Santa Barbara Celebrates Family with Fun for All Ages: Offering a Diversity of Activities, The American Riviera® is a Special Place for Multi-Generational Travel

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Many travelers are familiar with Santa Barbara’s top-notch wine and cuisine, year-round summer weather and miles of gorgeous beaches, but may be surprised to learn that The American Riviera® is also a leading destination for multi-generational travel. Visit Santa Barbara is happy to share special activities and hotel offers available for families this spring and summer.

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Family Having Fun at a Santa Barbara Beach; Photo by Ron Berg

Many travelers are familiar with Santa Barbara’s top-notch wine and cuisine, year-round summer weather and miles of gorgeous beaches, but may be surprised to learn that The American Riviera® is also a leading destination for multigenerational travel. With a variety of activities for adults and children alike, Santa Barbara makes for the ideal family getaway.

There are limitless reasons Santa Barbara should be at the top of everyone’s list for places to visit over spring break or summer vacation, but here are the top ten reasons why Santa Barbara is the choice for multi-generational travel:
1.    Location: Enjoy a sun-soaked Southern California vacation – without the crowds typical of many SoCal destinations. In Santa Barbara, visitors will find relaxed beaches, great quality of life and family-friendly resorts (perfect for kids and grandparents alike!).
2.    Convenience: When traveling with kids, there is no end to the fun and adventure one can have... or the stuff that needs to be carried around. That's why we've made it easy to travel light and rent everything needed right here – bikes, snorkel gear, kayaks and more, are all available for rent in Santa Barbara.
3.    Affordability: Santa Barbara offers an abundance of priceless treasures – literally! There are more than 101 free things to do and see. History buffs will love the Red Tile Walking Tour through historic downtown and the Painted Caves of the Chumash Indians. Or enjoy the great outdoors with whale watching at Shoreline Park or live concerts in Chase Palm Park and the Stow House gardens – all without breaking the bank.
4.    Natural Wonders: Surrounded by a wealth of natural resources, Santa Barbara is an ideal destination for eco-minded families. Experience a natural paradise with a visit to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, a place of beauty and serenity where visitors can learn about plant life and nature conservation. Take your little ones for a spin on the classic carousel at Chase Palm Park, a 10-acre waterfront park dedicated to children.
5.    Santa Barbara Zoo: Santa Barbara is home to one of the country’s most beautiful zoos! At the Santa Barbara Zoo, the whole family will marvel at the menagerie of exotic animals. Visitors can ride the Zoo Train, play zookeeper for a day, take the elephant walk, go on a zoo tour, and even hand-feed the giraffes.
6.    Under the Sea, to Outer Space: The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History offers visitors of all ages a chance to discover and reconnect with nature. Take the kids to more than a museum – take them on a cosmic quest into outer space in the Gladwin Planetarium, under the ocean at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, where kids can crawl through a tunnel inside a 1,500-gallon tide-pool tank, or onto the trails with a hike along the Nature Trail and The Museum Backyard along Mission Creek.
7.    Beachside Fun: Families of all ages agree, Santa Barbara is home to beautiful beaches. Aside from miles of pristine coastline, adults and children alike enjoy Santa Barbara’s beachside playgrounds, rollerblading trails, picnic facilities, and restaurants.
8.    Get Moving: Families who play together stay together, and in Santa Barbara there is no shortage of prime play space. Alameda Park in downtown Santa Barbara boasts exciting playground equipment for the kids, shaded areas for adults to relax with a book, and plenty of greenspace for a family game of catch.
9.    New Skills: Pick up a skill to showoff back home in Santa Barbara. Beaches along The American Riviera® are dotted with schools teaching all ages to surf, stand-up paddle board, and kayak.
10.    Family Memories: Santa Barbara serves as the perfect backdrop to create lasting family memories for years to come. From the coastline to key attractions, the city lends vacation options for generations of family members to enjoy.

Don’t miss these activities, perfect for families this spring and summer:

