SANTA BARBARA - Gated Communities

Living in Santa Barbara - Gated Communities

"Is a gated community a good fit for me?"

Gated communities have long been a popular choice for those seeking an added level of privacy and security in their neighborhood. In Santa Barbara, a city known for its breathtaking natural beauty and upscale living, gated communities are no exception.

There are several gated communities in Santa Barbara, each offering its unique style and amenities. Since Santa Barbara offers such different and versatile terrains, it's pertinent to identify your preferences. Is being near the ocean the goal? Do you prefer a warmer climate or a mountain setting? Would you like to live in a 55+ community?

In this article, I will go over the general pros & cons of gated communities and introduce a few of Santa Barbara's more popular options, when it comes to gated community living.


Note: I will only introduce truly guard-gated, or gated communities here.There are other great townhouse communities and developments to consider in Santa Barbara if gated isn't a must.

Pros and Cons of Living in a Gated Community


  • Security: One of the main advantages of living in a gated community is the added security. With gates, fences, and guards, it can be more difficult for unauthorized people to enter the community, which can provide a sense of safety for residents.
  • Amenities: Many gated communities also offer a range of amenities, such as swimming pools, fitness centers, outdoor entertainnment areas, and clubhouses - a bonus to the gated community lifestyle.
  • Maintenance: Especially when considering a second home purchase, a gated community can be a plus regarding the easy maintenance aspect. Gardeners, superintendents, and other service providers are easily accessible to help with taking care of the property when it is unoccupied.
  • Property values: Gated communities often have strict rules and regulations, which can help to maintain the appearance and value of the properties and grounds within the community. This is beneficial for homeowners who want to maintain or increase the value of their property in the future.

Entrance of Diamond Crest Community


  • Cost: One of the main drawbacks of living in a gated community is the cost. Gated communities are often more expensive and can have high HOA fees. Depending on the number of amenities, the age of the complex, and past financial management, the monthly dues can be higher than expected.
  • Restrictions: Gated communities often have strict rules and regulations about what residents can and cannot do. This can be frustrating for those who do not want to be subject to these restrictions.


"Which gated community option in Santa Barbara is right for me?"

• El Escorial Villas

Watch Quick Impression here → 

El Escorial Villas is a 24-hour gate-guarded community situated right by East Beach in Santa Barbara, California. This community with its Mediterranean-style architecture and ample amenities is the ultimate beach lover's dream.

Residents of El Escorial Villas have access to a range of amenities, including a swimming pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and clubhouse. The community also boasts some green spaces, including a central courtyard and landscaped, tropical walking paths, making it a great place for residents to enjoy the beautiful California weather.

El Escorial Villas - Community Pool & Guard Gated Entrance

El Escorial Villas is centrally located, providing residents with easy access to all that the city has to offer. The community is just steps away from East Beach, world-famous beach volleyball, and a variety of dining and entertainment options. The trendy Funk Zone neighborhood, with local wine-tasting rooms, breweries, and happening restaurants, is within walking distance.

Reunion Restaurant - East Beach

The community consists of 261 resort-style condominiums within four three-story structures offering seven distinct floor plans including studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom designs. El Escorial Villas was built in 1991 - many of the apartments have since been updated. Occasionally there are also more "original" units available, priced accordingly. These in-demand units also make great second homes or investment rental properties. Overall, El Escorial Villas is a highly desirable community for those seeking a convenient, maintenance-free lifestyle by the beach.

Beach Volleyball in Santa Barbara, East Beach


• East Beach Townhomes

Street View of East Beach Townhomes

The East Beach townhomes are within the same gates as El Escorial Villas and enjoy similar amenities as the apartments. However, they live more like single-family houses, with mostly three bedrooms on two levels and attached two-car garages. These homes were built in the 70s. But most of them have undergone remodeling since. Located right across from East Beach, many of these units enjoy ocean views. There is easy access to so many of Santa Barbara's most popular activities: 

Bike riding along the Cabrillo Boulevard bike path, playing beach volleyball at East Beach, or taking a relaxing walk along the Bird Refuge next to the complex. Another perk is the neighboring Santa Barbara Zoo - a true highlight for families with younger children. This endearing smaller-sized zoo allows children to get close to the animals. There is a fun play area and a short choo-choo train ride lets you enjoy mountain views as you ride around the zoo.


• Santa Barbara Shoreline Condominiums

Santa Barbara Shoreline Condominiums is a residential complex in a highly desirable location across from Leadbetter Beach in Santa Barbara, California. Elevated from the beach, many of the condos offer breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. The community consists of 41 single-level condominiums and 14 townhomes, with two- and three-bedroom floorplans. They are well-maintained and equipped with modern appliances and finishes. Many of the units feature private balconies or patios, providing residents with a place to relax and take in the beautiful surroundings. Residents of Santa Barbara Shoreline Condominiums can enjoy a range of amenities, including a swimming pool, spa, sport court, and outdoor barbecue area. The complex is gated and provides a 24-hour security system.

