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Park Hours: FAQ

What does the City of Santa Barbara’s Parks and Recreation Department do?

The Department manages a total of 60 parks and sports facilities that range from open space, passive, neighborhood, beach, and community parks, as well as a golf course and 16 community buildings. The Department is responsible for providing citizens with safe, clean, usable parks and beaches, and promoting stewardship of national resources within open space parks. 

What changes were recently made to park hours?

On September 17, 2019, the Santa Barbara City Council amended section 15.16.260 of the City’s municipal code, pertaining to park hours. The ordinance established consistent park and recreation area hours of sunrise to a half hour past sunset, except by permit or as specified otherwise. This includes City parks, softball fields, soccer fields, golf courses, tennis courts, skateboard facilities, and seasonal swimming pools. Adjacent parking lots also close when parks close. Sunrise and sunset are as determined by the National Weather Service.

Hours for staffed recreation centers, including the Cabrillo Pavilion (once reopened), Carrillo Recreation Center, Franklin Neighborhood Center, Louise Lowry Davis Center, Westside Neighborhood Center, and Los Baños del Mar Pool, as well as the Laguna Street administrative office, did not change.

Are there exceptions?

Yes. Skofield Park, Franceschi Park, and Hilda McIntyre Ray Park open at 8:00 a.m., rather than at sunrise, as these parks have on-site staff caretakers who open the gates at designated times.

Exceptions are still made for permitted special events, recreational activities, and rentals. For instance, areas with lighted sports fields such as Cabrillo Ball Park, Dwight Murphy Field, the Municipal Tennis Center, and Pershing Park may be open after dark for approved activities. 

Why was this change made?

The change is designed to improve park management and maintenance, enhance park safety, and support productive community use of City parks and recreation facilities. Previously, park hours varied by location, creating confusion for park users. Establishing consistent opening and closing times provides clarity for the public, improves park management and maintenance, and simplifies enforcement for Park Rangers and the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Who should I contact with questions?

Please call the Parks and Recreation Department at (805) 564-5418 or send an email to

Playground Regulations: FAQ

What changes were recently made to playground regulations?

Adults (18 and older) are only allowed in City of Santa Barbara playgrounds when they are accompanying a child age 12 or younger. This only applies to playgrounds where a sign is posted indicating it is designated exclusively for children only. Adults may accompany children with special needs ages 13 and over in playground areas.

Why was this change made?

The reason for the new playground regulation is, first and foremost, safety. City of Santa Barbara playgrounds give children a no-cost, easily-accessible opportunity for unstructured play, which has been shown to play a vital part in healthy child development. It is the Parks and Recreation Department’s goal to protect children using playgrounds, as well as protecting the playgrounds so they will be available to all for years to come.

Playground equipment is generally designed for children age 12 and younger, not adults. When playground equipment is used by adults, it puts children at risk by weakening structures.

What should I do if I see an adult without a child at a City playground?

If you see of an adult not accompanying a child 12 or younger and it concerns you, call a park ranger at (805) 897-1941 or the police non-emergency line at (805) 897-2300. 

Portable Barbecues in City Parks: FAQ

What changes were recently made regarding use of portable barbecues in parks?

The new ordinance clarifies acceptable use of portable barbecues and camp stoves in City parks: portable barbecues may be used at any park picnic table or on City beaches.

There is one exception to this rule: portable barbecues are not allowed at Parma Park, due to wildfire risk. 
Please note that a few local parks such as, Elings Park, Rocky Nook Park, and Arroyo Burro County Beach Park are not City of Santa Barbara parks, so this regulation may not apply there.

What qualifies as a portable barbecue?

Any portable barbecue or camp stove that is self-contained, enclosed (with a lid), and raised at least six inches off a surface may be used in any City of Santa Barbara park picnic table.

How should I dispose of hot coals or ash from my portable barbecue?

After using a portable barbecue in a designated picnic area, you must remove your hot coals and ash from the park yourself, unless a hot coal box is provided in the park.

Currently, only Oak Park, Shoreline Park, and Leadbetter Beach Park have hot coal receptacles. To stay informed about this and other Parks and Recreation Department initiatives, please sign up for our email list at and follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2019
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