ParentClick Santa Barbara

Summer adventures in SB with young children


I have lived in the Santa Barbara area since college, and I feel fortunate that I’ve gotten to experience Santa Barbara living as a young woman, as a young married couple, and now as a mom of two young children. How Santa Barbara looked to me at 19 is so very different than it looked at 29. Can you believe that I once remarked to a friend, “I don’t think there are that many parks in Santa Barbara.” How little I knew! Now our days are full of little adventures in the nooks and crannies of our beautiful county. We are constantly discovering a new trail or a new place to stop and get cupcakes. I’ve paired up a couple of fun, off the beaten path adventures to help make the most of your long summer days with your little people!

Carpinteria: From Santa Barbara or Goleta, take the train down to Carpinteria and hop off at the Tomol Interpretive Play area (which includes a replica Chumash village). It’s easy to make a day of Carpinteria– great restaurants and Robitaille’s Fine Candies.

Downtown: Come to Paseo Nuevo for the ParentClick Playdate, and then cruise up and down State St on the trolley. It’s easy (well, easy-ish, depending on how big your stroller is) to hop off and grab a bite to eat.

Goleta: Check out the South Coast Railroad Museum and then walk around Lake Los Carneros. We always find some great wildlife hanging out by the lake! Time it right, and end your walk at Stow House, just in time for Music at the Ranch.

Isla Vista: Pick up cupcakes from Crush Cakes and cruise over to the “Dinosaur Park” for a unique playground experience.

San Roque: Hike through Steven’s Park up to the Jesusita Trail (about two miles round trip) then meet enjoy a picnic by the brand new playground or stop by La Cumbre Plaza for lunch.

Waterfront: Visit the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, then hop aboard Lil Toot to cruise over to Stearns Wharf for an ice cream cone or visit to the candy shop. The SB Maritime Museum offers a free Community Day on the third Thursday of every month. Your kids can also earn a free adult and kid ticket by completing their first 5 books with the Library’s Summer Reading Program.


  • What are your favorite spots in Santa Barbara County?
  • Where do you like to explore?
  • Do you have a favorite restaurant? Favorite activity? Favorite beach or park?
  • Where do you like to hike?



July 8, 2015

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  1. Mercedes L. says:

    SB Parents,
    I really enjoy your article on upcoming events for kids, Thank you for taking the time.

  2. Rashannah says:

    I like to take my daughter to the farmers market. She enjoys helping me pick out fruits, vegetables and pretty flowers. There are always local musicians or students playing violin or guitars etc so it is nice to enjoy the music. There is a man who makes creative balloon characters so the children really enjoy that too. This is one summer activity we enjoy together :)

  3. Melanie says:

    I like going to the Nite Moves area at Ledbetter Beach, Wednesday nights in the summer. People (runners and spectators) are picnicking, atheletes are finishing in both the water and down the street, and there is live music and lots of fun … And we’re at the beach!

  4. Kristen says:

    For quintessential summer fun, the wading pool at Oak Park while it’s open. Get a popsicle afterward and play on the playground. They let a new group in on the hour from noon to 5pm. You can take a beach chair to sit on the grass by the pool, but you have to have snacks outside.

  5. Heather says:

    We take the family camping every summer atleast 3-4 times. Carpinteria State Beach is awesome and it’s fun to walk up Linden and the interpretive park by the railroad tracks is fun. El Capitan Beach is our favorite camping spot. Endless fun for the kids……surfing, tree climbing, biking, scootering. It’s a safe and wonderful playground for our imaginative kids aged 4 & 6.

  6. Mary says:

    My favorite spot in Santa Barbara is Shoreline Park! Because it have a amazing view! I take all my family and friends over there when they are visiting me! I love Santa Barbara!

  7. Marygrace says:

    We have a few spots; museum of natural history has a great play area for water play and exploration.
    Picnics at the zoo are fun.
    The library has fun events storytime for kids & a free lunch for kids on Wednesdays.
    Riding Lil’ Toot to the harbor from the wharf is exciting.
    Taking a ride on the State St downtown shuttle is fun but sometimes crowded.
    A treat is the carousel on the beach.

  8. Lucille says:

    We love visiting Ellwood preserve – fun walk, beach trip, bike ride, or checking out the wildlife.

  9. Sarah says:

    Every summer, my family ditches the car and takes an MTD bus to explore a different area of town on foot. Getting out of the car and diving into community is wonderful! We meet new people, eat new foods and discover hidden jewels.
    Last week we cruised Downtown Goleta and had a blast!

  10. Melanie says:

    We like to go to Something’s Fishy, It’s a fun outing and new kinds of eating and dining experience. It’s not inexpensive, so it’s a treat we save for a summer evening when we can linger at dinner and stroll down State Street.