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Santa Barbara's Waterfront - Indian Chief Travel
UNITED STATES  |  Santa Barbara, California Travel Guide
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Santa Barbara's Waterfront

Stearn’s Wharf

Santa Barbara’s waterfront, lying at the foot of the city’s downtown, is a lively strip of activity centered around historic Stearn’s Wharf, the oldest operating wharf on the West Coast. Stearn’s Wharf is actually a three-block-long extension of the city’s main street, State Street, packed with dozens of gift and souvenir shops, kiosks, fish markets, seafood restaurants, and even a Sea Center that boasts outstanding exhibits of Santa Barbara’s marine life, as well as a Nature Conservancy Visitor Center devoted to information on the Channel Islands. The wharf also offers good pier fishing, as well as charter boats for sportfishing farther out at sea.

Santa Barbara Beaches

On either side of Stearn’s Wharf are sandy, palm-fringed beaches: East Beach to the east, along the periphery of which you can enjoy art shows on weekends; and West Beach to the west, at the end of which is a half-mile-long man-made breakwater, enclosing the Santa Barbara Yatcht Harbor. You can stroll down the breakwater and look back toward Santa Barbara to take in vistas of the city against the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, and also, at the head of the yatcht harbor, you can visit the Maritime Museum with exhibits that delve into the history of the Santa Barbara Channel.

West of West Beach lies Leadbetter Beach, a beautiful sandy beach, quite popular with swimmers, surfers and sunbathers, overhung by a cliff-top grassy park, the Shoreline Park, which offers good all-round views.

Two other beaches of note in the area are Carpenteria Beach in the nearby resort town of Carpenteria, just to the east of Santa Barbara, which is really one of the most gorgeous beaches on the south-central coast; and Goleta Beach, just to the southwest of Santa Barbara in Goleta, where you can also check out the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Near the Waterfront

Among attractions near the waterfront are the Moreton Bay Fig on Chapala Street, not far from Stearn’s Wharf, with its amazing, 165-foot branch spread, and which can shade more than 10,000 people at noon; and the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens and adjacent Andree Clark Bird Refuge off Ninos Drive (which in turn goes off E, Cabrillo Boulevard), overlooking the ocean and home to indigenous and exotic birds and animals, and also featuring a petting farm, botanical garden, sealarium and miniature train.

Last updated February 13, 2012
Posted in   United States  |  Santa Barbara
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