10 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Santa Barbara

You love Santa Barbara. Maybe you first visited when you were a college student. Then you planned your honeymoon here, spending lazy days on the white sand beaches and evenings dining under the stars at romantic restaurants like Lucky's or Via Maestra 42.

Then you had kids.

Well, chin up buttercup, we have good news for you: Santa Barbara is just as wonderful (perhaps even more so) as a family fun vacation destination! In fact, we had a difficult time limiting this list to just 10 kid-friendly activities.

So where to begin? 

We believe that the perfect day with kids here starts at the beach. Get your fill of sand, sun and swimming at Carpinteria Beach, billed as one of the world's safest beaches because there is no undertow. Then in the afternoon, head to the Ty Warner Sea Center to learn more about marine biology. Or hop on the Landshark for an amphibious cruise to do some land and sea exploring. Finish your day with a trip to Kid's World at Alameda Park. After the kiddos exhaust themselves on the area's best playground, treat yourself to a little room service back at your luxurious hotel.

See? Some things never change.



No family trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a visit to the Santa Barbara harbor! This is a great place to stroll, eat, shop and see the sights. Harbor businesses include shops and restaurants, in addition to the yacht club and Santa...  Read More



Both rugrats and big kids love this super safe beach. Applauded by "Dr. Beach" as one of the safest in the country, Carpinteria State Beach is a hit with locals and visitors alike. A protective reef ensures calm waters with no undertow. Swimming...  Read More

Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market
Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market


For a colorful and delicious outing, take your kiddo(s) to one of the weekly Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Markets. Local farmers and other vendors gather here and sell directly to consumers. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, even fish and...  Read More



Do your kids have energy to spare? Visit the Santa Barbara Rock Gym for an afternoon of indoor exercise like no other. Enjoy 8,500 square feet of indoor climbing spaces. Santa Barbara Rock Gym offers first time climber programs, youth classes...  Read More

Santa Barbara
Alameda Park
Photo courtesy of Nico Lette


Kids are love this downtown park. It's home to Kids World, the best playground in town! There's are swings and slides and towers and turrets, there's even a large spectator area for parents. The rest of the park is nice, too. Trees punctuate the...  Read More



Owned and operated by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, the Sea Center is a wet and wild offshoot, focused on marine life. Creatures of the deep and the not-so-deep steal the spotlight, from eels to starfish. Interactive exhibits...  Read More



A giant skeleton of a blue whale greets you at the entrance to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, letting you know that you have arrived at a magical place dedicated to the wonders of nature. Occupying 11 acres in historic Mission...  Read More

Land And Sea Tours
Photo courtesy of Nico Lette


LAND SHARK! This is the most fun tour in Santa Barbara, primarily because it takes place on a huge open truck-type vehicle that, halfway through the 90-minute tour, turns into a boat and launches into the sea! Yes, Land and Sea Tours offers an...  Read More

Santa Barbara


Elephants, flamingos, lions and even penguins... some of the most intriguing members of the animal kingdom are waiting for you at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Over 500 species are showcased on 30 lush acres overlooking the beach. Special features...  Read More



Santa Barbara's newest kid-friendly attraction is MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation. With three floors of interactive exhibits, this science-driven museum invites curious minds of all ages to explore themes like new tech, music,...  Read More


Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva