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 Ty Warner 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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