The Department of Recreation at UC Santa Barbara is committed to creating a healthy and welcoming campus environment for all students, faculty, staff and community members.The department seeks to promote an active, balanced lifestyle that contributes to the development of the social, emotional and physical skills essential to long-term health and wellbeing. Quality and innovation are guiding principles in all programming and student development efforts.  We strive to be an industry leader in environmental conservation and sustainability.

Offering a wide variety of activities, programs, services and facilities for students, faculty/staff & the community, Recreation is where Gauchos "Find Their Fit" since 1964.

Department facilities include: The Recreation Center and Aquatics Complex, Events Center, Robertson Gymnasium, Tennis Courts (20), Storke Field, Sand Volleyball Courts (2), Recreation Center Fields, Lacrosse Pit, Campus Pool, Santa Barbara Harbor Sailing Facility, Softball Field, Caesar Uyesaka Baseball Stadium, Cachuma Lake Rowing Facility and Harder Stadium.

Recreational Sports

Recreational Sports is division of the Department that includes Intramural Sports, Sports Clubs, Student Events, and Adventure Programs. Funded by student lock in fees, these programs provide opportunities for students explore different ways of challenging their mind, body, and spirit all at a subsidized cost.

Intramural Sports exists for those looking to engage in a physical and competitive play, without an extreme level of commitment. 17 different sports including basketball, bowling, flag football, golf, indoor soccer, softball, tennis, ultimate frisbee, volleyball and more are offered to students to engage in, regardless of previous experience or skill level. With different leagues, tournaments, and flexible game times, IM Sports is perfect for those looking to learn a new sport, make lasting friendships, or practice their talents.

Students who have a strong passion for a certain sport should look into joining one of the 23 Sports Clubs. Athletes sweat it out for the love of the game and competitive achievement. The UCSB Sports Club program is one of the most successful in the nation, boasting 75 National Championship awards and over 1,000 student athletes. If you want to take your skill to the next level against other premier collegiate teams, then Sports Clubs is for you. Intense practices, disciplined coaches, and away games are no problem for our Gauchos. 

Student Events is a multifaceted program that creates, collaborates and supports a diversity of recreational activities. Our events vary in nature from competitive to playful to personalized experiences through sport, play, fitness and overall wellbeing-focused activities. We create numerous one-time, quarterly and annual special events including the annual Fun & Fitness Festival, Turkey Trot, Alumni Softball Tournament and Recess. We collaborate with campus partners in an effort to spread meaningful messages, provide alternative night off events and/or expose students to new experiences including Yoga Nights, Annual Dodgeball Tournament, Mindful Mondays Series, and Warm Up at the REC. We provide events management support for the Recreation Department’s Sport Club Teams as they strive towards excellence.  Lastly, we support student groups coordinating events at recreation department facilities by providing guidance to student leaders through event planning and the campus approval process as well as provide risk management and event support.

Adventure Programs

Adventure Programs is how UCSB tackles outdoor and wilderness trips and skills. It exists to enhance campus and community life by providing educational and recreational experiences through wilderness trips, outdoor recreation classes, ropes courses, and climbing center programs.  Meet new people, hone your skills, and experience the awesome wonder of nature. If you have the urge to explore, there are various opportunities for trips such as Santa Cruz Island Kayak Adventure and High Sierras Backpacking. Learn something new with aerial silks, canyoneering, rock climbing, and SCUBA certification courses. For those who enjoy rigorous outdoor activities, the Leadership Training Course is a 5 month course that gives students the foundation to become an outdoor guide. Lastly the First Year Outdoor Adventures (FYOA), is for incoming students- freshman and transfer- to get an opportunity to go on an one week leadership and bonding trip.  


The Aquatics program encompasses the Department’s pool facilities, professional staff and lifeguards, swimming and water fitness classes, and youth swimming programs. The Recreation Center pool includes an Olympic sized pool, diving well, spa, and handicap access – all overseen by student lifeguards. In addition to free swim, classes are taught by certified instructors throughout the year while youth programs typically take place during the summer.  

Gaucho Pulse Health & Fitness Services

Gaucho Pulse is a health and fitness program that offers research and evidenced based services for a highly competitive price. The accredited professionals that run the program believe in unity of mind and body, offering massage and nutrition sessions in addition to personal training and bootcamps. Another area of expertise is in faculty & staff wellness courses, which are offered during lunch hours or right after work for the convenience of University employees. However, Gaucho Pulse is open to all students, faculty, and community members.

Gaucho REC

Gaucho REC (Recreation and Exercise Classes) are for leisure and personal interest only. Offerings range from arts and crafts to yoga, or from music to martial arts. There are no pressures, exams, (except for certification courses), or grades, simply learn and enjoy! Gaucho REC offerings a great opportunity to learn something new, keep in shape, or sharpen your skills - no experience necessary!

Group Fitness/ Cycling Classes

These classes are designed to bring fitness into new dimensions of fun and sweat. Through these programs, people will get the most out of their resistance training exercises and are taught proper form, technique and intensity in whichever discipline the class is being taught in.

Group Fitness classes are taught by professional instructors who aim to get you to the next level of performance. Join in the camaraderie with others who will sweat by your side as you go through offerings such as cardio circuit, kickboxing, pilates, step interval, and more.

Group Cycling is a high intensity cardio workout choreographed to music from warm up to cool down. Three different types of classes are offered for multiple skill levels: All Level, Endurance Ride and Cycle & Core. These classes are designed for high energy and heart-pumping exercise and serves as a cross training tool for either newly starting or an existing fitness routine.  Our Schwinn Fitness™ certified instructors are there to keep you focused, motivated and engaged for a results oriented workout.

Youth Programs

Department of Recreation Youth Programs offers quality summer camps and classes that draws thousands of participants from the Santa Barbara area and around the world each year. The popular Summer Day Camps have been running for the past 34 years, introducing children to action-packed adventure and opportunities to make new friends. Activities include swimming, ropes courses, soccer, field trips, nature hikes, and more. Popular youth aquatics programs include Surf & Kayak Camp, and the Junior Lifeguard program. A variety of third party camps are also held on Department Facilities, providing an excellent and well-rounded selection for parents and youth.