Best known for our consistently warm weather, quirky small town feel, and extraordinary coastline, Santa Barbara has become a popular tourist destination. It is not uncommon for our town to be overflowing with people during summer and even into the school year. With so many people, going to beaches like Padaro Lane or Hendry’s in the middle of our break from school is almost out of the picture. So as locals, we resort to beaches like Mesa Lane or Sands for a peaceful day in the waves. However, this summer it became evident that these once secret locations were now taking on the more popular beach’s overflow.
After making the long trek down the endless stairs of Mesa Lane, one is often met with a nearly deserted beach. More recently, the sand is hidden by a plethora of colorful blankets, sand toys, and people in search of a break from the heat. This overcrowding has not gone unnoticed by the year round citizens of Santa Barbara.
“Mesa Lane is definitely my goto beach,” said senior Brooke Donahue. “But this summer it was difficult to find a place to set your towel down.”
Without solitude, our beaches may soon turn into a tourist metropolis. According to a report prepared for the California Department of Boating and Waterways, regular beach goers will reduce their attendance by 25% as beaches become more crowded due population growth in California. With year round visitors, locals will have to resort to spots further down the coast, thus creating the same issue for others. This domino effect, while not causing any large problems, will be inconvenient for all those in search of a simple trip to the ocean.
“I love going to Goleta Beach, but it is just too crowded on the weekends.” said junior Jane Lubach. “My favorite beach is More Mesa, it is generally pretty empty due to the long walk.”
This recent flux in people is evident at all of our major beaches; Ledbetter, Goleta Beach, Hendry’s, Campus Point, and others. For students who only have time to make a trip to the beach during the weekend, it has become increasingly difficult to find any vacant sand. It is unclear whether this overabundance of beach goers will fade with summer or not, but we are left hoping that it will.