Butterfly Beach in Montecito, California
Butterfly Beach, located across the street from The Four Seasons Biltmore in Montecito is a locals favorite. There are no beach amenities here (no kayak rentals, volleyball courts, restroom facilities, or restaurants) so it tends to be less attractive to the activity minded visitor. It does however draw a strong local crowd, so weekend weddings are best in either the mid morning or very late afternoon to allow for a more intimate environment.
Montecito’s Butterfly Beach is one of the few west facing beaches along the Santa Barbara coastline which makes for spectacular sunset views over the water. It’s also the place to be for dolphin watching, which often can be seen playing in the surf in the early to late afternoon.
Because it is not a very wide beach, please check with our coordinator to determine the tides for your wedding day before deciding on a specific time of day for your ceremony. Receptions are discouraged here, mostly because of the coming and going of the tides, but for a romantic wedding ceremony Butterfly Beach is ideal and one of my top picks.
Directions: Take the 101 to Olive Mill Road in Montecito (a few minutes south of Santa Barbara). At the stop sign, turn towards the ocean (away from the mountains) and follow it a quarter of a mile along the coast. Butterfly Beach is on your left. Parking is limited and will be packed with cars on most weekends. Park on either side of the street along the beach or drive up Butterfly Rd and park in the nearby neighborhoods.
Most wedding ceremonies that include chairs will be at the intersection of Channel Drive and Butterfly Lane, at the West end of the Beach. Standing ceremonies are held on the sand directly in front of the Biltmore Hotel. Look for the entryway to the beach that features two low pillars topped with potted flowers and flagstone steps leading to the beach and you are there!