Santa Barbara County
Isla Vista Beach

Click to Save

Discount Disneyland Tickets



Catalina Flyer

 Discount Legoland California tickets


Goleta Events
California Lemon Festival
El Capitan State Beach

Goleta Hotels
Best Western South Coast Inn
5620 Calle Real
Goleta, CA 93117

Super 8 Motel - Santa Barbara/Goleta
6021 Hollister Ave.
Goleta, CA 93117
Bacara Beach Resort

Santa Barbara County
Buellton - Ostrich Land
El Capitan
Gaviota - Pass
La Conchita
Los Alamos
Los Olivos
Mussel Shoals
Oso Flaco
Santa Barbara
Santa Maria
Santa Ynez
Surf Beach



isla vista beach goleta

isla vista cliffs


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.