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“Great Family Experience”

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Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great Family Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 1, 2011

Best place for families. Great tradition, and high energy staff. You will not be bored, unless you want to be. Beautiful place.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Seattlefish2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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167 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Burlingame, California, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 17, 2011

I went to UCSB many years ago and suggested that we should go to my wife. See looked at me like I was crazy. However when her friends recommended it, we were in. We went last year for the first time, and we committed to the coming year before we left. The accommodations are the apartment-oriented dorms. We had a four bedroom unit, which meant that my wife and I shared a room, our kids shared a room, and we had a bike room and a room for general other stuff. Beds are firm, and to make ours a double, we pushed two together. The rooms are definitely not fancy, but certainly adequate. The cafeteria food is surprisingly good. The environment is amazing. You can walk to the beach, drive (or bike) to Santa Barbara and there is always plenty to do.

The kids were in heaven. Our son was almost five, and daughter 3 1/2. They liked the time with their groups more than they liked the time with us. The staff is absolutely great. All enthusiastic college kids with great attitudes. You should do it.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank Mike J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cypress, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2011

This was our first time at FVC (Family Vacation Center). We did the mini week as a test rather then the full week.

When we pulled up to the parking lot we were greeted by 10-15 energetic young counselors. They were shiny happy people. We felt very welcomed. Kids are kept busy by the counselors. Kids are grouped by grades. While the kids are having fun with their activities parents get to have their own time. Parents can plan activities such as wine tasting, kayaking, take an oil painting class, play tennis, hiking, or simply relax by the pool or take a stroll on the beach. Parents & kids schedules are planned simmotaniously. So all activities start & end at roughly the sametime. You then meet your kids for family time. You can go off on your own to ride bikes or take a drive to the many local restaruants/shops. You can join the planned family activities such as family carnival or family talent show.

The staff is very entertaining & friendly. Your wish is their command, you just have to ask. Food is buffet style & is included in the price.

The beds are a little on the firm side but can be fixed with an egg crate.

We would definatly come back again for a full week. The kids had a wonderful time.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank michelle c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2011

This is the best "low hassle" vacation out there. You show up on a saturday and have to do very little thinking for a week. Activities are all planned and well run.

Pros -
good staff - very friendly and energetic
well organized - runs like a swiss train station
very good food in cafeteria - not like when I was in college.
The nearby town of Isla Vista is walking distance, so you can get other food, drinks or sundries you need quite easily


Cons
dorms are pretty spartan
weather is about 10 degrees cooler than one would prefer for beach/pool, usually highs in the low 70s with morning fog. Weather is good for sporting activities tho.
At times cafeteria is crowded with high school kids there for conferences

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank 33020Bill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2011

Remember the joke about two kinds of vacations: family vacations and vacations? You can just about have both at the FVC. The kids or grandkids are very well cared for, have fun, meet other very likeable kids, get to try out their wings in a safe environment, etc. The kids' programs are timed so that adults can have longer periods on some days to go on a wine-tasting outing in SB County or hike (or the like). There is a great tennis program, golf available nearby, arts/crafts of various sorts, yoga, social activities for adults in the evenings, etc. Multiple tracks of activities go on at the same time.
I'm motivated to write this now because we just came back from an "intergenerational" Road Scholar trip with one of our granddaughters. Although that trip was good (but very different from the FVC), it made us really appreciate how great the FVC is -- food is good and varied (even the pickiest child can find food every meal!), having a suite rather than a "room" makes life much easier on everyone, more choices of activities, etc. The suites are not lavish, but are comfortable with good firm beds and mini-frigs. We are going back in August 2011 and really are looking forward to it. It's been my husband's favorite vacation since 1982 when we first attended.

Room Tip: Consider whether you want to be in a highrise with an elevator or in 3-story buildings with easy acc...
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  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ABooLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 6, 2011

My family and have been going for 9 years. Our children were very young when we started and the oldest is now a high schooler. She wouldn't miss it for anything. The staff will fulfill your every need. Their program has something for all ages and interests. And there's no better place to spend a week than just a short stroll to a sunkissed beach.

  • Stayed July 2010
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gauchoman1990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 13, 2011

We have gone for five years now and it really is better than any vacation I could ever come up with - including Europe, cruises, Hawaii, etc. First the location is amazing, second is the staff makes it unforgettable for us and our children, and third the campus life is better than a five star resort because it is cozy and my 8 and 6 year-old already know what living in a dorm is and can't wait for college. How many kids don't just know they are going to college, they actually can't wait! They see the same kids year after year, we see the same adults - and it is the only vacation I have ever heard of where we enjoy our kids AND come home truly relaxed. I have never had reoccurring dreams, but lately almost once a month I have a nightmare and it is always that I missed family camp. This is how much I live for August!!

Room Tip: Book in late July or early August for the best wer
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  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Anna7571
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center

Property: Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center
Address: San Rafael Residence Hall, Ucsb, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-0001
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Santa Barbara
Number of rooms: 68
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Summer Camp for the whole family! The Family Vacation Center offers week-long Family Camp experiences on the beachside campus of the University of California Santa Barbara. This all-inclusive experience includes daily child care (kids camp), family activities like Smores on the Beach, Pool Parties and Family Carnivals as well as nightly adult only activities that include a hosted bar.This hassle free family vacation is perfect for the family who loves spending time together, and also enjoys the option of kids camp and "parents night out" time! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Santa Barbara Family Vacation Hotel Santa Barbara

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