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The 3 Best Places for Paddleboarding (SUP) & Kayaking in Santa Barbara

Paddleboarding and kayaking in Santa Barbara is one of the best ways to see the beautiful coastline. The ocean is right there waiting for you to explore, so what are you waiting for? Here are some of our favorite places to paddleboard and kayak in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Harbor/West Beach

Located at the harbor, this beach is a great spot for paddleboarding and kayaking. It's also a great place to start if you're looking to learn how to paddleboard or kayak! There are some breaks in the harbor that make it easy for beginners to get out onto water without having too much difficulty. You can bring your own board or rent one right on West Beach or within the harbor. You can also launch your craft at the boat ramp located in the harbor and paddle through the boat lanes while checking out some yachts and sailboats. With time to get your sea legs on, you can then exit the harbor right into the open ocean where there are typically calmer breaks. There is also a strip of beach called "The Sandspit," where you can easily take a break. TIP: Look for dolphins cruising through the harbor in the early mornings!

Leadbetter Beach

Leadbetter Beach is an amazing place for paddleboarding SUP & kayaking in Santa Barbara. It's located at the south end of Cabrillo Boulevard and has easy access from the highway, as it's just a short walk/drive from downtown Santa Barbara. There are also plenty of parking spaces available, so you don't have to worry about finding a spot when your friends come to visit!

This beach offers not only excellent SUP and kayaking, but also swimming and other activities like surfing. This location is where aquatic lessons like swimming and surf ing are given due to the calm waters. The facilities include restrooms with showers, as well as picnic tables where you can sit down and enjoy some snacks after spending some time out in nature (or maybe just before going back home).

santa barbara beach map

Goleta Beach County Park

Up the coast a bit( off the map), Goleta Beach County Park is located at the end of Hollister Avenue, which is off Highway 101 on the westside of Santa Barbara. Goleta Beach has a nice sandy beach where you can relax and enjoy yourself while watching others play in the ocean or paddleboard and kayak. The shoreline is relatively shallow so that if you fall out on your paddleboard or kayak, you won’t get hurt too badly. While there aren’t always lifeguards present at Goleta Beach County Park, there are life jackets available to borrow if needed. If this sounds like a good time then head over to Goleta Beach County Park!

Takeaway: Paddleboarding (SUP) & Kayaking in Santa Barbara

In summary, if you're looking for an adventure-packed weekend with your friends and family, paddleboarding is a great option. It's easy to learn, fun to do and can be enjoyed by all ages! If you're planning on checking it out, we recommend these locations:

  • Goleta Beach

  • Leadbetter Beach

  • Santa Barbara Harbor/West Beach

The best time of year to visit would be summer and fall when it's not too cold and you can enjoy being on the water all day long. The best time of day is early in the morning when waters are calm and there aren't as many people around and no traffic jams or crowds getting in your way while practicing yoga poses on top of your paddleboard! You might get the chance to see some dolphins up close as well.

The Santa Barbara area is a great place to paddle board and kayak. There are tons of spots to choose from and we’ve listed some of our favorites above. Hopefully now you have an idea of where you want to go next time you hit the water!


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