The Best Swimming in Santa Barbara

Looking for the best swimming in Santa Barbara? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Santa Barbara. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top swimming spots in and near Santa Barbara

  • Carpinteria, California

    Camp at Carpinteria State Beach

    3.7
    There are 2 campgrounds close to Rincón, but Carpinteria State Beach is a little bigger and easier to find a spot. There are 4 campgrounds: Santa Cruz, Anacapa, San Miguel and Santa Rosa. Most of them are RV sites, but if you stay at Santa Cruz Campground you can set your tent right at the beach,...
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  • Carpinteria, California

    Camp and Explore in Santa Cruz Campground

    5.0
    / 4 ft gain
    Santa Cruz Campground is nestled in Carpinteria State Beach, an easy drive from Santa Barbara, Ventura, or the greater LA area. Over a mile of beach front access allows for swimming, surfing, fishing, tide pool exploration, and picnicking.  There is an abundance of wildlife to see: seals, sea lio...
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  • Goleta, California

    Camp at El Capitan State Beach

    4.7
    This popular campground of 142 sites is equipped with fire rings and a picnic area, in addition to restrooms and showers. There are group campsites available, as well. Click here for more info/ reservations.
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  • Goleta, California

    Camp at Refugio Campground

    4.0
    / 3 ft gain
    Refugio State Beach is a great location for fishing, hiking, and picnicking. Lucky beach-goers will spot sea otters, dolphins, seals, and whales. Both sides of the lagoon are perfect for exploring. Heading north will take you to a nice viewpoint with a picnic table above a surfing location. The R...
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  • Ojai, California

    Hike to Matilija Falls

    5.0
    9 mi / 950 ft gain
    ...If you've read most of my blogs, you'll probably notice I have a fascination for waterfalls! I've done this hike multiple times, but it wasn't until this day where I saw these falls truly in action and what they're meant to look like. Getting here, you'll drive 13.4 miles north on highway 33 f...
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  • Ventura, California

    Kiteboard Surfer's Point

    Surfer's Point aka Ventura Point is a well-known kite boarding/surfing (and surfing) spot due to its (when conditions are right) great wave quality, favorable wind direction (sideshore with occasional side-off), friendly locals, rider capacity, and a nearby point break with. When conditions are e...
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  • Ventura, California

    Bike the Rincon Trail

    5.0
    28.4 mi / 720 ft gain
    The Rincon Trail between Ventura and Santa Barbara is part of the wonderful Pacific Coast Bike Route, and features two-wave paved cycling lanes with beautiful views up and down the central coast. There are numerous places to stop along the way for food and relaxing, including the great seaside to...
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  • Maricopa, California

    Hike the Potrero John Trail

    5.0
    1.6 mi
    The Potrero John Trail is only 1.6 miles, and is mostly used for hiking. It is right off Highway 33- driving north on the 33, the trailhead is on the right side of the street, right after the Potrero John Bridge (parking is fairly limited so the earlier you get there the better).There were creeks...
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  • Ventura, California

    Kayak Santa Cruz Island

    4.5
    As the largest of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Island National Park is an ecological treasure, and to kayak it is to get to experience it in a manner unlike any other. Getting to the island is easiest through Island Packers where you can also reserve a kayak (so pack effi...
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  • Ventura, California

    Hike to Smuggler's Cove, Channel Islands NP

    3.5
    8 mi
    Save one stretch of elevation close to the cove itself, this 8-mile, round-trip hike is a leisuring trek across one of the countries most beautiful, though less famous National Parks - the Channel Islands. Smuggler's Cove is located on the Santa Cruz Island, which also happens to be the largest i...
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  • Ventura, California

    Beach Camp on Santa Rosa Island

    5.0
    16 mi / 50 ft gain
    This adventure is not for the inexperienced. There is a campground on each of the Channel Islands and even camping at Water Canyon on Santa Rosa Island is moderately difficult, especially in the summer. The payoff is one unlike any other on the West Coast. It is an opportunity to backcountry pack...
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  • Ventura, California

    Camp at the Water Canyon Campground in the Channel Islands NP

    1.5 mi
    You can get a wonderfully detailed description of what to expect from the Channel Islands/Santa Rosa Island and how to get there from fellow Explorer Michael Wigle's "Beach camp on Santa Rosa Island" adventure (which I highly recommend you check out for the information and the photography https:/...
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  • Ventura, California

    Hike to Chinese Harbor on Santa Cruz Island

    14.2 mi / 750 ft gain
    The hike to Chinese Harbor is a 14.2 mile out-and-back hike from Prisoners Harbor on Santa Cruz Island or a much more manageable 8 mile out-and-back hike from Del Norte backcountry campground. If you are spending the day on the island curtesy of Island Packers, a trek to Chinese Harbor might be d...
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  • Santa Paula, California

    Hike the Santa Paula Punch Bowls

    3.6
    8.5 mi / 700 ft gain
    This is an 8.5 mile trail, out and back. Parking is available along Ojai St, and the trail starts at the entrance of Thomas Aquinas College. Follow the paved road which goes around the school, until you reach a fork on the road, then stay right. The trail will take you through Ferndale Ranch, jus...
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  • Santa Barbara County, California

    Hike Lobo Canyon in the Channel Islands NP

    10 mi
    The National Park Service describes this hike in the following:  "Strenuous.  A spectacular canyon with wind- and water-sculpted sandstone cliffs, a year-round stream, riparian vegetation, and a spectacular coast at its mouth.  Well worth the effort."I couldn't agree more with the last sentence. ...
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  • Malibu, California

    Camp at Thornhill Broome State Beach

    5.0
    Take PCH through Malibu towards Oxnard and the campground will be on your left. There is no day use here and you can drive right to your campsite.During the summer, make reservations or arrive really early to nab a site. Spaces can fill up quickly.There is access to a hiking trail across PCH.
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