There was so much tar on the beach atr Goleta that in the 1500s the Spanish beached their ships to tar thew bottoms.
In the 50s when I was going with my wife you couldn’t even go on the beach at slough U, UC Santa Barbara, because there was so much tar.
Clear into the late 60s there was an oil slick from the Horshoe Kelp to the Mexican border because of the oil boiling to the surface from that spot 7 miles off Long Beach.
It wouldn’t have been very good advertising for the tourist industry - maybe that’s why no one seems to know about it other than people like you who had personal experience. Or maybe it just suits the enviro agenda to ignore it. That knowledge would sure mess with them now.
Beachcombing at Goleta Point (posted June 6, 2002)
"What you'll need: Be sure to wear surf-shoes or old sneakers to avoid getting tar on your feet on the beach near the tidewater oil field. Bring sunscreen, a hat or visor and two quarts of water for today's long beach walk. Dogs are not allowed on the beach."
Downtown Los Angeles has natural tar seeps (most famously, the La Brea Tar Pits seeps at Curzon and Wilshire). It's a part of the landscape.
I remember getting tar on my feet at the beach as a child.
On the general subject, the La Brea Tar Pits didn’t happen because there wasn’t a ton of hydrocarbons bubbling to the surface in the general area.