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About Sands Beach in Isla Vista, California

Sands Beach is located on the west side of Coal Oil Point in Isla Vista, California. This beach lies in front of the Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve, a protected plant and animal habitat that is administered by the University of California Santa Barbara. Sands Beach is popular with UCSB students for beach walking, surfing, and tidepooling.

Access to the beach, which is open to the general public, isn’t that easy because of the fenced-off preserve. If you are driving to the beach, the best solution is to park at the Camino Majorca Beach Access in Isla Vista and walk the bluff trail in front of the western UCSB campus all the way around the point. Another way is to walk there from Ellwood Beach at Santa Barbara Shores Park (longer walk though). Alternatively, you can contact the preserve or pay for parking on west campus and walk or drive down Slough Road. There are a few pull-out parking spaces along Slough Road too.

Devereux Slough Lagoon is located inside of the preserve and provides bird-watchers a habitat to view with binoculars. Views of the Santa Ynez Mountains, which are sometimes reflected in the lagoon, are a welcomed sight to all visitors. To see the lagoon, walk down Slough Road.

Sands Beach is at the mouth of the slough channel which has a tidal flow in the winter months. The sand bars near this channel provide a break for local surfers to enjoy. The sand in this area also provides snowy plovers a spot to nest in. For this reason, dogs are not allowed on the beach from about March through August. During the rest of the year dogs are allowed on a leash.

Tide pools can be found at Coal Oil Point where a reef is exposed at low tides. East of the point you’ll find Devereux Beach and another surf spot.

There are many trails in the area so even if you are not surfing, birdwatching, or tidepooling you can still walk beaches and trails for hours.

Slough Rd
Isla Vista, CA 93117
Park Name
Coal Oil Point Natural Reserve
Other Names
Coal Oil Point Beach
State Reserve
Pet Details
Dogs allowed on leash (except during snowy plover nesting)
Free parking
Surfing, Hiking, Birdwatching, Tidepooling, Beach Walking
Trails, Tide Pools, Lagoon, Dunes, Toilet
Map of Sands Beach
Isla Vista, US
3:14 pm, June 19, 2024
temperature icon 69°F
L: 56° H: 73°
Feels like 68.63 °F broken clouds
Wind gusts: 3 m/s
UV Index: 7.41
Precipitation: 0 inch
Visibility: 10 km
Sunrise: 5:47 am
Sunset: 8:14 pm
Humidity 66 %
Pressure1012 mb
Wind 3 m/s

Nearby Beaches

Devereux Beach

0.3 miles away

Devereux Beach is on the east side of Coal Oil Point in Isla Vista, CA. Behind the beach is...

View beach

Nearby Attractions

Nearby Lodging


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