Mesa's Magical

Stairway Hike to beach in Santa Barbara

If the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands views don’t take your breath away, these 242 steps will. Mesa Lane boasts Santa Barbara’s longest and most aesthetic staircase, descending to a pristine stretch of brayed tan sand. The sea-to-horizon view is so inspiring from points along these stairs that many people don’t go the whole distance. Especially at sunset, you’ll find many Instagram-worthy stops along the way. The initial descent is lined with exuberant red bougainvillea, the botanical icon of Santa Barbara. At the bottom of the stairs lies a narrow stretch of beach where there’s ample room for walking, beachcombing, and throwing sticks for your dog.

At the highest tides, the sand vanishes, but at average or low tides, you can walk to your right for a mile to Arroyo Burro Beach. Or head to your left, where you’ll find a series of secluded, rocky coves.

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THIGHBURNING BONUS: Way better than any gym’s Stairmaster, the Mesa Lane Steps will kick your butt (and calves and quadriceps) on the way back up. For a serious buns-of-steel workout, walk down all 242 stairs and then jog, sprint, or perform plyometric jumps from the bottom to the top. Benches provide options for the weary to catch their breath (and for the hardy to do push-ups).

Mesa Lane Steps are on Mesa Lane’s south end, near its junction with Edgewater Way. Dog-friendly!

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