10 Things to Do in Goleta That You Shouldn't Miss

November 11, 2017 Milan Banda

Goleta, home to University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the Santa Barbara Airport, hugs the coast 12 miles west of Santa Barbara. First called "The Good Land" by the Spanish, Goleta was once known for its rich agriculture, and smaller scale farms still pepper the landscape. The California Lemon Festival at Girsh Park is a must-see every October. Visitors seeking outdoor adventure can fish off Goleta Pier, surf at Campus Point and hike along bluffs overlooking untrammeled coastline.
Restaurants in Goleta

1. Goleta Beach

5986 Sandspit Rd, Goleta, CA 93117-3903
Excellent
40%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 144 reviews

Goleta Beach

A long sandy beach near Goleta Point.

Reviewed By Miranda C - Newport Beach, California

My favorite part about this place is there are benches very close to the water. When sitting, you get to see the never-ending ocean accompanied by blue sky and sun. The breeze adds to the scene, and it is also a great place to just relax. The pier is also nice, but I would say not as nice as the beach. A pleasant walk is all it has to offer. The wood is uneven and easy to trip. Fishing is an activity to do, but some fishers swear-- be careful around children. Although another plus is that you can get quite close to seagulls and pigeons, and they won't be fazed. It takes more than walking by them to disturb them. It is really the beach that makes Goleta worth visiting.

2. UCSB Lagoon

University of California, Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, CA 93117
Excellent
64%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 11 reviews

UCSB Lagoon

Reviewed By lfiebert - Lansdale, Pennsylvania

Since we did not have a car, the shuttle from our hotel dropped us at The UCSB campus which was short walk to the trail around the lagoon. The Lagoon trail was a fascinating brief wildlife experience which allowed us to see several Great Blue Heron, a few grebes, and many cormorants. After walking around the lagoon, we continued on the trail that skirts the dunes along the shoreline. We were able to see some lovely colorful wild flowers and other plants. The views of the ocean were often quite amazing. We spent an enjoyable two hours and had a good time.

3. Goleta Butterfly Grove

7701 Hollister Ave, Goleta, CA 93117-2423 +1 805-961-7510
Excellent
63%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
5%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 74 reviews

Goleta Butterfly Grove

The Goleta Butterfly Grove is currently closed to public access. The Ellwood Mesa has a significant number of dead and dying trees that are at risk for falling. The City is working on a Monarch Butterfly Habitat Management Plan to restore this area as a overwintering location for these beautiful creatures

Reviewed By David L - Goleta, California

This and "Coronado Butterfly Preserve" are essentially the same place. A long drought has killed many trees and caused damage to plants. As a result, some of the trails are considered by the City to be in danger of falling trees. Despite that, it is a charming open space with easily accessible trails and beautiful views. What I like the most is the quiet and natural surroundings. For now I am giving a four. It will return to a five when the area heals after a few more years of normal rain.

4. Santa Barbara County Courthouse

1100 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101-2099 +1 805-568-2220
Excellent
72%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Designed by William Mooser III in the Spanish-Moorish architectural style, this working courthouse is surrounded by landscaped gardens and lawns.

Reviewed By Annick831 - Ventura, California

This is a free tour to do in Santa Barbara! It's a beautiful building, during opening hours you can pop your head in some of the surrounding attached buildings and offices, it's well worth exploring. Don't be surprise to see a wedding ceremony happening on the grounds or an engagement picture shoot (especially during the weekend) it's such a beautiful place... Climb to the top to see a wonderful view of the city, the ocean (on a clear day), the mission, etc. If you climb by stairs you will see the clock room with the bells that rings every hour.

5. Refugio State Park and Beach

Goleta, CA
Excellent
41%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
17%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 102 reviews

Refugio State Park and Beach

Reviewed By BlakievanHemert - Santa Barbara, California

It`s special to be able to drive right to the ocean and set up a campsite, fix your own meals and walk on the beach and swim in the water all in a moment. This is well maintained, very popular and reservations are essential.

6. Coronado Butterfly Preserve

Ellwood Mesa, Goleta, CA +1 805-961-7507
Excellent
65%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 35 reviews

Coronado Butterfly Preserve

Reviewed By OldOldBob - Gallatin, Tennessee

Those who were here in the 1980's remember the trees covered with life. Now a remnant returns but may not persist. Before the eucalyptus trees were introduced they were not here and now milkweed is disappearing. Still not to be missed.

7. Fairview Gardens

598 N Fairview Ave, Goleta, CA 93117-1731 +1 805-967-7369
Excellent
70%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 20 reviews

Fairview Gardens

Come visit the farm! Founded in 1895, Fairview Gardens is one of the oldest organic farms in southern California and preserved for all to enjoy. Fairview Gardens is a non-profit organization and plays a unique role in the community, providing its neighbors with food, educational events, and a connection to the land. Pack a picnic, visit our farm stand, and take a self-guided tour through our fruit orchards and open space. Bring a camera and get ready for some delicious fun.

Reviewed By Loveworldtravel - Santa Barbara, California

I love buying produce, bread, and eggs at Fairview Gardens. We've been customers for well over a decade. The fruit and veggies are as fresh as can be. Some years back, we asked if eggs were available. They said we can come back in a little while because the hens were still sitting on them. The hens get to run around outside the cage much of the day. The food is excellent.

8. Cold Spring Tavern

5995 Stagecoach Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105-9776 +1 805-967-0066
Excellent
64%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 460 reviews

Cold Spring Tavern

A popular mountain for hiking outside of Santa Barbara.

Reviewed By Gerry H

This is a lace worth visiting, especially on the weekend when they BBQ tri-tip outside on the grill. Then there is the local bands that play, and a tone of bikers in a serene setting

9. Rancho La Patera & Stow House

304 N Los Carneros Rd, Goleta, CA 93117-1502 +1 805-681-7216
Excellent
54%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 17 reviews

Rancho La Patera & Stow House

aka Stow House or Rancho La Patera

Reviewed By OldOldBob - Gallatin, Tennessee

We lived nearby in the 1970's and walked the lake trails many an afternoon. Over the years the house and lawn have been the site of many weddings and community events. Today the drought has brought the lake low, but the many acres still provide a scenic ramble.

10. South Coast Railroad Museum

300 N Los Carneros Rd, Goleta, CA 93117-1502 +1 805-964-3540
Excellent
42%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
33%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 12 reviews

South Coast Railroad Museum

Reviewed By Bob T - San Diego, California

This is going to be particularly exciting for small children. A local business has subsidized the attraction, so the miniature train ride (which is cheap enough as it is) will be free on weekends this year. It's a nice ride that lasts a while because they have built several loops of track into their limited acreage.

The one piece of real rolling stock -- a "bay window" caboose -- is badly in need of refurbishing. Displays in the old Goleta station, which has been moved here, are interesting, but will not hold children or adults for too long.

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