Come along with me as I introduce the Santa Barbara Mesa, one of the best places to live in Santa Barbara! – Gabe
Located about 90 miles north of Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara Mesa provides optimal choices for beach living. Situated along a stretch of the Pacific coast, the Mesa stretches approximately 2.5 miles from Arroyo Burro County Beach (also known as Hendry’s Beach) to the west and to Santa Barbara City College on the east.
Affectionately called “Hendry’s Beach,” the term is widely used by local residents in recognition of the farmland and former home of nearby Scottish immigrants, William Nicol and Anne Stronach Hendry and their children from the 1890s until about 1918. Today, the quiet cove is most well-known as a dog-friendly beach where owners can unleash pets to frolic in the sand and surf. Surfers and beach-goers will also find additional recreational activities here, including grassy areas for picnics, barbecues, The Boathouse Restaurant and a snack bar. This family stretch of sandy shore also provides some of the most beautiful vantage points of the horizon, providing breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.
Although Mesa was originally developed as a residential community in the 1920s, the discovery of the Mesa Oil Field halted further build-out. After WWII, building resumed and has continued to thrive and evolve, even becoming an artists’ mecca when Ed Borein had his famous Hopi house on Barranca, which drew from his Hollywood and Broadway lifestyle.
Today, Mesa is one of Santa Barbara’s most livable communities, offering an abundance of amenities, shopping, communal gatherings, annual events, dining, and farmer’s markets. With a relaxed lifestyle and optimal setting for people who desire pristine living along southern California’s coastal waters, Mesa has its own unique climate, ranging 10 to 12 degrees warmer in the winter and as much cooler in the summer than in downtown Santa Barbara.
Mesa embraces and exudes everything one can imagine with a beach vibe entirely its own and provides several direct access points from neighborhoods that are mere blocks away, including Mesa Lane Beach and Thousand Steps Beach. Both are considered highly-desirable neighborhoods due to their close proximity to the ocean and the college. There are four neighborhood parks (Escondido, Hilda Ray, Hondo Valley and La Mesa) and two community parks (Shoreline Park and Hendry’s Beach). In addition, the 70-acre Douglas Family Preserve is located on the west side of Hendry’s Beach and is directly accessible from the south side of Elings Park.
Although Mesa belongs to a larger overall community, the overall feel is one of a tight-knit enclave. Education is top-notch, with two public schools and one private with a student to teacher ratio of 21:1 at the public level (5 1/2-percent greater than the Santa Barbara student to teacher ratio and 3 percent greater than the California student to teacher ratio). Santa Barbara City College also is adjacent to Mesa.
The Mesa neighborhood has several proactive groups, including the artists (one for Art on the Mesa and another for the Mesa Artists Studio Tour); volunteer Mesa architects; a home and garden group (Mesa Exchange), nature conservancy advocates (Friends of Douglas Family Preserve); and the Mesa Business Association, composed of three business groups: the shop owners, the home business owners and the resident business owners. It is also the only city in Santa Barbara to publish its own newspaper, The Mesa Paper, chronicling the life and times of the immediate community and hometown activity.