Haskells Beach

Distance—1.5 miles east to Ellwood Bluffs; 3 miles east to Isla Vista; 6 miles west to El Capitan. Topo—Goleta.

From State Street, follow Highway 101 west for 12.5 miles to the Winchester off ramp (4.8 miles from the Fairview overpass). As you get off the freeway, the off ramp leads directly onto Calle Real. Follow this west to the overpass. Go left across the overpass, then turn right onto the new frontage road directly in front of the Sandpiper Golf Course. Continue west on the frontage road for a half mile to the designated beach access parking area, which is just before the resort complex.

Stay on the main path leading from the parking lot down to the beach and please don’t use the Bacara beach access paths.

Most likely, you will be bit intimidated by the huge resort complex which has just been completed on the far side of Tecolote Canyon. Surprisingly, what you will find, once you reach the beach, is one of the most remote and quiet sections of beaches along the coast, despite being only a few miles from downtown Goleta.

East of Haskell’s the beach is fairly wide and excellent for sunning or a few hours relaxation. The coastline leads along the edge of Sandpiper Golf Course, where you can spy a few of the holes, and an old wood-planked seawall. There are routes up to Ellwood Bluffs, the Monarch Groves, and if you want a very pleasant two mile stroll all the way to Devereaux Point.

To the west you will spot a long pier which has been used for many years to service the oil industry. Symbolically, the pier acts almost as an entry way into another world. Once you walk under it the next several miles of beach provide what seems like a wilderness experience. The cliffs are steep, rocky ledges and fields of boulders provide great scenery, and there are plenty of small coves and long stretches of hard-packed sand to make you want to keep going on and on. It is six miles all the way to El Capitan State Park, and when the tide is low, this is absolutely my favorite walk.

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