WHETHER YOU ARE A BONA FIDE PHOTOGRAPHER with a camera bag full of equipment and years of training, or an Instagram enthusiast who likes to take quick snaps of happy memories, there’s a certain satisfaction of capturing a beautiful scene.
In Goleta, such scenes are in abundance. From the verdant expanses of the region’s various oceanside and riverside golf courses, to the eclectic architecture framed by year-round bluebird skies that take on a breathtaking fuchsia hue in the evenings, there’s something uniquely special about Goleta’s beauty. All of it means that, when you’re in Goleta, you’re in for a picture perfect adventure.
Goleta is home to a varied, spectacular landscape. Warm sunshine beams down all year on breathtaking beaches, relaxing resorts, wild wetlands and all manner of terrain in between. For that reason, it’s easy to find a variety of aesthetics for your photographic excursions, whether you’re capturing a friend’s care-free jaunt over the sands of Campus Point or snapping an aspirational photo of your group as you enjoy classy cocktails poolside at the aptly named The Goodland, there’s a little something for every mood.
Below, check out some of the best spots for killer captures. Then, give it a shot of your own.
There is no shortage of great places to stay in Goleta, California—and each of them retains a truly distinctive aesthetic that makes for memorable captures no matter where you go.
Take the sprawling and remote The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, a beachside resort surrounded by established trees and built with the architecture of the Mediterranean in mind. This gorgeous property features low-rise villas that, on the outside, are evocative of romantic old-world charm. On the interior, the hotel is stylishly modern with marble counters and floors, oak-lined tasting rooms, and patios from which guests can capture perfectly elevated views of the ocean.
Speaking of the ocean, perhaps the piéce de resistance of the Bacara’s photogenic offerings are its gorgeous zero-edge outdoor pools, two of which offer stunning views of the two-mile stretch of beach exclusive to the property.
As mentioned previously, The Goodland by Kimpton is another prime example of man-made beauty in the region. The eclectically outfitted hotel features a mixture of modernity, retro-mod and kitsch, bringing living design elements from a variety of sources to create an effect that makes you feel almost as though you were walking through a Wes Anderson film. With its poolside dining options that evoke a certain youthful party vibe, bright coloration, and unique design choices (you might notice the decorative car out front), photos at this property can showcase that the good life is right wherever you are.
Goleta’s other properties, including Pacifica Suites (situated on the ancient Sexton House property, which guests can access free of charge) and the Residence Inn offer similarly gorgeous and unique experiences. Powerful snaps are just a shutter click away.
One thing you’ll note about Goleta is that there are beaches basically around every corner, with views of the ocean stretching as far as the eye can see—like the previously mentioned Campus Point, Goleta Beach Park, El Capitan, and Refugio State Beach.
On its own, this is fairly impressive, as that means there’s no shortage of perfect places for you to frame up your flawless footage. But there’s even more to Goleta’s incredible outdoor offerings than that.
Beyond the beaches, there are a number of interesting outdoor locales to explore. Take Lake Los Carneros, for example. Hailed as the hidden gem of Goleta—a crown jewel located right in the middle of the city—Lake Los Carneros features tall grasses, leisurely hikes, a sweeping lake that you can capture from a variety of degrees, and plenty of local wildlife for those seeking to record the regional flora and fauna.
Ellwood Bluffs, another hidden treasure stowed away in a corner of the region, is another example of the region’s stunning, variant beauty. Acres of untamed wildlands—with a few biking, walking and hiking trails cut into the vast, open space—are covered in gorgeous tall grasses and eye-popping wildflowers that will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to another world.
Golf courses are nice-looking places. In general, that is a fact of life on which probably most will agree. But not every golf course is in Goleta, and, when it comes to aesthetics, views and rolling hills of vibrant green—well, suffice it to say that Goleta’s putting greens give most a run for their money.
Other than sweeping fields on which you can put your swing to the test, Rancho San Marcos treats its visitors to sweeping views of the Santa Ynez River Valley, distant mountain peaks, and the occasional lucky glimpse at local wildlife. Meanwhile, at Glen Annie, manicured fields are cut by bubbling brooks and handcrafted bridges—as well as a beloved and posh clubhouse where fashionable dining takes place throughout the day.
Nobody should skip the Sandpiper Golf Club, which is as much a golf course as it is a stroll into a seeming fantasy world. This course regally carries itself all the way to the edge of the Pacific Ocean, over which its cliff faces stand. Be careful when capturing this view—but don’t miss out on a gorgeous vision of man-managed land meeting the roaring sea.
While the locations mentioned certainly touch on Goleta’s stunning beauty, and will offer plenty of photo inspiration, they’re hardly the only places to snap a memorable photo. The only way to truly understand all of the great possibilities for photography in the region is to visit Goleta—so why not book your stay today?