father and two kids, boy and girl, playing at sunset beach

At any age and in any company, Santa Barbara is a great place to come relax by the water, soak up the sun, and enjoy the beautiful sights the city has to offer. Here, traveling with your family can be easy and fun. With so many ways to spend each afternoon, we put together this guide to the best spots for you and the kids:

Santa Barbara Zoo  

The Santa Barbara Zoo is the obvious choice for family fun. Located on 30 serene acres by the water, here you will find over 180 species of animals and plenty of space to play, picnic and sightsee. Be sure to check out the special giraffe feeding and take a tour aboard the train!

Santa Barbara Zoo. 500 Ninos Drive. 805 962 5339.

Alameda Park  

Alameda Park is Santa Barbara’s biggest playground. Featuring climbable whale statues and a massive wooden castle structure, it is ideal for imaginations to run wild. Centered in the heart of Downtown, Santa Barbara, it is also conveniently located next to the Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens, which is home to many turtles and koi fish!

Alameda Park. 1400 Santa Barbara Street. 805 564 5418.

Santa Barbara Harbor

The Santa Barbara Harbor is a great place to walk around with the family and take in all the sights of the waterfront. With plenty of shops and restaurants, the local fish market, and the Maritime Museum, there’s something for everyone in the family. Come here in the morning and check out the sailboats and yachts, and when you’re finished, catch a quick water taxi over to Stearns Wharf for even more family fun.

Santa Barbara Harbor. 132-A Harbor Way. 805 564 5531.

Chase Palm Park  

Chase Palm Park is a small waterfront park across the street from East Beach. Although compact, it is a great place to stop by with the family and visit the koi fish and explore the shipwreck playground. The gorgeous Allan Herschell carousel built in 1916 and located in the center of the garden is sure to be a hit with the kids.

Chase Palm Park. 323 E Cabrillo Boulevard. 805 897 1983.

Carpinteria State Beach  

Head to the Carpinteria State Beach for a mile-long stretch of calm waters, tide pools and picnic areas that will make you want to stay all day. Known for being one of the safest places to swim in town, this beach is perfect for the whole family. Only about a ten-minute drive south of Santa Barbara, it’s easy for you and the family to visit and explore the charming seaside shops and restaurants.

Carpinteria State Beach. 5361 6th Street. 805 805 684 2811.