Traveling to Santa Barbara from outside of California is probably the worst part of the vacation. Flights directly into Santa Barbara are expensive for a family of four. That leaves you with flying into Los Angeles and driving the rest. Under normal conditions that would take less than two hours, however, on the day of our arrival the infamous “California Traffic” was working and we crept along for four hours. My advice, take an early flight and hopefully beat the traffic jams.
The location of the UCSB Family Vacation Center is, as you have probably guessed, on the University of California Santa Barbara Campus. They use a cluster of student dorms on the edge of campus near the beach; the students have all been moved out. The guest rooms are decent. The staff works hard to accommodate your family needs. I was impressed that they lowered the bed for my four year old. The activity rooms are also in the dorm rooms. My four-year-old didn’t seem to care though. Meals are at a student cafeteria and the quality is good. You do have to share the cafeteria with students attending orientation on various days of the week.
The best reason to stay at UCSB Family Vacation Center is the staff. They use students as counselors for the children, as you also probably guessed. They seem to be well trained and really make things fun for the kids. My four-year-old had a blast. While they had a play group for my one-year-old, he was not interested in leaving his mother. Maybe next year. While my kids are young, I have large number of nephews and nieces range up to 16 years in age. They also reported having a good time.
For the adults, the biggest benefit is having your kids constructively occupied. With my young boy, we did not have the opportunity to take advantage of the many activities for adults. I look forward to trying surfing next year. Walks on the beach are beautiful. Be warned that there are small clumps of oil that wash us. You can’t see it but it sticks to your feet. My advice, bring an old pair of shoes for the beach and throw them away at the end of the week.
In summation, if you are looking for a relatively inexpensive vacation to a beautiful part of California and you have kids, UCSB Family Vacation Center is worth a try.
- 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