  •     Santa Barbara’s annual Earth Day Festival (April 18th - 19th, 2015) aims for sustainability, with electricity for this year’s Festival generated by the sun and from biodiesel. The two days will be comprised of live music performances, speakers and family programming.
  •     Don’t miss the I’Maddonari Italian Street Painting Festival May 23rd – 25th, 2015. Madonnari, or street painters, transform the Mission plaza using pastels on pavement to create 150 vibrant and colorful, large scale images. Bring the entire family to this free event.
  •     Grab a blanket and a picnic basket and head to Chase Palm Park Thursday evenings in July and August for a popular summertime activity – Concerts in the Park. Kids and adults will enjoy the different bands playing each week.
  •     For those that can’t get enough live music, take the family to Music at the Ranch, another summertime concert series on Tuesday evenings at The Stow House. Picnics are welcome and food is available for purchase.
  •     Guests can drink in the view – and local wine – at a new evening event at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s scenic hilltop on the third Thursdays of June, July and August. The Sunset Sips events will also feature special animal encounters, train rides, giraffe feedings, hors d’oeuvres, and more. Be sure to stop by the giraffe exhibit to say hello to Baby Buttercup, a Masai giraffe born in November and his newest playmate due in March 2015.
  •     The Santa Barbara Museum of Art brings art to life to ignite imagination, stimulate thought, and generate rewarding experiences. The museum boasts a collection of 27,000 works of art -- an art museum of magnitude and quality more commonly found in cities eight times the size of Santa Barbara! SBMA offers several family-friendly activities this spring. At Family 1st Thursdays (March 5th and April 2nd) museum teaching artists will assist families in creating special exhibition-based art projects. From March 30th to April 3rd, the Spring ArtVenture Ceramics Camp introduces students to the basic techniques of sculptural and functional ceramics including hand building and wheel throwing in a fun and relaxed environment.
  •     This summer, families will enjoy Garden Explorations, a walk around the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to discover thorns, spines and prickles; how seeds travel; the milkweed community; flowers and insects; water critters, and more! Available most Saturday mornings, the tour is suitable for all ages.

Stay and Play
Take advantage of all the wonderful things to see and do by staying at one of Santa Barbara’s top-notch hotels:

  •     One of the most picturesque of Southern California hotels, The Fess Parker – A Doubletree by Hilton Resort offers the perfect scenery for a vacation of any kind. With the Family Fun Package, bring the family and enjoy daily breakfast and internet while exploring Santa Barbara! Also consider the Parent’s Date Night Package. After a day of family fun, parents will enjoy a special night to themselves while the children are pampered at the resort.
  •     Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Bacara Resort & Spa is a Mediterranean-style luxury resort, featuring Spanish colonial-style rooms, two oceanfront saltwater pools with cabanas, tennis courts, and other exclusive guest amenities. The Monarch Kids’ Club, available during spring break and summer/winter holidays, is a place for fun and exploration for children ages 5 through 12.
  •     At Best Western Plus South Coast Inn, stay close to the beach and enjoy great value. The Santa Barbara Airport is close by, making it easy to catch early morning flights, and the hotel is only steps away from beautiful beaches and quaint restaurant and dining options. From March 20th to April 10th, the Best Western Plus South Coast Inn is offering a family-friendly Zoo Package special, including a free zoo ticket for each night stayed! The package is available Sundays to Thursdays.
  •     Epitomizing the casually sophisticated California lifestyle, Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara invites guests to indulge in everything from tours of local wineries to surfing, lazing on the beach or lounging poolside at the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club. Serve, spike and dig! Families at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara can spend a day on the sand sharpening their beach volleyball skills with two time Olympian, gold medalist and Santa Barbara native Todd Rogers as their personal coach. For children that would rather ride the waves, guests can embark on a customized surfing expedition with pro surfer Tom Curren, acknowledged as one of the sport’s true geniuses who changed the world of surfing forever. Both workshops can be tailored to any age or skill level.

To learn more about the family travel experiences available in Santa Barbara, check out our Family Fun Trek for outdoor adventures or Santa Barbara Family Ideas for fun-filled activities for all ages.

About Santa Barbara
Featured on the cover of Travel + Leisure in May 2013 and voted Best Getaway by L.A. Times Readers’ Choice Awards in 2012, Santa Barbara is located just 92 miles north of Los Angeles and 332 miles south of San Francisco, on the Pacific coastline. Visitors can arrive via scenic Highway 101, train, bus or by flying into Santa Barbara Municipal Airport or Los Angeles International Airport. For travel and accommodation information and to request a free copy of the official Santa Barbara Visitors Magazine, contact Visit Santa Barbara at 800.676.1266, 805.966.9222, tourism(at)santabarbaraca(dot)com or SantaBarbaraCA.com. Visitor information is also available at the Visitor Center, 1 Garden Street (at Cabrillo Boulevard).

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Stay informed about Santa Barbara news with our Media Center, press releases and blog, TheSBPost.com. Just getting to know Santa Barbara? The Media Field Guide is a great place to start. Planning a research visit? Use the Press Trip Request form to get the process started. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for daily updates, and visit our Mobile Site for on-the-go information about dining, wine, accommodations, events, attractions and more.

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