Santa Barbara Family Fun Trek

Santa Barbara is the perfect vacation setting for eco-minded families, whether you want to learn more about our natural environment or simply minimize your family's footprint during your travels. We are surrounded by a wealth of natural resources and the manageable size of our destination and top-notch attractions makes exploring with tots or teens in tow a breeze. This itinerary offers countless offbeat treks, ocean adventures and affordable activities that will show your family the greener side of Santa Barbara. You can fit all of the attractions into a day, or take your time and experience our natural paradise - including dozens of beaches and parks - by spreading your family vacation out over two or even three days.

  • Start your day off with a bike ride along the beachfront path beginning at Andree Clark Bird Refuge, a 32-acre expansive sanctuary that provides a safe haven for a diverse bird population including ducks and geese. Get your wheels (beach cruisers, tandem bikes or four-wheeled surreys that seat up to 11) at Wheel Fun Rentals.
  • Little ones will enjoy taking a spin on the classical carousel at Chase Palm Park, a 10-acre waterfront park dedicated to children. Also, make sure to check out the Shipwreck Playground, Great Meadow and prime Pacific view.
  • Head south to Stearns Wharf, where State Street meets the sea. Relish a cone of ice cream from The Great Pacific Company. Also, make sure to stop in the Santa Barbara's Museum of Natural History's Sea Center, where kids can crawl through a tunnel inside a 1,500-gallon tide-pool tank.
  • Soak up the sun, build a sandcastle and watch the kids splashing in the surf at Leadbetter Beach, just west of the Harbor.
  • If you have a couple of free days, ride the zoo train and feed the giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo, known for rarities like its pair of Amur leopards.
  • For a taste of the Wild West, head on over the Santa Barbara Carriage and Western Arts Museum on Castillo Street. This 11,000-square foot museum offers exhibits dating back more than 300 years, including horse-drawn carts and carriages used by pioneer Santa Barbara families.

  • Still craving more fresh air fun? Santa Barbara offers a long list of ways to play outside with this comprehensive list of outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • End your afternoon with a stroll through the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and enjoy exquisite exhibits of California native plants set in beautifully designed landscapes.


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