Though Summerland is a small town with a one-street business section that is barely four blocks long, the place is often hopping — though with an ambience much different that its bigger brother to the west, Montecito. Summerland is the quintessential laid-back beach town with modest homes lining the steep hillsides immediately the business strip. You'll find plenty of bathing suits and bare feet in town, a friendly atmosphere and some good places to eat.
From town it is a short walk under the freeway to Lookout Beach and a mile long stretch of sand that is accessible at most tide levels; nearby there are hidden trails just a few blocks from town that will take oyu up to Ortega Hill, the Ortega Ridge Road or the Summerland trails. Not too much further to the east you'll find even more extended hiking opportunities starting from the Greenwell Preserve.
Whether heading down to the beach or up in the hills, when you're back in town Tinkers Burgers, the Summerland Beach Cafe, Stack's Seaside, the Nugget or Cafe Luna provide a great selection of places to eat or enjoy an afternoon cocktail.
In Heaven's Name
Though not known by many, Summerland was actually founded by Henry and Katie Williams, members of the Spiritiualist religion, who wanted to make the areaa center for their beliefs. Named after the Spiritualist name for "heaven", the group's desire to establish a small, quiet haven for their religion was rudely interuppted when a large deposit of natual gas was discovered nearby and soon thereafter, oil. For more about the area's history see the links below.