11 Best Beach Resorts in Santa Barbara, CA

Written by Karen Hastings
Updated Feb 15, 2022
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Santa Barbara has been a popular place to visit for a beach vacation since the late 1800s. The warm Southern California sunshine and stunning setting between the mountains and the sea lured famous guests, such as the Rockefellers and du Ponts, who came to be pampered at the palatial Potter Hotel on the waterfront at the turn of the 20th century.

Today, the legendary Potter Hotel no longer stands, but you can still come to bask at Santa Barbara's glamorous beach resorts, from the upscale enclave of Montecito in the south to the rugged ocean bluffs of Goleta in the north.

Most of Santa Barbara's beach resorts cluster along Cabrillo Boulevard, right near downtown. This means you'll be near some of the city's top tourist attractions, and if you're traveling with a family, you'll find plenty of kid-friendly adventures nearby. Stearns Wharf sits center stage here, with palm-lined beaches and the Cabrillo bike path stretching in either direction, and the fabulous shops, galleries, and restaurants of State Street and the Funk Zone are a short stroll away.

Whether you're looking for high-end hospitality or an affordable home-away-from-home, find the ideal place to stay with our list of Santa Barbara's best beach resorts.

1. Rosewood Miramar Beach

Photo Source: Rosewood Miramar Beach
Photo Source: Rosewood Miramar Beach

Accommodation: Rosewood Miramar Beach

The magnificent Rosewood Miramar Beach is one of the only true beachfront resorts in Santa Barbara. Opened in early 2019, it sits on 16 palm-studded acres overlooking one of Santa Barbara's best beaches, beautiful Miramar Beach in Montecito.

Exuding the ambience of a luxury beachfront estate, this is a top choice for celebrities, and with the spectacular views, 5-star service, and sumptuous guest rooms, it's easy to see why.

Stylish beach chic sets the tone in the interior, with chandeliers, white marble, and a sweeping staircase gracing the lobby.

Dining is a treat. For fine dining, head to Caruso's, where you can feast on Southern Italian-inspired fare perched over the Pacific shores. For a more casual feel opt for locally sourced California cuisine at The Revere Room.

The 124 guest rooms and 36 suites are equally impressive. Serene shades of cream and pops of blue echo the Pacific Ocean views, and rooms come with Nespresso coffee makers, designer bathrooms with freestanding tubs, and furnished terraces or patios with garden or ocean views. For the ultimate in nighttime luxury, book a Bryte Sleep Suite. These feature Bryte Restorative Beds, which use Circadian Climate technology to customize individual heating and cooling according to your preferences and sleep profile.

Topping the list of things to do here are swanning around in the sprawling pools, ocean adventures, bocce ball, yoga, and basking on the beautiful beach. Craving some pampering? Sense, A Rosewood Spa awaits with sensuous treatments concocted with indigenous ingredients.

Kids will find plenty to keep them happy here, and pets are pampered, too. Customized pet menus and exclusive products are some of the perks for Fido – not to mention that glorious beach!

When it comes to luxurious Santa Barbara resorts on the beach, Rosewood Miramar can't be beat.

Address: 1759 S Jameson Lane, Montecito, California

2. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Photo Source: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
Photo Source: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Accommodation: The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Perched atop an ocean bluff, about 13 miles from downtown Santa Barbara, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is one of the area's few true oceanfront resorts. Technically, it's in the city of Goleta in Santa Barbara County, but it's only a five-minute drive from the Santa Barbara airport.

The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is an excellent choice for golfers, as well as beach lovers, as it lies adjacent to Sandpiper Golf Club.

Evoking the feel of a Spanish village, this sprawling five-star resort spans 72 oceanfront acres, punctuated by palms, splashing fountains, and three saline infinity pools.

The Spanish-Colonial-style guest rooms and suites occupy one-, two-, and three-story white-washed villas. They feature plush amenities, such as four-poster beds cloaked in crisp linens; private patios or balconies with garden, mountain, or sea views; deep tubs; and marble showers. Some suites add fireplaces that you can cozy up to in the winter.

Dining is also a highlight at the resort's main restaurant, Angel Oak, with steak, seafood, and locally sourced produce.

If the sea views and soothing ocean sounds aren't relaxing enough, you can enjoy a pampering treatment at the spa, a multi-level pleasure palace with more than 60 treatments, an adults-only pool, redwood sauna, and eucalyptus steam room.

Active guests will appreciate the four har-tru clay tennis courts and fully equipped fitness center, and the resort also offers complimentary yoga and Pilates classes.

Kids are catered to here as well, and you can bring your pooch for an extra fee.

