Know Before You Go: More Mesa Beach

The secluded Santa Barbara beach is clothing-optional

View of More Mesa Beach in Santa Barbara
Rachael Moore/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

In general, nude sunbathers aren't hassled at More Mesa Beach, unless someone complains (which is very rare). However, the Santa Barbara County sheriff occasionally steps up enforcement at More Mesa.

You can help keep this beach open for clothing-optional use by staying north of the trail (to the right side when you reach the beach) if you are planning to be nude and avoiding areas to the south of the trail. Following these guidelines allows the area homeowners to get to the beach without encountering nude sunbathers, preventing complaints before they happen.

Location

Off US Highway 101 north of Santa Barbara.

Description

More Mesa Beach is a very friendly and popular beach. The wide beach has soft, white sand and is backed by high, dirt cliffs.

Oily tar has been washing on up area beaches for centuries. Native people used it to seal their canoes. The amount found on the beach varies. At times, the beach will be nearly clear, then storms wash more tar onto the sand. Keep your shoes on (even if they don't go with the rest of your outfit) and if you get tar on your skin, many people recommend using an oily substance such as cooking oil, mayonnaise, or baby oil to help get it off.

Nudity Laws and More Mesa Beach

The responsibility for knowing the law at More Mesa Beach is yours, so it's important you brush up on Santa Barbara's nudity laws before visiting.

Nude or naturist beach neophytes, please be respectful of others and read the "Nude Beach and Topless Beach Etiquette" guidelines before you go to a nude beach.

Driving Directions

More Mesa Beach is located north of downtown Santa Barbara, between Hope Beach and the UCSB campus.

  • Exit US Highway 101 at exit #103, the Turnpike Road exit south (toward the ocean).
  • Turn left at the first major intersection/traffic light onto Hollister Ave.
  • At the first traffic light after that, turn right onto Puente Drive (you may see a small sign pointing toward Hidden Oaks Golf Course). Puente changes names to becomes Vieja Drive after you pass the More Mesa Drive intersection.
  • Drive past the stables and the golf course entrance, a total of about 3/4 mile.
  • Look for Mockingbird Lane, which will be on the left. It's a wide street that goes up a hill. You'll walk up it to get to the beach, but you can't park on it. Instead, park on Vieja nearby.

    Walking From Parking Lot to the Beach

    • Wear shoes and be prepared for a long walk (about a mile).
    • Walk uphill on Mockingbird about 0.2 miles until just before it ends.
    • You'll see a gate on the left with private property warnings. Use the gap to the left of it, which is for pedestrians and continue to the stairs that start near a grove of Eucalyptus trees.
    • The path is steep but easy to walk on.
    • The nude area is to the right when you reach the beach. Stay north of the trail to prevent future law enforcement hassles.