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11 Spectacular Beaches near Solvang, CA (within 1 hour)

Each beach near Solvang offers its own unique allure, showcasing picturesque landscapes, remarkable views, and diverse wildlife. 
Refugio State Beach in California

The sun-drenched coastline near Solvang, hosts an array of spectacular beaches, from the famed shores of Santa Barbara to hidden gems along the iconic Highway 101. 

Each location offers its own unique allure, showcasing picturesque landscapes, remarkable views, and diverse wildlife. 

Surfing, beachcombing, and camping are just a few activities that these beaches offer.

Discover what Solvang has to offer!

1. Gaviota State Park Beach

Railroad track bridge at Gaviota Beach on the central coast of California United States
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Solvang: 15 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, hiking, surfing, camping
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic spots, parking, trails, campground, hot springs

Tucked away 15 miles south of Solvang, the Gaviota State Park Beach once enjoyed cinematic fame, serving as a film location for the Oscar-nominated movie “Sideways.” 

This gem of a beach offered adventurous souls a host of activities from surfing, swimming, and fishing, to invigorating hikes to the Gaviota Hot Springs. 

Quirkily, beach access required a stroll under a towering train trestle. 

Visitors often sought solace in the park’s vast oak woodland and chaparral backcountry, while the 41 campsites beckoned those who wished to extend their stay. 

Despite its rich offering and picturesque vistas, as of summer 2023, the state park is temporarily closed due to storm damage. 

Patrons eagerly anticipate the reopening of this treasured spot, poised to create more memorable moments amid nature’s grandeur.

2. Refugio State Beach

Refugio State Beach on the Gaviota Coast in Goleta, Santa Barbara County, California
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Solvang: 24 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, hiking, biking, surfing, camping
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic spots, parking, trails, campground

Refugio State Beach, nestled on the scenic Highway 101, invites visitors to its distinctive palm tree-lined coastline. 

Providing an unrivaled ambiance for tranquil picnics and invigorating coastal fishing, Refugio is also a gateway to memorable kayaking experiences. 

Its calm, crystal-clear waters present unobstructed views of the Channel Islands, and if you’re lucky, a glimpse of the area’s sea lions, seals, and dolphins. 

For land lovers, the paved Ansio Trail offers hiking or biking over a 5.2-mile stretch. 

The beach also houses 66 campsites, each well-equipped with a picnic table and barbecue pit. 

Please note that while the ambiance is perfect for RV camping, there are no RV hookups. 

As the sun sets, Refugio State Beach casts a magic spell, promising a retreat like no other.

3. Arroyo Quemada Beach

An ocean sunset at low tide in Santa Barbara, California.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Solvang: 26 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, beachcombing
  • Facilities: none

Arroyo Quemada Beach, situated between popular Refugio Beach and El Capitan Beach, is an under-the-radar coastal treasure. 

This public beach is tucked away southeast of a quaint gated community, Arroyo Quemada, standing as an exemplar of natural, undeveloped beauty. 

Visitors find solace in its remoteness, though it’s a narrow stretch of sand, only accessible at low tide. 

Despite its seclusion, it’s rarely crowded due to its tide-dependent accessibility. 

Its main allure lies in its unique rock formations and intriguing tide pools that reveal themselves at low tide. 

Amenities may be sparse, with no facilities, but the experience of beach walking here is unparalleled. 

If you seek an untouched slice of coastal paradise, Arroyo Quemada Beach is a hidden gem worth discovering.

4. El Capitán State Beach

High Dynamic range image of a sunset at El Capitan state beach with a strolling couple at a distance.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Solvang: 27 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, hiking, biking, surfing, camping, beachcombing
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic spots, parking, trails, campground

El Capitán State Beach, 27 miles from Solvang, offers a scenic blend of sandy shores, rocky tide pools, and lush groves of sycamore and oaks. 

With its tranquil setting, this beach is a haven for camping, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and other outdoor activities. 

Each Autumn, the beach is invaded by a fluttering spectacle as Monarch butterflies gather to breed, an enchanting sight not to be missed. 

A wide array of amenities such as restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and a general store, ensure a comfortable visit. 

Adventure seekers can surf, swim, fish, or hike along picturesque trails. 

The beach’s beauty is enhanced by the beach wheelchairs, making it accessible to everyone. 

El Capitán, with its multitude of offerings and activities, makes for an exciting escape, imbued with nature’s charm.

5. Haskell’s Beach

Haskell's Beach California during Twilight
Source: flickr/CC BY 2.0
  • Distance from Solvang: 34 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, bodyboarding
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic spots, parking

Tucked away at the base of the Bacara Resort in western Goleta, Haskell’s Beach is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. 

Open for public use, this tranquil beach comes equipped with restrooms, showers, and a shaded alcove, housed in the charming “Beach House.” 

A well-maintained park area, adorned with picnic tables and verdant grass, sets the stage for laid-back picnics. 

Though the beach narrows at high tide, it offers ample room for sunbathing, bodyboarding, and beach walks at other times. 

Walk north to Naples Point or south towards Ellwood Beach for a scenic stroll. 

While surfing at Haskell’s may bring modest waves, the beach’s history and peaceful atmosphere make it a must-visit spot for those looking to unwind and soak in the coastal beauty.

