Stay at Santa Barbara's 10 Best Family-Friendly Hotels

Don't let family vacation time intimidate you. Travel with the whole crew and stay at one of the many family-friendly hotels in Santa Barbara. Hotels that will welcome your whole brood can help remove some of the stress of a group trip... so you can focus on time with your loved ones.

This list will help you pick the right Santa Barbara hotel to host your family.

If you're looking for a lavish resort with activities for the kids, get away from it all at Bacara Resort and Spa. Their Monarch Kids' Club will keep little ones supervised while the adults enjoy the award-winning spa and onsite wine tasting room.

If you're looking for something near the beach and downtown, you have quite a few options. Fess Parker's Double Tree Resort is located just across from the beach and Stearns Wharf. For a more modern take on travel, book your accommodations at Hotel Indigo. This boutique hotel is located in the heart of the Funk Zone, has a restaurant onsite and is even Fido-friendly.

Or if you like a little kitsch and don't need all the frills, the Motel 6 here might be just the thing. Did you know it's the very first one? And it's just two blocks from the beach!


Autocamp is an affordable boutique hotel with a twist... instead of rooms, guests rent vintage Airstream trailers! These shiny aluminum digs feature clean, completely refurbished interiors and relaxing outdoor patios. Choose from five trailers that each sleep two or more and include full kitchens with everything you need to make hot coffee or tea in the morning. One even has a clawfoot tub! Free use of beach cruiser bicycles (and helmets) comes with every reservation. Located at the perfect midpoint between uptown and downtown Santa Barbara, Autocamp is within easy walking and riding distance of many area attractions, shops and restaurants.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: If you have a small family that enjoys an adventure, Autocamp is the place for you. Stay in a vintage trailer and ride bicycles everywhere!

Read more about AutoCamp Santa Barbara →

Located just blocks away from downtown Santa Barbara and in the heart of the the Funk Zone - Santa Barbara's up and coming art and wine district - Hotel Indigo offers modern accommodations for aesthetically-minded visitors, their families and their animal amigos. Smaller, European-style rooms are decorated with works by local artists. Most rooms have quiet, unfussy patios. A lounge area with art library invites guests to lounge in a communal space. Many great restaurants and wine tasting rooms are within walking distance. The beach and Stearns Wharf are only two blocks away. A very fun place for frequent travelers looking to experience the more urban side of Santa Barbara!

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Hotel Indigo is a little spot of modern heaven, just blocks from the beach, art studios and wine tasting room.

Read more about Riviera Beach House →

Book a room at the El Encanto Hotel & Garden Villas to experience one of Santa Barbara's most legendary properties. Perfectly situated in a secluded, quiet part of town, the El Encanto is famous for its legendary views and luxury standards. Long a favorite of the hollywood crowd, the recently reopened El Encanto Treate every guest like a celebrity- right down to outfitted your bed with appropriately monogrammed linens. There is a spa, restaurant and bar onsite. Stroll the lush grounds or stop for a refreshing cocktail and you'll feel transported above the hustle and bustle of daily life - exactly the goal at the El Encanto.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: There is no prettier place for your family to get away from it all.

Read more about Belmond El Encanto →


So maybe you're not the type of person that is typically impressed by a Motel 6. Well, that's fine, but this one, this particular Motel 6, deserves a little extra notice. Why? Well because it's actually the original Motel 6, opened in 1962. That's right, the very first one! (Rooms were $6 a night, hence the name.) In addition to that little bit of trivia, it's truly lovely. There are granite countertops in the bathrooms, LCD TVs in every room and an ocean view from the sun deck. You can easily walk to the zoo or to the sand in just minutes. Your best bet for a budget stay with your family at the beach!

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Not every family vacation has to cost a fortune, right? This is the original Motel 6, and it's not far from the beach.

Read more about Motel 6 Santa Barbara - Beach →

Located on upper State St., just a short walk away from midtown shops, bars, restaurants and the Santa Barbara Municipal Golf Course, the Agave Inn has everything you need without the unnecessary frills. The Agave Inn provides free parking, free continental breakfast and free wireless Internet for every guest. All 13 rooms boast flat screen TVs, iPod docs, microwaves, refrigerators, heaters and air conditioners. A few even feature full kitchens. The decor combines Mexican pop styling with clean modern lines - just the thing to make you feel right at home in beautiful Santa Barbara. Free parking and close to several major shopping centers.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The Agave Inn is located on upper State Street in a more residential part of town. It's clean, convenient and not too pricey.

