Main Content


The Hidden Beach Town—With Its Chic Shops and Casual Dining—is Dog Friendly

Dogs with their people on Summerland Beach

Image Courtesy of Bring Fido

It’s time to treat yourself, and your four-legged family member, to a day in Summerland. This hidden beach town offers everything you and your canine BFF need to sniff out some fun in the sun together. Think unspoiled coastline, chic shops and casual dining—all dog friendly.

The History of Summerland

The town, founded in 1889, was named after the imagined location of the afterlife. And even today, spending time there can seem like a slice of heaven. Located on the gentle slope of the foothills of the Santa Ynez mountains, Summerland is within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors include Hollywood celebrities, Presidents, our own Santa Barbara local celebs as well as many who drive up from Los Angeles County.

Dog Day in Summerland

The little village of homes and businesses radiating backward from the Pacific is situated ten minutes between Santa Barbara to the north and Carpinteria to the south. The vibe is casual here, from your footwear (flip-flops, or four paws please) to the food. I’ve taken the liberty of creating an itinerary of Summerland fun for you and your pup:

Summerland Beach Café

Start the day off right with a big Belgian waffle or huevos rancheros breakfast on the dog-friendly patio of the Summerland Beach Café. The Victorian house, built in 1893, stands watch over the town as Summerland’s most identifiable landmark since you can see it off the 101. In case you haven’t eaten there, this rustic, charming, and dog-friendly restaurant serves home-style cooking from its location, just a block from the beach.

Summerland Beach at Lookout Park

Walk your dog to Summerland Beach at Lookout Park and enjoy the picturesque ocean waves. Its proximity to the park makes it an ideal location for an all-day dog affair. This pretty stretch of coastline is well worth a look for anyone planning a beach outing, especially with a dog. You’ll both enjoy the breathtaking views and the off-leash experience of playing in the waves together. Locals say you must take a short walk to Loon Point, known for its tidepools and surf break. When you and your best friend are ready to leave the beach, there’s a for-pay self-service dog wash station to get the sand and saltwater out of your pup’s fur before continuing your fun-filled day.

Horseback Riding on the Beach

Special note for humans only: Summerland Beach is the only one on Santa Barbara’s South Coast where people can go horseback riding on the beach. So, definitely come back sans dog for that experience. He or she will understand. And when you’re ready, the local tour company, Los Padres Outfitters, offers two-hour guided horseback rides on both the sand and throughout the backcountry of Summerland.

Buddha statue in a garden

Image Courtesy of Unsplash

Stroll Lillie Avenue

In the later afternoon, the two of you can get some more exercise by walking along Lillie Avenue to explore the eclectic collection of shops, including interior décor shop Garde, garden and home purveyor Botanik, and antiques at Mary Suding Antiques & Design. Make time for a stop at The Sacred Space, a hybrid meditation space/Asian artifacts importer.

The Nugget Bar and Grill

Stop for dinner at The Nugget Bar and Grill and take in the scenery on the dog friendly patio. This casual bar and restaurant are reminiscent of an old miner’s establishment; from the rustic façade on Summerland’s Lillie Avenue to the creaky wooden floors inside. This place specializes in serving stiff drinks and hearty entrees. The best dishes are just the sort of casual standards you’d expect at a place like this: spicy chili, burgers and sandwiches, and honey-dipped fried chicken. Locals rave about the grilled wild salmon, the char-grilled lamb chops, and the French dip served with chunky salsa alongside the jus.

Dogs line up in the back of a pick up truck

Image courtesy of Summerland Winery

Summerland Winery

Right next door to The Nugget, you’ll find the Summerland Winery, voted best winery in Santa Barbara County, where dogs are invited to accompany their guardians right into the tasting room. Guests are invited to try some excellent award-winning wines, from Sauvignon blanc to Chardonnays, produced right on the Central California Coast. The two of you can end a perfect day in Summerland hanging at the bar together and making new friends, both human and doggy. Don’t forget to snap a picture of your four-legged companion to add to the tasting room’s website and for a chance to be featured on their Instagram!

Living room of a home for lease in Summerland Beach

Summerland Homes For Sale or Lease

The perfect way to cap off your day in Summerland with your dog is to check out some of the amazing homes for sale or lease in the area, like the Charming Oceanfront Cottage Near Montecito pictured above.

If you’re thinking of selling or leasing your home in Summerland or any of the communities in and around Santa Barbara, I invite you to contact me at (805) 886-9378, or send me an email at for a complimentary consultation. I can also discuss buying in the area.

More resources:



Please follow and like us:
Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me
Trigger Page Preview Option Popup
Page Preview Save

Enjoying Cristal's blog & listings? Please spread the word :)