Arroyo Burro Beach, a wide strip of powdery sand locals call Hendry’s, is my favorite stop in Santa Barbara. The trailhead at the southern tip of the parking lot leads to More Mesa, a bluff walk with stunning views of the coast.
Para-sailors glide overhead beneath flashy canopies, pelicans patrol the bluffs in V–formation, while far below the aquamarine Pacific purls into white foaming billows. Irish-spring-green grass dotted with wildflowers carpets the mesa shaded by giant sycamores. You will likely have this walk to yourself save the occasional local walking dogs off leash. Continue out of the park onto Medcliff Road to Mesa Lane and turn right to Mesa Steps.
Take the public stairwell down to the sea shore.
Enjoy a contemplative stroll on this stretch of hard-packed sand backed by craggy cliffs back to the Arroyo Burro parking lot and facilities.
After this approximate two- mile loop, you will be ready for lunch at the Boathouse restaurant overlooking the beach.
Zesty seafood pasta was my choice, but Shrimp Louis salad and lobster rolls are also on the menu among many more taste treats. Diners can enjoy the glass-shielded patio or dine inside in casual elegance. There is a hamburger stand next to the main restaurant for folks in a hurry. A snooze on the sand after a sumptuous repast before heading home is in order.
This day can be done without an overnight; however, a stay at the clean, comfortable Sandman Inn on upper State makes this a holiday. After the 90-minute drive from L.A, I look forward to time in the palm-studded oasis in the outdoor spa and a swim in the pool. It is an easy roll down Los Positas Road to Hendry’s.
The Sandman is also near Highway 154, the gateway to Santa Barbara back country, making it a great headquarters for more adventures. Plus, the Sandman has a ’50s diner with complimentary breakfast treats for those looking for an early start on a beautiful day. All this for under $100.!
Arroyo Burro Beach Park
Arroyo Burro Beach County Park is located 5 miles west of Santa Barbara’s city center on Cliff Drive near Hope Ranch. From Highway 101 take Las Positas Road south to Cliff Drive. Turn right and travel 1/2 mile to the park entrance.
About Linda Ballou:
Linda is a travel writer with frequent publications in Real Travel Adventures and Travel World Magazine. She has written two books, Lost Angel Walkabout and Wai-Nani, High Chiefess of Hawai’i. Visit her website at