Sandy beach
Hike-in Required
Snorkeling / SCUBA
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Refugio State Beach is a large and popular beach along the coast north of Santa Barbara and Goleta on Highway 101. The beach is picturesque, family friendly, and has a variety of features and programs that make it a great location for those looking for a scenic beach visit.

The beach itself is a wide, sandy beach, stretching out beneath a line of palm trees dotting the large lawn area that makes up a portion of the day use area. The State Beach shares space with Refugio State Beach Campground, which can see crowds during the summer months as it is frequently at capacity during the peak season. Picnic benches sit beneath trees on the lawn, while tide pools can be found at the northern end of the beach. 

The lawn area also has playground structures, horseshoe pits, and plenty of space for laying out a blanket or getting some energy out of the kids. Modern bathroom buildings have showers available.

Those looking to escape the crowds for a bit can access the Aniso Trail, a multi use cement path that ends at the entrance to the campground on the ocean side of the train bridge and follows the bluffs south from the area with several trails down to more secluded beaches along its route.

While the beach can be a little more quiet during the offseason, from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, visitors can go on free kayak paddles with lifeguards on the open water. The park also has beach wheelchairs available for free to guests who may require a little help accessing the beach.

Day use fees are $10 per vehicle. The state beach is open from 8:00 AM to sunset daily. Dogs are permitted on leash in the day use area, however are not allowed on the beach.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day Use

Open Year-round



Spacious. Plenty of activities offered.


Can get very crowded during the summer months.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions


ADA accessible
Picnic tables
Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Big vistas
Potable water
Tide pools


Nearby Adventures

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California


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