Address: 8301 Hollister Avenue, Goleta, California

3. Santa Barbara Inn

Photo Source: Santa Barbara Inn
Photo Source: Santa Barbara Inn

Accommodation: Santa Barbara Inn

The boutique Santa Barbara Inn enjoys a superb location on the Santa Barbara waterfront, a short stroll from Stearns Wharf. It offers excellent value, with bright, spacious rooms and warm hospitality.

Domes and towers cap the elegant Spanish-style buildings, and guests enjoy spectacular views across Cabrillo Boulevard to East Beach. Staying here also puts you within walking distance of top attractions, like the Santa Barbara Zoo, State Street, and Funk Zone restaurants.

Adorned in tropical decor with a subtle Asian twist, all the guest rooms here offer at least 300 square feet of space for you to spread out in and relax. They feature plush pillow-top beds, and balconies with ocean or mountain views. The large bathrooms come with double vanities and heated floors, and the suites add Jacuzzi tubs and four-poster beds. Splashing out on the ocean-view rooms is highly recommended.

Dining is also a treat. The indoor/outdoor ocean-view Convivo restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner from a coastal-Italian-inspired menu.

If you don't feel like hopping across the street to East Beach, with its broad stretch of sand and volleyball nets, you can relax by the heated ocean-view pool and hot tub, enjoy a refreshing drink on the terrace, or tone at the fully equipped fitness center.

Address: 901 E. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, California

4. Harbor View Inn

Photo Source: Harbor View Inn
Photo Source: Harbor View Inn

Accommodation: Harbor View Inn

If you want to be in the heart of all the tourist buzz, Santa Barbara locations don't get better than this. The boutique Harbor View Inn sits on the Santa Barbara waterfront, opposite Stearns Wharf, with soft-sand beaches stretching in either direction. The hotel also borders the start of State Street, the city's main drag. This intersection can be a little busy, but that's because the city's top tourist attractions are only steps away.

All the cozy guest rooms and suites come with balconies or patios, and the ocean-view rooms are definitely the pick of the bunch.

Apart from the convenient location, standout features include the attentive staff, and you can also relax by the palm-lined heated pool or take a dip in the Jacuzzi.

Dining options include a poolside snack bar room service. State Street and Funk Zone restaurants are also right on the doorstep.

Address: 28 W. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, California

5. Hotel Californian

Photo Source: Hotel Californian

Accommodation: Hotel Californian

Only a block from the waterfront, Hotel Californian offers a luxury Santa Barbara beach vacation that doesn't have to be all about the beach. Straddling two sides of State Street in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone, this stylish boutique hotel sits steps from the buzz of downtown. Enjoy ocean views, as well as easy access to some of Santa Barbara's best restaurants, shops, and attractions.

Spanish and Moroccan style mingle here, with splashing fountains, potted palms, and white-washed buildings. Moroccan motifs continue in the bright, stylish rooms. Highlights include custom furnishings and Moroccan-inspired tiles. Some rooms come with Juliet balconies, and the best picks have ocean views.

In your free time, you can escape to Marrakesh in the spa; take a dip in the ocean-view rooftop pool; enjoy a Mediterranean-inspired meal at the Goat Tree café, or Blackbird, the hotel's excellent fine-dining restaurant; and, of course, bask on the beach. And when you want a break from the sun, sand, and sea, Santa Barbara's other top things to do are right on your doorstep.

Address: 36 State Street, Santa Barbara, California

6. Hotel Milo

Photo Source: Hotel Milo
Photo Source: Hotel Milo

Accommodation: Hotel Milo Santa Barbara

Directly opposite West Beach, less than a 10-minute walk to Stearns Wharf, Hotel Milo looks like a Mediterranean villa. Potted flowers, date palms, and decorative wrought-iron accents make you feel like you could be on the coast of Spain. The hotel is named for the legendary Milo Potter, who established Santa Barbara's famous Potter Hotel on this very site in 1903.

Dressed in sea blue and crisp white, the guest rooms occupy two-story Spanish-style buildings. Rattan, bamboo, and wicker add beachy textures, and some rooms come with ocean views.

Dutch-inspired beach cruiser bikes are free for guests to borrow. When you're not cruising all the sites, you can sunbathe by the sparkling freeform pool, and work out at the fitness center.

Rates include continental breakfast, but valet parking on the resort's grounds comes at an extra fee.

Pet owners will be pleased to know that pooches are welcome here. The lush strip of lawn adjacent to the hotel is a popular hangout for pets and people alike. Fun fact: The colonnade of date palms here once graced the entrance to the legendary Potter Hotel.

