Goleta Beach runs from Campus Point on the west end to several hundred yards past the Goleta Pier to the east. This wide stretch of sandy beach offers some of the best and most diverse shore and inshore opportunities in the Santa Barbara area.
There are perch and corbina all along the beach, and the perch can be jumbo sized around here. When the loose kelp is not too thick, this is definitely a beach to try.
Goleta Beach is also one of the few beaches in the area where you stand a good chance at catching halibut, and even white sea bass in the surf. You might have to wade out a little ways, but a small swimbait or jerkbait cast just past the surf can be very productive in the spring through fall at this beach.
The surf is generally small at Goleta Beach due to the protection offered by Campus Point. The most sheltered area is about 200-300 yards inside the point. Further down by the pier can have larger waves that break right on to the shore, but generally - this is a great area to launch kayaks or float tubes.
Offshore at Goleta Beach is mostly sand. The notable exceptions are "the pipe" which runs parallel to the pier out approximately 1 mile. The pipe is a sewer outfall (treated of course) and it is covered by rocks and kelp along its length. This is a good area to try for everything from calico and sand bass, to rock fish, ling cod, and halibut.
There are a few kelp beds by campus point, but nothing spectacular. The real draw at Goleta is the halibut and occasional white seabass that live inshore here. Fishing in 5 to 30 feet of water around the sparse grass and sandy flats is a great way to pick up these populare species.
Parking is free at Goleta Beach proper by the pier but you have to pay if you park out by the point on the UCSB campus. The parking system is utterly confusing at the University and I will not attempt to describe it here. Just look on the 'Iron Ranger' parking ticket dispensers and do your best to sort it all out.