So, you've decided to pack up the kids and head to Santa Barbara for a family vacation? Excellent choice!

On this blog, you will discover 5 family friendly activities for your Santa Barbara family vacation!

As a 4th generation Santa Barbara native and Santa Barbara family photographer, I'm familiar with many of the amazing things to do with your family while vacationing!

Why Santa Barbara For A Family Vacation?


Situated along the stunning California coastline, Santa Barbara offers a lot of fun activities for families seeking sun, surf, and unforgettable memories.

From sandy beaches to charming downtown strolls, this picturesque paradise has something for everyone.

Here are five must-see attractions to add to your Santa Barbara family vacation itinerary.

5 Fun Family Activities During Your Santa Barbara Family Vacation

1. Shoreline Park

Start your adventure with a scenic stroll at Shoreline Park. With panoramic ocean views and ample green space, it's the perfect spot for a family picnic or a leisurely bike ride along the coastal paths.

Let the kids run wild on the playground while you soak in the salty breeze and watch the sailboats glide across the horizon.

Transitioning from the hustle and bustle of everyday life to the relaxed pace of Santa Barbara has never been easier!

2. Santa Barbara Zoo

For a wild and wonderful experience, look no further than the Santa Barbara Zoo. Home to over 500 animals representing 146 species, this compact yet impressive zoo offers an up-close encounter with creatures from around the globe.

From playful penguins to majestic lions, there's no shortage of excitement for animal-loving families.

Take a break from the exhibits and enjoy a scenic train ride around the grounds, or let the little ones burn off some energy at the zoo's adventure playground.

Transitioning from one captivating habitat to the next, your family will be smiling ear-to-ear!

3. Stearns Wharf

No trip to Santa Barbara is complete without a visit to Stearns Wharf.

Stretching into the sparkling waters of the Pacific Ocean, this historic pier beckons with charming shops, delectable dining options, and captivating ocean views.

Stroll hand-in-hand with your loved ones as you explore the unique boutiques and sample local seafood delicacies.

Keep an eye out for playful dolphins frolicking in the waves below, a sight sure to enchant visitors of all ages.

4. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center

Dive into the wonders of the ocean at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center.

Located on Stearns Wharf, this interactive marine education facility offers a hands-on experience for curious minds of all ages.

Get up close and personal with fascinating sea creatures, from gentle sea stars to mesmerizing jellyfish.

Engage in interactive exhibits that explore the mysteries of the deep, or step outside for a closer look at the marine life thriving in the waters below.

Transitioning from observer to explorer, your family will begin a voyage of discovery like no other!

5. Butterfly Beach

Unwind and soak up the sun at Butterfly Beach, a serene stretch of coastline renowned for its natural beauty.

Spread out your beach towels and let the kids build sandcastles as you bask in the warm California sunshine. Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters or simply stroll along the shore, collecting seashells and memories that will last a lifetime.

Transitioning from bustling city life to laid-back beach vibes, Butterfly Beach is the perfect place to relax, recharge, and reconnect with your family.

BONUS: A Family Photography Session

A family photo shoot in Santa Barbara offers a wonderful blend of beautiful scenery, professional expertise, and quality time spent together. Thus, resulting in a collection of photos that will be cherished for generations to come.

It's an experience that adds an extra layer of joy and meaning to your family vacation, making it truly unforgettable.

Rather than purchasing generic souvenirs, investing in a family photo shoot provides a one-of-a-kind memento of your Santa Barbara vacation.

These photos serve as a tangible reminder of the special moments you shared as a family.

I would love to hear from you and help you create a beautiful family photoshoot, contact me and let's chat!

Santa Barbara Family Vacation

This area offers scenic beauty, family-friendly attractions, and a relaxed coastal vibe. Hence, Santa Barbara is the ultimate destination for a memorable family vacation.

Whether you're exploring the wonders of the ocean, soaking up the sun on the beach, or simply enjoying quality time together, Santa Barbara offers something special for every member of the family.

little girl smiling at the camera
family of three kissing while walking to the beach
mom tickling child on a bench in Santa Barbara
mom and daughter holding hands while bring photographed by a local photographer
family of three sitting on the beach in Santa Barbara while on vacation
pregnant mom holding belly at the beach in Santa Barbara
family of three barefoot on the beach with the sub setting behind them