessible Parking: YesAt Santa Barbara Harbor and Andree Clark Bird Refuge lot at Los Patos Way; several public lots are along Cabrillo Boulevard
Accessible Restroom: YesThe most accessible restrooms are at Chase Palm Park, Cabrillo Bathhouse, Stearns Wharf, the Maritime Museum, and behind the visitor center.
Features icon key
- Beach Wheelchairs Available
- particularly good for families
Reviewed by Bonnie Lewkowicz, September 16, 2008
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