Santa Barbara: The Perfect Family Day

Pack up the family and head to Santa Barbara for a day (or more!) of fun in the sun. This itinerary offers a day packed with family-friendly activities sure to leave a lasting impression.

Start with a bike ride along the famous beachfront path, starting at Andree Clark Bird Refuge across from East Beach. Need some wheels? Wheel Fun Rentals offers beach cruisers, tandem bikes and four-wheeled surreys that seat as many as 11.

Ride to Stearns Wharf , one of the area’s most famous places to take a stroll. From the spouting dolphin fountain, turn seaside and wander the shops, grab a bite at Sambo’s on the Beach —a great family-friendly eatery located on Cabrillo Boulevard where diners can take in beautiful harbor views.

Take the family fun south to Carpinteria where young and old alike will find enjoyable beachside activity. Famous for what it calls the “World’s Safest Beach,” this laid-back, family-friendly town is full of tide pools and a sea refuge, as well as seaside campgrounds and a variety of fun dining options. Peak over the cliffs at Carpinteria Bluffs  and you’re likely to see hundreds of seals and their pups on the rocks below.

From prehistoric skeletons to ocean critters, families will love making all sorts of new discoveries at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History , which features two locations. Head to Ty Warner Sea Center at Stearns Wharf to get up close and personal with ocean life or explore the 11-acre main campus in Mission Canyon, featuring fossils, bird exhibits, Chumash artifacts and a planetarium.

Finish the day with a visit to the Santa Barbara Zoo —home to over 500 animals, including giraffes, elephants, leopards, monkeys and much more. Zoo animals and visitors alike enjoy views of the ocean while touring these wild exhibits. 

INFO: visit or call 800-676-1266 to receive a free visitor’s magazine.