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5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

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Indiana
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5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

Hi, we'll be in Goleta (near U.C.S.B.) for 5 days at the beginning of August with our daughters (ages 9 and 6). I know we should check out the beaches and the zoo, and the "Old Spanish Days" will be taking place while we're there, but are there any other things we should definitely do/see? We're willing to drive a couple of hours away (not to L.A.) but I'm not familiar with the geography or attractions of that area.

Restaurant suggestions would be great too! (we like both upscale and comfort food)

Thanks SO much!

Manhattan Beach...
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for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
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1. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

We like lunch at the Buena Vista restaurant at the Biltmore Four Seasons hotel for an upscale choice. Beautiful views of the ocean. They treat children well here. It's in the area of the Zoo. Reservations advised.

harveystahoe.com/casinos/harveys-lake-tahoe/…

Did you plan to visit the Santa Barbara Mission? Children usually enjoy the grounds.

santabarbara.com/points_of_interest/mission/

Rent a Surrey for 4 and take a ride along the beach.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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2. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

You could take a day trip up to Solvang, which is a touristy Danish village about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara. There's an ostrich farm on Highway 246 just outside of Solvang the kids might enjoy. Nojoqui Park a few miles west of Solvang has a pleasant hike up to a waterfall that you can actually get under. Not sure it's flowing, though, as it was a light rain year. Still a nice park to visit. And Sunny Fields Park has pretty cool looking playground equipment.

Pismo Beach is a little over an hour away with lots of family friendly activities. You can rent off highway vehicles and ride out in the nearby Oceano Dunes or hire the company that takes you for rides out in the dunes in an Army Hummer. There's a hot springs pool just north of Pismo Beach along the road to Avila Beach. And there's a pretty cool produce stand (Avila Valley Barn) on the same road that has fresh produce, baked goods, ice cream and a small pen with farm animals the kids can feed. Avila Beach is a VERY family friendly beach town. It has a pedestrian friendly promenade by the pier, swings, etc. on the beach and is usually sunnier and warmer that other nearby beaches. The Village of Arroyo Grande south of Pismo has an ice cream parlor, Klondike Pizza (They give you peanuts in the shell, which you can throw on the floor after eating the nut) and a small park behind the south side shops with a gazebo and swinging bridge.

You can also rent kayaks in Pismo's Shell Beach village and paddle along the shore.

Edited: 10:51 am, June 22, 2012
Santa Barbara, CA
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for Santa Barbara, Channel Islands National Park
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3. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

Hi there -

I would suggest a trip out to Channel Islands National Park. That would be a fun trip for the kids. The boat ride is exciting and the island is really beautiful. You need to pack your own food, but I think it would be a memorable day trip for your family.

Here is a list of local places to see that I created - you might find it helpful. Have a good visit!

sbadventureco.com/blog/…

-Suz

Santa Barbara...
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4. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

In SB:

(1) the SB Zoo is simply a wonderful little zoo;

(2) the Sea Center on Stern's Wharf;

(3) the Natural History museum;

(4) a tour of the Mission (perhaps have them read or read to them Island of the Blue Dolphin bevcause the main character of that book, the little girl standed on the island, is buried at the SB Mission);

(5) there is a GIANT playground/ wooden playstructure in Alameda Park (corner of Garden and Michaeltorena) which my daughter 8 and 6 can literally spend 5 hours running around, they will not be disappointed;

(6) hang out on East Beach or Butterfly beach and play in the sand and surf;

(7) a tour on the Landshark (a vechile that literally drives into the water and becomes a boat and tours both the streets and the harbor in Santa Barbara);

(8) a whale watching trip on the Condor; or perhaps

(9) rent some kayaks and paddle around the harbor or stern wharf and see the seals and dolphins that often swim in close proximity to the kayakers.

If that is not enough and you intend to go out of town a would recommend:

(1) Solvang (and the nearby and beautiful Nojoqui Falls)

(2) Channel Islands National Park (catch the Island Packers boat out of Ventura)

but realize the drive to Ventura and trip to the channel islands will take up your ENTIRE day.

Indiana
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5. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

Wow, and to think I worried it would be hard to find anything to do with the kids there! Thank you SO much for all those suggestions! I'm off to go research all of them in depth and see where I can fit them into our schedule.

Arizona
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6. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

http://www.beachside-barcafe.com/

The Beachside Bar & Cafe is right on the sand in Goleta, next to the beach park, just south of the campus. The beach park is great, has a pier and a playground, some grass and picnic tables:

www.countyofsb.org/parks/parks02.aspx?id=7682

Santa Barbara, CA
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for Santa Barbara, Channel Islands National Park
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7. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

Just wanted to mention -- during the summer months you can take a half day trip to the Channel Islands. There are boats departing at noon and returning at 5. I would recommend a full day on the island, but if you want to just hike and check out the island of an hour or two that is an option. You can not kayak on the half day trips - but you can sill see a lot, including the cute channel islands foxes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_fox

Also - if you want a hiking map of the island PM me and I can email it to you. It is the same map you can pick up on the island, just in digital format. It is nice to be able to see the options for hikes, especially with kids.

8. Re: 5 Days in Santa Barbara with kids- where should we go?

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