Isla Vista Beach and
Cliffs - Goleta California
Isla Vista Beach is located in an
unincorporated area of Goleta called Isla Vista. Isla
Vista is best known for its college off-campus residences for University of
California (UC) Santa Barbara, its surfing beach and the crumbling cliffs
where coastal houses teeter on the brink of erosion. Homes and apartments
built on the south side of Del Playa Drive sit precariously close to
quickly-eroding bluffs above the Pacific Ocean.
Goleta was once a region
of the City of Santa Barbara but became incorporated several
years ago. Isla Vista is a region of the city of Goleta. The beach in this community of around
20,000 or so part and full time residents is a mix of sandy sweeps that
offer enough area to walk, romp, play or even sunbathe and narrow beaches
where rocks formations sometimes offer little or no pleasure for beach-goers
seeking a place to relax. Because the ocean comes right up to the cliffs,
surfers can walk outside their home and be in the ocean in less than a
minute at these beaches that hug the coastline. Access from some
neighborhoods is available at stairways built along the face of 40- to
50-foot bluffs. These stairways have been refurbished to maintain access
points for the public. For example, several stairways in Isla Vista were
closed because of storm damage and rebuilt to maintain that beach access.
The stairways at Del Playa Drive at Escondido Pass, Camino del Sur, and
Camino Pescadero all lead to popular beaches and surf spots.
Del Playa Drive near the beach has a
reputation as a youthful part place. Infamous weekend parties on Del Playa
Drive such as an annual Halloween party reflect a college environment in
which rental housing avails a variety of cultures and lifestyles thrown
together in housing that's not always known as upscale. The land is often
worth more than the buildings on which it sits.
For tourists, Isla Vista beach is not
a huge draw. Limited parking and small beaches with no services such as
restrooms make these local haunts less attractive, especially to visitors.
The better choice for travelers can include nearby state beaches such as El
Capitan or Refugio State Beach. Just down the road a short
distance from Isla Vista beach in Goleta is the Goleta pier and beach with a
restaurant and other services. And for a notch up from Goleta, Santa Barbara
beaches as recognized as tourists' favorites, ranking in the top 10 beach
destinations in the U.S.
Isla Vista beach is located on a
south-facing portion of the Santa Barbara County coast between several
peninsulas, Coal Oil Point and Campus Point. As you can imagine from the
name "Coal Oil Point", offshore oil platforms continue operations. Nearby
Bacara Beach Resort actually has signage requesting guests be mindful and
not track tar from the beach onto the floors of the upscale hotel property
where rooms begin around $400 per night.
For those seeking a unique experience,
do take the time to drive along the streets of Isla Vista. If you attended a
university much as we experienced, the residential images are reminiscent of
college housing in cities throughout the U.S. Isla Vista beaches are also
worth exploring for the likes of those who love beaches and simply want to
see them. With approximately 1000 miles of California beaches, beach lovers
seldom tire of seeing beaches throughout the state. Isla Vista is one of
those great beaches in a long list of offerings that provide something out
of the ordinary.