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Goleta Parks & Outdoor Fun

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The beauty of living or visiting Goleta is that kids can spend their time outdoors year round. We may have a few rain showers here and there but then we just throw on rainboots and slosh around. Regardless of whether you have a toddler or a teen, there is plenty to keep kids busy and entertained with beautiful parks and challenging beach hikes.

Campus Point Beach is a perfect spot to watch surfers and kayakers. You can then pass by the Marine Science Institute and explore the touch tanks or head up onto the UCSB campus for a little lunch out by the lagoon.

Coal Oil Point and Sands Beach is a wonderful spot for building sandcastles, viewing tide pools and playing in the sand dunes. You may even see a few dolphins if you hang out long enough.

Ellwood Butterfly Grove (linked by trails to The Coronado Butterfly Preserve) comes to life between November and February with thousands of monarch butterflies. The grove is filled with blue gum eucalyptus trees. After you have had your fill of butterflies, you can walk out to the Elwood bluffs for some ocean views.

Girsh Park is a 25-acre outdoor park with open meadows, walking paths, athletic fields, basketball courts, a children’s play area, a community meeting room and group and family barbecue-picnic areas.

Goleta Beach Park with it’s 1,500 foot pier provides plenty of activities and nice long walks. Amenities include BBQ Grills, picnic tables, playground, bird watching, boating, fishing, horseshoes, volleyball, restaurant and restrooms. The bike path goes for miles and is an excellent option for bikers and runners to get a little exercise.

Lake Los Carneros will keep children busy as they feed the ducks or look for frogs. On the grounds you will find a 25-acre lake with a walkway all around it. You can follow the trails to Stow House and the Southcoast Railroad Museum. They offer fun miniature train rides for kids.

Stow Grove Park is filled with Redwood and pine trees and has something for every age including a softball field, volleyball courts, horseshoes, playground, restrooms, BBQ grills, and picnic tables.

Tierra de Fortuna also known as Dinosaur Park is a sweet little park in Isla Vista with a gazebo and perfect for preschool age children with their fabulous dinosaur play structure.

At the end of the day, you may want to relax and take in some of the local entertainment and sports under the stars… Enjoy Music at the Ranch with the Stow House summer concert series or watch a movie at the West Wind Goleta Drive-In.

Attend a local game with the UC Santa Barbara Soccer team or the Foresters Baseball team.

And if you still have not had your fill of fresh air, then consider sleeping under the stars. If you drive further up the coast, you can find camping sites at El Capitan and Refugio State Beaches.

[AUTHOR: Rachael Steidl, ParentClick.com]

(Published in Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce 2011 Magazine)

July 7, 2014

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