Address: 202 W. Cabrillo Boulevard Santa Barbara, California

7. Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Photo Source: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort
Photo Source: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Accommodation: Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort

Set amid 24 acres of palm-studded lawns, the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is a landmark hotel along Santa Barbara's popular beachfront area. This mission-style property lies in a fantastic location across Cabrillo Boulevard from East Beach. From here, you can walk to Stearns Wharf, the Funk Zone, and the shops and restaurants of State Street downtown.

This is also one of the top Santa Barbara resorts for families. It's a short walk to the Santa Barbara Zoo, and you can rent bikes with the kids and head across the street to the popular beachfront bike path.

Spread out across the property, the large guest rooms and suites feature ocean, garden, or mountain views. All have private balconies or patios, and suites come with separate living areas, robes, slippers, and rain showers.

When it comes to dining, guests have a couple of options. These include an ocean-view, bistro-style restaurant with an outdoor fire pit; a casual breakfast venue; and a coffee shop.

Guests also love the Olympic-sized swimming pool and Jacuzzi, fitness center, tennis court, and spa. As with most Santa Barbara hotels, pets are welcome.

Address: 633 East Cabrillo Boulevard, Santa Barbara, California

8. Harbor House Inn

Photo Source: Harbor House Inn
Photo Source: Harbor House Inn

Accommodation: Harbor House Inn

In a relatively quiet neighborhood, this affordable little Mediterranean-style inn lies about a block back from West Beach. Although it's not directly on the waterfront, it deserves a special mention for its warm hospitality and good-value studios with fully equipped kitchens.

This is an excellent option for extended stays, giving you a little more room and the freedom to prepare your own meals. Complimentary snacks and the free use of cruiser bikes and beach gear are among the perks guests love.

The individually decorated guest rooms are all bright, cheery, and spotlessly clean. They feature comfortable beds with high-quality linens, coffee makers, smart TVs with access to Netflix, and free Wi-Fi, and most come with well-equipped kitchens.

In your spare time, you can relax and mingle in the outdoor courtyard, or hop on one of the hotel's bikes and explore the picturesque beachfront. Limited parking is available on-site for free.

Address: 104 Bath Street, Santa Barbara, California

9. Pacific Crest Hotel

Photo Source: Pacific Crest Hotel

Accommodation: Pacific Crest Hotel

Looking for a beachy boutique hotel with vintage charm? The mid-century, motel-style Pacific Crest Hotel is a great option. Owned by a friendly local family, it lies in a quiet neighborhood, about a block from East Beach, and makes a great base for a beach-focused vacation. It's also a stroll or trolley ride away from Stearns Wharf, Funk Zone restaurants, and State Street shopping.

Guest rooms, 20 in total, face a courtyard with a heated pool. All are fresh and bright, with wood floors, white linens, woven headboards, and beachy decor. Santa Barbara Roasting Company Coffee is provided in each room.

A few perks make your stay more comfortable. These include complimentary morning coffee and cakes, free on-site parking, and TESLA & Electric Car Charging stations (by appointment).

Address: 433 Corona Del Mar Drive, Santa Barbara, California

10. West Beach Inn, a Coast Hotel

Photo Source: West Beach Inn, a Coast Hotel
Photo Source: West Beach Inn, a Coast Hotel

Accommodation: West Beach Inn, a Coast Hotel

This unassuming mid-range hotel sits in a lovely location, opposite West Beach and the Santa Barbara Harbor, about a 10-minute stroll away from Stearns Wharf and State Street.

Strung along a three-story motel-style building, the rooms here are large and clean, with in-room coffee facilities and comfortable beds. All have two chairs and a small table on the patios or shared balconies, so you can relax outside and enjoy the sea views.

When you're not exploring all the nearby waterfront attractions, you can bask by the heated outdoor pool and soak in the Jacuzzi.

Plenty of restaurants lie within walking distance, and the rates here include continental breakfast; parking; Wi-Fi; and even a turndown service with mints, something that you'd expect from a high-end hotel. The one and two-bedroom suites are great for families.

Address: 306 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, California

11. Beachside Inn

Photo Source: Beachside Inn
Photo Source: Beachside Inn

Accommodation: Beachside Inn

Opposite the Santa Barbara Harbor, near West Beach, Beachside Inn offers dependable value, friendly service, and a fantastic location. You can walk to Stearns Wharf and lower State Street in about 12 minutes.

The 60 freshly renovated guest rooms occupy two levels of a motel-style building, and offer views of the ocean or the park across the side street. Pleasing touches are the coffee and hot chocolate in the lobby, and freshly folded towels on the pool lounges.

Continental breakfast is included in the rates, and one of Santa Barbara's best fine-dining restaurants, Toma, is just next door.

Address: 336 W Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, California

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