The Best Family Activities in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara has something to offer every age, but this journey out West was all about the toddler time. Claire loved it, and it’s safe to say that my husband and I had just as much fun.  The city is well equipped to entertain families, and here were my favorite spots:


If you are exploring downtown State Street, take a short detour to  Alameda Park. This park features a wooden structure playground (splinter safe), with plenty of slides, bridges, secret stairwells, and towers.  If you want your kid's imagination to run free for a few hours, go here.  It’s probably best suited for children older than 2, but the park did have equipment for younger kids as well.  

Alemeda Park

Another highly popular option is the Moxi Museum.  This is a hands-on kids museum that caters to creative learning. You’ll get the most bang for your buck for kids ages 4-10,  but Claire still had a blast at 17 months old, playing with the giant building blocks and putting the pegs in the light up switch board.


Each floor has a slightly different theme.  If you want to learn about aerodynamics and engineering, you can build your own race car.  My husband and I are a smidge competitive, so we built our own models, and raced them down the speedway.  Who won, you ask? Technically my racer crossed the finish line first, but didn't quite stay in one piece. 


On the top floor, you'll find the outdoor acoustical/musical section, where kids can bang on the drums all day, sing a little “Piano Man,” and splash around at a musical water table.

Moxi Museum
Moxi Museum

If you’re craving some more outdoor time, there are rental bikes available through Wheel Fun Rentals. They have bikes with stroller attachments (Claire loved it), and it was a pretty easy ride along the water.  However, if you're interested in checking out the wharf, I suggest walking instead; it was a bit of a pain to lock up the bikes anytime we wanted to stop and stroll along the water.  In either scenario, if you find yourself on the wharf, be sure to check out Brophy Bros for lunch and walk out along Point Castillo for some beautiful views. 

Wheels Fun Rentals - Santa Barbara is a city I could visit over and over, never get bored, and experience something new each time. On a future trip with older kids, I have a few whale watching tours and hikes bookmarked.
Point Castillo
Get on the List!

Start gathering your future travel ideas now! Sign up to receive exclusive travel itineraries and tips.