Hollister Ranch Public Access

History  •   Cattle Co-Op  •  Schools  •  Fire  •  Surf  •   Public Access •  Pastimes

Is Hollister Ranch open to the public?

The Hollister Ranch Owners' Association's mission is to maintain Hollister Ranch in a manner that protects the traditions and beauty of the area for those who acquire property here, while allowing access to select education, conservation, and scientific groups.

Special Comment:  In California, the State owns the coastline's tidelands, sometimes known as the “wet beach,” lying seaward of the mean high water line, and thus the public has always had access to the wet beach on the Gaviota Coast, which includes Hollister Ranch's tidelands.  The eastern boundary of the Ranch is adjacent to Gaviota State Beach, which is itself adjacent to Highway 101 and open to the public.  People can and sometimes do use boats to access the state-owned “wet beach” along the Ranch’s southern boundary. The Ranch does not attempt to stop this activity.

Hollister Ranch Conservancy

To help preserve and protect the Ranch environment, the Ranch created the Hollister Ranch Conservancy.   Among other duties, the Conservancy administers a managed access program, begun in the mid-1970’s, which provides access to the Ranch to scientific and educational groups, including various university and private institutional researchers. The Ranch Conservancy regularly hosts tours by the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, various historical societies, the Audubon Society, and other groups, free of charge.  Each year, the Conservancy brings hundreds of Santa Barbara-area grade school children into the Ranch to participate (at no cost to the schools) in the Conservancy’s “Tidepool Classroom,” an experience that allows students to observe intertidal life forms not readily found elsewhere along the coast. 

Public Access Through Partnerships

"Hollister Ranch has a long history of encouraging public access through partnerships. The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens, and the Audubon Society, are all participating partners.

"In addition, Operation Surf, which helps disabled veterans overcome everyday challenges and transform their outlook and life, holds programs at Hollister Ranch. As a result, thousands of people visit Hollister Ranch every year.

"We encourage new partnerships and urge your group to reach out to us today to see if we can provide access and further our collaborative initiatives."

Hollister Ranch Tide Pool School

The tide pools at Hollister Ranch are a valuable and unique natural resource, offering an unparalleled educational experience for children. The Ranch's Tide Pool School, led by experienced biologists, provides a hands-on opportunity for children ages 5 to 12 to explore these pristine tide pools and learn about the diverse marine life that inhabit them.

The program welcomes hundreds of grade school students, many from underserved communities, from the neighboring areas to participate in tide pool explorations. During each class, participants are introduced to a wide range of marine life including mussels, sea hares, octopi, crabs, and even the occasional lobster or shark. For many of these children, this experience is a rare chance to observe and learn about plant and animal life found in their local tide pools and otherwise only seen in museums. This tide pool school is a valuable educational opportunity that helps promote conservation and stewardship of this valuable ecosystem for future generations.

Contact the HROA for upcoming dates and availability! 

Academic Research

Hollister Ranch, located on the Southern California coast, is home to a variety of fragile coastal ecosystems that are easily impacted by human activity. The Ranch recognizes the importance of preserving these ecosystems and protecting the unique plant and animal life that inhabit them. As a result, the Ranch provides scientists, educators, and students with the opportunity to study and observe a largely undisturbed coastal environment.

The Ranch serves as a valuable laboratory for scientists, providing the opportunity to conduct wide-ranging marine, botanic, and geological studies. The Ranch works closely with research teams from prestigious institutions such as the University of California campuses at Santa Barbara, Berkeley, Santa Cruz and Riverside, the University of Florida, Occidental College, and other academic institutions.

The Ranch also partners with organizations such as UCSB, UCLA, and UC Santa Cruz on inter-tidal studies of seaweed, limpets, and water temperature. It partners with Channel Islands Restoration to enhance the already healthy snowy plover population through future mitigation programs. The Ranch's Conservancy operates a monitoring post at the Ranch's Shoreline Preserve—a two-plus mile protected zone teeming with sea life.

In order to protect the Ranch's ecosystems and natural resources, public access is carefully managed. Professional naturalists supervise group visits and group size is limited to prevent damage to natural habitats. Specific restrictions are put in place to prevent foot traffic in research areas and limit the collection of samples. This approach helps to preserve the Ranch's natural resources for future generations.

Contact us about these ownership Interests that may be or become available.  From ~$689,000

Contact us about Hollister Ranch rental properties that are or may become available.  Due to gate access, rentals are available to Hollister Ranch Owners only.