Where to Stay and What to Do with Kids in Santa Barbara

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All photos by Kristen Beink

Dress by Echo & Atlas

When we were in Santa Barbara, we stayed at the most amazing Airbnb and had the most amazing photographer, Kristen Beink, come to document our family in this sweet little home and I couldn't help but share some of the images. And if you live in Santa Barbara and are looking for a family photographer, she was absolutely wonderful with kids!

Where to Stay in Santa Barbara:

There are lots of hotels to choose from in Santa Barbara, but most of them are pretty pricey and we always find that Airbnb's workout better with kids. With an airbnb, you have your own space and you don't have to eat out every single meal, which doesn't always work with children's schedules. We rented the The Fig House for the week and it was perfect. It was within walking distance of downtown which was great for morning strolls to the get coffee and pastries or for just wandering before any real activities are planned. They had a great outdoor area for al fresco dinners, hammock swinging, and rock collecting. It had plenty of space for the boys to play and relax...and a fully stocked kitchen where we were able to cook the majority of our meals.

What to Do with Kids in Santa Barbara: 

Santa Barbara Zoo - the zoo is a smaller-sized zoo, but there is so much to do that you could spend all day here. There's a train that goes around the entire zoo. There's a giant hill with cardboard that the kids can slide down and we honestly spent most of our time here versus seeing the animals.

Natural History Museum - This is one of our favorite museums of all time. Currently on display is Sue, the second most complete T-rex skeleton ever found. We also got to walk into the butterfly exhibit where we were surrounded by hundreds of butterflies. Another amazing part is that there is open woods part of the museum for exploring, picnicking, and climbing trees, in nature.

East Beach - Tucked between the pier and the volleyball courts, this wide expanse of beach is perfect for kids. It has a playground in the sane and there's a cafe for food when the little ones need a snack.

Picnic at the Rose Gardens - A beautiful rose garden perched at the bottom of an open, grassy hill. Perfect place to stop for a picnic and let the kids run around and roll down the grassy slope.

Turtle Pond in La Arcada Shopping Center of Downtown - If you're exploring downtown and your kids need a break from shopping, make a quick stop at the turtle pond. It's filled with twenty to thirty different turtles and the kids will love watching them swim around and poke their heads out of the water.

Top of the Courthouse - It's completely free and there's an elevator so you can take your stroller with you to the top and get a 360 degree view of Santa Barbara from the mountains to the ocean.

Chase Palm Park - Pond with Koi Fish, Carasoul, Shipwreck Playground