Goleta ( /ɡəliːtə/; Spanish: [ɡoleta], "schooner") is a city in southern Santa Barbara County, California, USA. It was incorporated as a city in 2002, after a long period as the largest unincorporated, populated area in the county. As of the 2000 census, the Census-designated place (CDP) had a total population of 55,204, however, a significant portion of the census territory of 2000 did not incorporate into the new city. The population was 29,888 at the 2010 census.
It is known for being near the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, although the CDP of Isla Vista is closer.
The area of present-day Goleta was populated for thousands of years by the native Chumash people. Locally they were known by the first European settlers as Canaliños (for the canoes they built for travel to the Channel Islands). One of the largest villages, S'axpilil, was north of the Goleta Slough, not far from the present-day Santa Barbara Airport.