Santa Barbara is known for its great surf spots, and the beaches in this guide are some of the best in the area.
Just be careful when surfing at El Capitan – this spot can be dangerous for beginners.
And, if you're looking to surf in the summer, Jalama Beach is a great option.
Discover six of the best surf spots in Santa Barbara.
Also check out our guide to 9 of the best surf spots in Malibu just south of Santa Barbara.
Is there good surfing in Santa Barbara?
Yes, there are some great surf spots in Santa Barbara.
While some neighboring areas get most of the spot light , Santa Barbara itself is home to some world-class surf.
Some believe that Rincon is the best wave in all of California.
The problem is that it is hard to find the right conditions for the wave.
Rincon Creek usually divides Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, but anything located to the north/west of the creek is typically considered as Santa Barbara territory, while everything east/south of it is part of Ventura.
Although surfers from both regions frequently attempt to claim ownership over Rincon, it is most commonly thought of as a Santa Barbara wave.
Even though Rincon doesn't have as many waves as some of the other beaches in the area, it still gets a lot of waves when compared to beaches that have points to the north.
2. Refugio State Beach
Refugio State Beach is a great place to learn how to surf because the waves are usually small and gentle.
The point out into the water also provides a wind break, which means that surfers won't have to worry about on-shore winds that can ruin an afternoon session.
3. El Capitan
El Capitan State Beach is one of the best cobblestone point breaks in California.
Many professional surfers aspire to ride these waves at some point in their lives.
Head here on the right day, and you can surf some of California's best waves.
Just be careful; this break is known for its tough conditions and rocky shore.
While the majority of the sites on this list are only accessible when the weather is suitable, Jalama Beach's position off-the-beaten Santa Barbara route ensures that it consistently delivers excellent waves.
It's a little trek away from Point Conception to this scorching location north of there, but many people regard the walk as well worth it for exposure to high winds and beach and reef breaks.
Again, you'll need to be fluent with a board in order to catch some waves here, but experts will undoubtedly enjoy the journey.
5. Ledbetter Beach
If you want to learn how to surf or build upon your skills, Leadbetter beach is the perfect place.
With long and straight waves, it's great for beginners.
Plus, the extensive stretch of shoreline provides plenty of space to relax in between surfing sessions.
6. Gaviota Beach
The coast is defined by bluffs formed by wave erosion, and it's famous for its ancient pier, which adds to the appeal.
Because of the danger it poses, it is no longer accessible for visitors.
There are a few places to surf in Santa Barbara County and Gaviota Beach, but you must be able to deal with rough Ocean conditions.
If you're waiting for the ideal wave to ride, whether it's low tide or high tide, you know that the conditions there can change very rapidly.
The tremendous outflow and the unpredictability of big waves may be the most terrible situations, and everyone must be very cautious.
Common questions about the best surf spots in Santa Barbara
What beach has the biggest waves in Santa Barbara?
The beach with the biggest waves in Santa Barbara is Rincon.
This surf spot is known for its huge waves and powerful surf.
Where can I surf in Santa Barbara for beginners?
If you're looking for a surf spot that is forgiving and has waves that are suitable for beginners, try Refugio State Beach or Leadbetter Beach.
Both of these locations offer gentle waves that are perfect for those who are just starting out.
Where can I surf in the summer in Santa Barbara?
Summer is a great time to surf in Santa Barbara, as the waves are usually a bit smaller and more manageable.
Try Refugio State Beach, El Capitan, or Jalama Beach.
These surf spots offer waves that are perfect for summertime surfers.