Read more about Agave Inn →


The Inn at East Beach is a surprising budget find just steps away from, well, East Beach. This hip motel has a retro flare with amenities unusual for its price bracket. For example, if you're headed to the beach, stop at the front desk to pick up towels, umbrellas, and even boogie boards. There are guest laundry facilities on site and, of course, a warm pool if you feel that the beach is just too far away (it's about a 3 minute walk from the inn, fyi). A continental breakfast is free for every guest, but don't try to sneak anyone in; Frank, the legendary general manager, greets every party upon arrival and is quick to shoo outsiders away. Frank is also quick to give advice about his beloved city, so if you have any questions during your stay in Santa Barbara, just ask Frank!

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The Inn at East Beach has everything your family needs for a fun stay in Santa Barbara, including beach towels and umbrellas you can borrow.

Read more about The Inn at East Beach →

For a little beachside pampering for you and your mutt, book your stay at Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort, a luxury resort directly across from the beach and just half a mile from downtown Santa Barbara. Bring up to two of your four-legged friends (75 lbs or less) with you for an additional fee of only $25 per night. All rooms include a private balcony or patio, making it the perfect place to enjoy one of Santa Barbara's typically mild evenings with your special someone. Three tennis courts, a fitness center and a shuffleboard court are available for guest use. If relaxing is more your speed, visit the Doubletree's full service spa and salon. There are four onsite restaurants as well as a full service bar and a BBQ area. Fess Parker's Doubletree Resort is pet friendly.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The beach is across the street, the zoo is just a walk away and an impressive breakfast buffet is included with your stay.

Read more about The Fess Parker Santa Barbara - DoubleTree by Hilton Resort →

The Canary Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel that has room enough for families of all sizes. Less than a block off State St. in the middle of Santa Barbara's downtown district, the Canary features five floors of beautiful decor (handpainted tiles! custom wrought iron!), dining and entertaining amenities, and gorgeous rooms. Four-poster beds, hardwood floors, plush robes and private balconies are just the beginning. And did we mention the rooftop pool with amazing views? There is also a top restaurant and bar onsite. All the fun that Santa Barbara has to offer is within easy walking or driving distance from this hotel.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: An impressive rooftop pool with a view of the city makes downtown hotel one the kids will remember!

Read more about Kimpton Canary Hotel →

If your hotel checklist looks something like this - beachfront, exclusive amenities, possible celebrity sightings, ridiculous levels of hospitality - then the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara is where you want to stay with your family. And you can even bring your prized pooch or pooches! One of the most beautiful hotels in Santa Barbara, the Biltmore is located just across the street from Butterfly Beach, one of the most pristine white sand beaches in Southern California. And when you book a Jungle Room category or higher, access is granted to the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club. It's fun for the whole family! Downtown Santa Barbara is just a short drive away, and one of Montecito's main shopping and dining districts is within walking distance.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: Directly across from Butterfly Beach, this hotel also gives guests access to the legendary Coral Casino beach club for swimming and sunning.

Read more about Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara →

When you're ready to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, look no further than the Bacara Resort and Spa. Located on 78 acres of pristine coastline on Santa Barbara's northern shore, The Bacara offers you and your family a taste of unbridled luxury. Book one of their 354 guestrooms. Each has an ocean, garden or mountain view and about half have fireplaces. Visit their world-class spa for a rejuvenating treatment or trip to the sauna. You can take a dip in one of their saline pools or simply walk down to the beach. Work up an appetite and enjoy a delicious meal with your group on the outdoor patio of their Bistro Spa and Cafe. For a one-time fee for $150, your pet can also join you in your room. A plush pet bed and food and water bowls will be provided.

Recommended for Family-Friendly Hotels because: The Monarch Kids' Club offers little guests a supervised way to play on Saturdays and Sundays, so adults can enjoy some grown up time.

Read more about The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara →


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