It’s not easy to find that perfect family destination. Planning the summer vacation can be a challenge when trying to cater to kids of all ages, interests of all levels and budgets of every size. But there’s a town at the southern tip of California’s Central Coast that might have everything you’re looking for, including less time spent in the car, standing in line or asking, “Are we there yet?” Welcome to Santa Barbara, where the perfect family vacation is all within reach… and within walking distance.
With gas prices on the rise, families are looking for more economical means of travel and what better way to see the sights, relax and arrive in style than by train! Santa Barbara county hosts nine Amtrak stations—Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc, Surf, Guadalupe and Santa Maria. Enjoy coastal views, comfortable seats and some car-free travel. This summer, you can save 20% with the Santa Barbara Car Free Special Amtrak California Discount Offer! Coming from the other coast? The Santa Barbara Airport offers over 30 daily departures via five major airlines.
Once you’re here, Santa Barbara has something for everyone. Young and old alike will enjoy a day at one of SB’s pristine public beaches. Surf, boogie board, stand-up paddle board or make a splash before heading onto the next activity. Consider a day visiting Santa Barbara’s many museums, sure to quench any thirst for knowledge. From the Santa Barbara Museum of Art to the Museum of Natural History, Maritime Museum, interactive Ty Warner Sea Center and the South Coast Railroad Museum, the family is bound to find one—or many—world-class exhibits that excite.
Of course, there’s the famous Santa Barbara Zoo, just a literal stone’s throw away from the Pacific Ocean. With over 500 animals from small to large, to really, really large and unique California creatures, this open-air expanse is a fast family favorite.
Don’t forget to walk Stearns Wharf for great souvenir shopping, ocean-side dining or to watch the fishermen unload their daily catch. Depart sea level and head for the hills, which offer a variety of hiking and mountain bike trails, or take a guided jeep tour to see Santa Barbara from a different perspective.
The best part of a family vacation to Santa Barbara is the ease of access. No need to drive multiple freeway exits or suffer through holiday traffic to get where you’re going. In fact, should you arrive via plane or train, it’s easy to get around without a vehicle at all. Local bike and pedicab rentals are available and the Cabrillo Bikeway and bike paths connect Santa Barbara’s beachfront with Stearns Wharf and downtown. Public transportation is easily accessed from multiple stops and stations throughout the county. If you truly want to go wheel-free, Santa Barbara’s downtown sights and pedestrian-friendly outdoor shopping centers, eateries and famous State Street can all be easily enjoyed on foot.
This summer, Santa Barbara invites you to experience a different kind of family vacation; one where getting from Point A to B is just as memorable as the adventure you find once you’re there. Start planning your trip now and save up to 50% on activities, lodging, tours and more!