Frequently Asked Questions

BBQ on Stearns Wharf Hours
  • Question: received online from contact page
  • Just wondering if we can bbq on the pier with a propane burner while we fish. Thank you!
  • Answer: No open flames on the wharf, also no smoking.
Stearns Wharf Hours
Are Bikes allowed on Stearns Wharf?
Question: Are bikes allowed on Stearn's wharf?
Answer: Yes, bikes are allowed, however the four wheel Surrey bikes you rent are not allowed.
Tour and Charter Bus Parking areas
Any vehicle over 20' is prohibited from accessing Stearns Wharf because of the limited turning radius and other considerations on Stearns Wharf. All tour buses can park in the zone designated “Tour Bus Parking” near the Santa Barbara Visitor Center, on Cabrillo Blvd. just past the Garden St. intersection.

A mere 50 yards away is Stearns Wharf, where a medley of shops, restaurants, a museum, wine tasting, renting fishing gear or even get your palm read, all of this and more await you. A short stroll up the Wharf gives the casual stroller the beautiful views of the Harbor (where all the boats are parked), the panoramic views of the mountains as well as the islands offshore.

Tour and Charter Bus directions for parking on Cabrillo Blvd. If you are coming from the south (going North on 101), exit at Garden, turn left at the bottom of the off ramp, proceed until you reach Cabrillo, then turn right on park on the right in the designated Charter bus parking zone.

To view the map in a full size page, click here.

Renting Wheel Chairs on Stearns Wharf
The company to contact regarding wheelchairs and rides is “Easy Lift” at (805) 681-1181 and website:
Lost and Found
The Lost and Found for missing items is located in the Harbor Patrol Office at 132-A Harbor Way. Phone number is (805) 564-5530. All found items should make their way to this office if found on the Wharf or in the Harbor.
Stearns Wharf Pet Policy
Dogs are allowed Stearns Wharf and there are rules/laws/regulations that govern animals and/or dogs. Most of the laws are common among municipalities. For example, dogs must be on a leash, less than 6' in length, the dog must always be under the immediate control of the owner, you must clean up after your dog, and for Santa Barbara dogs are not permitted on the beach in city limits and dogs left in vehicles when the weather is hot is not advised.

There are a couple of restaurants that have outdoor seating that may allow you to have your dog sit nearby while you enjoy a burger (Char West-805-962-5631) or a lobster taco (SB Shellfish 805-966-6676). For complete details on our animal regulations, please visit our website, (Municipal code, section 6) , or feel free to contact the Waterfront Department's Property Management Specialist, Patrick Henry at 805-897-1961 or Patrick Henry at Santa BarbaraCA . gov.

Stearns Wharf Fishing is Free
For all fellow anglers who like to fish off of Piers and Wharfs, fishing on Stearns Wharf is free. You will find supplies and bait at Stearns Wharf Bait and Tackle for all of your fishing needs.
Stearns Wharf Permits Photo & Film
Film Production on Stearns Wharf For photo and film permits please contact the Waterfront Department at 805-564-5531.
Walking Shoes
It is not recommended to wear high heels. The heels can get stuck between the planks and heels can get broken. Flat comfortable shoes are suggested for walking on Stearns Wharf.
No bare feet on Stearns Wharf
Stearns Wharf Sign
No Requests for Donations or Businesses Allowed
We do not permit person(s) to “set up a station” for selling/displaying of any items for sale, massages, etc. We do not permit any requests for donations or sales in the roadway or on the walkway since the free flow of vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic is paramount for everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Stearns Wharf is an old wooden wharf with very limited space.
Any merchant related ventures (no carts or stands)
We appreciate your interest in wishing to conduct business in the Santa Barbara Waterfront. We receive numerous business proposals annually and although we appreciate you wanting to do business in the Waterfront, we do not allow these types of business activities. As far as the permissibility of such an operation I can direct you to our Municipal Code.

    • SB Municipal Code Chapter 17.28.010: Permit Required - Business Activity: Except as expressly authorized in writing by the Waterfront Director or his or her designee, no person shall engage in any business or commercial activity of any kind whatsoever in the Harbor District without first having applied for and obtained the appropriate license, lease or permit. (Ord. 5528, 2010; Ord. 4757, 1992; Ord. 3517 §2(part), 1972.)


The Harbor District as defined in the Municipal Code Section 17.04.010.M is the entire waterfront of the City. More specifically: M. HARBOR DISTRICT. The entire Waterfront of the City, including all navigable waters and all tidelands and submerged lands, whether filled or unfilled, situated below the line of mean high tide, bounded by the limits of the City as now fixed or hereafter may be extended. (Ord. 5386, 2006; Ord. 4757, 1992; Prior Code §24.1.)

The entire Municipal Code is available at: and on Chapter 17.28 BUSINESS ACTIVITY AND ADVERTISING IN HARBOR. This section states that you must meet a number of criteria to do business in the Harbor including leasable space.

To inquire about any space for lease, feel free to contact the Waterfront Department's Property Management Specialist, Patrick Henry at 805-897-1961 or

Fun Facts about Stearns Wharf from ChatGPT
Stearns Wharf is an iconic landmark in Santa Barbara, California, and is the oldest working wharf on the West Coast of the United States. Here are some fun facts about Stearns Wharf:

  • Stearns Wharf was built in 1872 by John P. Stearns, a local lumberman, and served as a commercial and passenger transportation hub.
  • The wharf was originally built to accommodate steamships and provide a convenient way to transport goods and people between Santa Barbara and other ports.
  • In the early 20th century, Stearns Wharf became a popular destination for tourists and fishermen, and it still is today.
  • Stearns Wharf has survived several natural disasters, including the earthquake of 1925 and the severe storms of 1983.
  • Today, Stearns Wharf is home to several restaurants, shops, and attractions, including the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, which features interactive exhibits and live marine animals.
  • Stearns Wharf is a popular spot for fishing, and anglers can catch a variety of fish, including rockfish, mackerel, and halibut.
  • The wharf offers stunning views of the Santa Barbara coastline, the Santa Ynez Mountains, and the Channel Islands.
  • Stearns Wharf has been featured in several movies, including "The Graduate" and "It's Complicated."
  • The wharf is also home to the famous Moby Dick Restaurant, which has been serving seafood since 1968.
  • In 2019, Stearns Wharf celebrated its 147th anniversary, and it continues to be a beloved landmark and popular destination for visitors to Santa Barbara.
Website Accessibility
We strive to accommodate all visitors and this website is tested routinely for Accessibility on Webaim and other testing sites. For more details on accessibility, visit website accessibility.


Stearns Wharf