6. Sands Beach

  • Distance from Solvang: 37 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, surfing, hiking
  • Facilities: restrooms, picnic spots, trails

Situated near the University of California Santa Barbara, Sands Beach at Coal Oil Point is a local treasure. 

A haven for nature lovers, this beach offers up-close encounters with tide pools at Coal Oil Point and a glimpse of the endangered Snowy Plover in the fenced-off dunes. 

Though facilities are minimal, the beach boasts a portable toilet and myriad trails for hiking enthusiasts. 

Its location at the mouth of the Devereux Slough Lagoon makes it a popular spot for beach walking. 

Surfing is a favorite pastime, with the sand bars offering consistent breaks for local surfers, particularly in winter and spring. 

Sands Beach may be a little off the beaten path, but its unique blend of nature and outdoor activities makes it an appealing choice for an active day out.

7. Campus Point Beach

Campus Point Beach in Isla Vista
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Solvang: 35 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, surfing, hiking
  • Facilities: restrooms, trails, overlooks

Goleta Point, or Campus Point as it’s known locally, is the vibrant surfing hub at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

This spot is a magnet for budding surfers thanks to the gentle surf break. 

As well as surfing, visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, sunbathing, and exploring the tide pools. 

Campus Point Beach, present during low tide, is a sun-drenched retreat, offering respite in the afternoons when the bluffs cast long shadows. 

Kids and families can enjoy a sheltered, ‘secret’ spot beneath the cliffs. 

Campus Point is not just about the surf and sand; the Labyrinth Trail leads to breathtaking panoramic views of the Santa Barbara/Goleta area. 

The beach also features convenient restrooms and intriguing tide pools, making it a comprehensive and family-friendly destination.

Note that parking is sparse and paid at this beach.

8. Goleta Beach Park 

Goleta Beach Park, Santa Barbara, California. Taken from the pier, the palm trees and shore are visible along with the Beachside Bar Cafe
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Solvang: 35 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, paddleboarding, volleyball
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, playgrounds, volleyball nets, pier, rentals, concessions

Goleta Beach Park is a coastal gem situated next to the Santa Barbara Airport and is reputedly the busiest beach in the county. 

It offers an engaging mix of amenities and activities for all visitors. 

Its long sandy beach borders a generous 29-acre grassy park, making it an ideal spot for picnics with numerous grills and picnic tables available. 

Active beachgoers can enjoy biking along a scenic path leading to Santa Barbara, and water enthusiasts can take advantage of the public boat launch on weekends. 

Other beachside attractions include fishing at the 1,500 ft. Goleta Pier and watersports such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. 

The park also features a children’s play area, volleyball courts, and the Beachside Bar Cafe for refreshments, ensuring a fun-filled visit for everyone.

9. Arroyo Burro County Beach Park

Beautiful sandy coastline in Hendry`s beach California
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Solvang: 33 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, paddleboarding, beachcombing, surfing
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, restaurant, off-leash dog area, free parking

Arroyo Burro County Beach Park, also known as Hendry’s Beach, is a jewel located just 33 miles from Solvang. 

This sprawling beach features a wealth of activities for visitors, from swimming and surfing to fishing and stand-up paddleboarding. 

Rich in shells and colorful pebbles, this shoreline is a fun spot for treasure hunters.

The beach is also a haven for dogs, with designated off-leash areas and a self-service washing station. 

Amenities include ample free parking, public restrooms with outdoor showers, a picnic area with BBQ grills, and an educational Watershed Resource Center. 

Visitors can also enjoy ocean-front dining at the Boathouse restaurant, making Arroyo Burro Beach a must-visit destination for a relaxing day by the sea.

10. Leadbetter Beach Park

Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Solvang: 35 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, lifeguards, concessions

Santa Barbara’s Leadbetter Beach Park, neighboring the city harbor, is a bustling beach known for its lively atmosphere. 

With a lengthy stretch of sand fringed by verdant grass, it’s a sought-after destination for both locals and tourists. 

Novice surfers and paddleboarders can enjoy the usually gentle surf, while other visitors relax in the sun or engage in kitesurfing and windsurfing. 

As one of the city’s busiest beaches, it offers a host of amenities including outdoor showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and BBQ grills. 

The nearby Shoreline Beach Cafe ensures visitors won’t go hungry. 

Although this beach buzzes with activity, low tide brings the opportunity for quiet exploration around the point. 

Boasting beautiful Pacific vistas, Leadbetter Beach Park truly captures the vibrant essence of Santa Barbara.

11. Jalama Beach Park

Jalama Beach County Park, United States
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Solvang: 40 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnics, surfing, windsurfing, beachcombing, hiking, camping
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, cabins, campground, concessions

Located 30 miles west of Solvang, Jalama Beach Park and Campground provides a unique escape where visitors can fully connect with nature. 

This serene destination in Santa Barbara County is renowned for over 100 beachfront campsites and seven cozy cabins offering spectacular ocean views. 

Whether you fancy sleeping under the stars or prefer the comfort of glamping, Jalama has got you covered. 

Adventure seekers can indulge in surfing, windsurfing and fishing, while whale watching and bird watching cater to nature enthusiasts. 

The Jalama Beach Store and Grill provides campers with all essentials and also serves the famous “Jalama Burger.” 

Tacked away at the land’s end and away from civilization, Jalama Beach Park is an oasis of beach recreation.

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