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Santa Barbara staycation ideas with toddler

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Fun ideas for staying home with your child, toddler or baby!

When a staycation involves a baby (a baycation? a baystaycation?), it’s a whole new beast. I mean, adventure. But with a few ideas and tips, you are well on your way to enjoying Santa Barbara, Baby-Style!

10. Friends Don’t Let Friends Staycation Alone. Ok, this tip isn’t exclusive to Santa Barbara, but it’s time to pretend you’re a celeb (who do vacation here!) and travel with an entourage. Time your staycation with another family, because four adults are better than one or two. Having another family will come in handy for exchanging babysitting for date nights! You could even take turns paying for meals and pretend you’re at an all-inclusive.

9. Farmer’s Market + Music at the Ranch Browse the local fare at the Downtown Farmer’s Market. Pick up enough food for a picnic dinner (bread, cheese, strawberries, tomatoes!) and then head out to Stow House for Music at the Ranch. Hanging out on the grass, jamming to local bands is perfect for babies and kids of all ages.

8. Brunch and Ride Pop into La Arcada Plaza and enjoy a meal from around the world. Whether you’re craving Danish, French or good ol’ fashioned American, La Arcada has it, and you won’t have to cook or clean up afterwards. Enjoy your meal outside, and then hop on the trolley (for a quarter!) and head down to Stearn’s Wharf. Stop for some old fashioned candy, wine tasting or even a trip to the Ty Warner Sea Center (if your little one isn’t ready for a nap. Or you for that matter).

7. And Speaking of Trolleys… It’s time to play tourist and take a trolley tour. It can be easy to take our pretty city for granted, and the trolley tours are an excellent way to learn about our history. The tickets will give extra discounts around town, so pair your tour with a trip to the Historical Museum or the Zoo.

6. Mama Needs a Break Now that you’ve been lugging a fifteen pound baby up and down State Street in an Ergo carrier all week, it’s time to get a massage! Travel websites, the Santa Barbara Axxess Card, SB Click, and the ParentClick Parent Perk page are all excellent places to look for deals on services like massages, mani/pedis, and haircuts.

5. Have a Good Game Plan Any parent with a baby knows that your best offense is a good defense. Make sure you’re prepared to comfortably spend the day out and about with baby. Do you have multiple ways to carry your wee one comfortably? How many diapers will you need? Do you know about the nursing room in the women’s restroom at Nordstrom? (Life.Saver.) There are many wonderful baby supply stores in town with knowledgeable staff to outfit you for your staycation.

4. Do You Miss Going to Movies? The West Wind Santa Barbara Drive-In can be the perfect solution for a movie night with a baby in tow. The baby can cry, sleep, and nurse all while you scarf down the snacks of your choice in the privacy and comfort of your own vehicle.

3. Bust Out Your Jogging Stroller and head to Lake Los Carneros. There are beautiful trails to walk and lots of animals to see. Bring a picnic lunch and check out the Stow House and Railroad Museum while you’re there.

2. The Mission Take a self-guided or docent led tour of our beautiful Mission. There is a lot to learn about this iconic Santa Barbara spot. After your tour, lay out a blanket in the rose garden and people watch in the sun.

1. Use New Eyes Whether your babycation lasts two days or a whole week, it will only feel like a “vacation” when you commit to it. Take life at a slower pace, relax about doing dishes, and set realistic boundaries about things like work and email. Staycations are a wonderful opportunity to appreciate and invest in our community on a deeper level. Enjoy exploring Santa Barbara!

June 2, 2015

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