View of Shoreline Condominiums from Shoreline Drive

Santa Barbara Shoreline Condominiums is located in a convenient location, with a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options within easy reach. The beach can be accessed down a gated flight of stairs straight from the complex. There are several parks and recreational areas nearby, like Shoreline Park, Santa Barbara Harbor, Stearns Wharf, and more.

Overall, Santa Barbara Shoreline Condominiums is a desirable place to live full- or part-time, offering a combination of luxury, convenience, and stunning views.


• Hitchcock Ranch

Hitchcock Ranch Gated Community is a residential development located near Upper State Street in Santa Barbara, California. It is a smaller boutique-style 16-home complex with 2-story PUDs (Planned Unit Development), built in 1996.

Home at Hitchcock Ranch Lane

The community is surrounded by private gates and features a country-like setting in the middle of Upper State Street's hustle and bustle. The larger scale homes and desirable school attendance of Vieja Valley are some of the many reasons why this community is especially attractive for families.

Residents here enjoy the convenience of a multitude of shopping, restaurants, sports clubs, and entertainment within walking distance. It is also just a short drive from the beautiful beaches of Santa Barbara and provides easy access to the freeway, making the morning commute in any direction more palatable.


• Vintage Ranch Lane

This gated community of 12 spacious luxury Mediterranean homes is a rare find. Located in the quiet and partially somewhat rural neighborhood of Hope Ranch Annex, the homes in this community have easy access to lots of outdoor activities. The More Mesa Bluffs Open Space is within walking distance and offer lots of opportunity for time spent outside. There are horse stables nearby. And the Obern bike path is right around the corner. The larger scale homes were built in 2000 and offer ample living, bedroom, storage, backyard, and garage space. 

Home at Vintage Ranch Lane

In the immediate More Mesa vicinity, there are several other smaller-sized gated communities with freestanding homes, like Diamond Crest, Las Brisas, and Vista de la Cumbre. Some of these complexes offer community pools. They all share an excellent quality of life with nearby access to the open nature space of More Mesa, golf courses, bike trails, and horse facilities.

Watch a quick impression of the Diamond Crest Gated Community at More Mesa →  

Entrance to Las Brisas @ More Mesa


• The Bluffs

The Bluffs Gated Community is a residential development located in Goleta. It is a highly sought-after neighborhood due to its secluded location, luxurious homes, and easy access to the adjacent Sandpiper Golf Course.

The Bluffs, Goleta

The community features a variety of custom-built homes on nice-sized lots. Some of the Mediterranean-style homes have private pools and outdoor entertaining areas, as well as spacious interiors with high-end finishes and appliances.

                                                          Indoor/outdoor living at The Bluffs & Map of Coronado Butterfly Preserve 

Residents of The Bluffs Gated Community have easy access to the vast area and trails of Elwood Bluffs and the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. The community is also located near the highly acclaimed Bacara Ritz Carlton Resort with its renowned restaurants, events, and spa. The Bluffs Gated Community is just a short drive from Goleta's main commercial shopping area Camino Real Marketplace, which offers lots of shopping and dining options and a farmer's market on weekends. 


55+ Communities in Santa Barbara

There are several 55+ communities in Santa Barbara, catering to seniors who are looking for a more relaxed, maintenance-free lifestyle. These communities often offer a range of amenities, such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and social activities, and are designed to provide seniors with a comfortable, quiet, and secure living environment. One example would be Shadow Hills, off San Marcos Pass Rd.

Entrance Gate to Sahdow Hills Community

• Shadow Hills Community

Shadow Hills 55+ Community is a residential development located in the foothills of Santa Barbara, with stunning panoramic views. It is specifically designed for active adults who are over the age of 55. The beautifully landscaped community features a variety of single-family homes and different-sized condos, all of which are designed with the needs of older adults in mind. The homes are well-maintained and equipped with modern appliances and finishes.

View from home at Shadow Hills & Community Pool                                      

Residents of Shadow Hills 55+ Community have access to a range of amenities, including a community pool, fitness center, tennis courts and outdoor barbecue areas. The community also has a variety of social and recreational activities and events, allowing residents to stay active and engaged. 

Shadow Hills 55+ Community is located in a secluded area, yet just a short drive to Santa Barbara's shopping, dining, and entertainment options. From here you are quickly on your way to the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley with a large variety of wineries, great dining, countryside farm visits with apple picking, and more.

If you like to learn more about gated communities in Santa Barbara and hear about homes coming to the market, please register on my website



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