Visiting Santa Barbara
Berkeley Parents Network >
Places to Go >
Visiting Santa Barbara
Anyone have a recommendation for a hotel in Santa Barbara for a
couple-night stay on our drive down to L.A.? We want to just play on
the beach and go to the zoo with our 2 kids (1 and 4) to break up the
road trip, but don't want to spend a fortune on accomodations....
Nothing fancy, but there is a Motel 6 that is one (or two?) blocks from the
beach in Santa Barbara that I stayed at once. Clean and decent, no frills.
More expensive than the usual Motel 6 room, but it was close to the beach in
Santa Barbara and cheaper than other hotels. And you won't have to worry
about your little ones destroying the rooms because there is not much to
destroy. I think it's this one:
We just stayed at the Best Western Encina Lodge, which was very nice, in a
residential neighborhood close to downtown. It's next to the hospital but it
wasn't loud. I got a government rate, but I think it was reasonable for Santa
Barbara. It's hard to find something inexpensive there.
The Motel 6 in Santa Barbara is right near the beach. I believe this is THE
original Motel 6...
You didn't mention what you considered a reasonable rate. I just
spent a few days looking at B&B and hotels for July this year. I
didn't look at the 2-star ones like Motel 6. The 3-stars and up
ones started at around $150 plus 12% tax. I was not willing to
spend more than $200 for a queen.
In any case, I ended up choosing Casa Del Mar because they had
either kitchenettes or full kitchen, depending on the size of the
room you wanted. Be sure you ask for them. This was great as I
have an infant. The rooms also looked big enough to fit a
playpen. It's right next to the beach and a few blocks from
State street, the main tourist attraction.
I think there were also a few regular hotels like Holiday Inn
that were very close to State street.
Try tripadvisor.com for reviews. You kind of get a sense of what
people complain about for particular hotels.
My husband and I will be traveling to Santa Barbara in December with our
18 month old. I'm looking for some recommendations of a decent but not
over the top place to stay that's baby friendly. I've looked at the older
postings, and didn't find too much. Any suggestions appreciated. Thx!
It's not specifically *baby*-friendly, but we found the Franciscan Inn in Santa
Barbara to be family-friendly, a good value, and a great location (a block from
the beach). It has a pool and hot tub. Enjoy your trip!
Santa Barbara vacationer
Re: February vacation resort for baby and toddler? (Jan 2006)
We recently visited Santa Barbara with the toddler and baby and
had a fabulous time. We felt that we did not have to go far
for beautiful beaches, great weather, lodging, dining, and
activity. We stayed at the Fess Parker Double Tree Resort, but
they also have a Four Seasons Biltmore and Bacara Resort on the
higher end. We had friends that rented a home instead at
If I could recommend one thing, it is to rent baby and toddler
equipment. We went to www.SBBabyCo.com and the service was
just what we needed to help us feel pampered. There are other
companies that do the same thing around the US at www.baby-
equipment-rental.com - also use www.newparentsguide.com for
Most of all, focus on relaxation more than destination!
We are considering a romantic weekend getaway to Santa Barbara
and are looking for a recommendation of a place to stay. Does
anyone know of a great place to stay while exploring Santa
Barbara? Doesn't need to be fancy, but cozy and romantic would
For a romantic getaway in SB, you can't do better than to stay
at the Hotel Andalucia downtown. It's a boutique hotel, fairly
new, but close to everything and absolutely stunning down to
the smallest detail. More Spain than Spain. Make sure you check
out their roof deck - best view in all of SB. Have a drink and
some tapas at Intermezzo near the Lobero Theater and you've got
a weekend to remember.
Have a lovely time!
Try the Hotel Oceana in Santa Barbara. Great beds, right on the
beach, pool, hip and fun and romantic.
For a romantic getaway in Santa Barbara I recommend the Upham hotel. It is in upper
downtown. Check out their website.
Re: 10th Anniversary romantic getaway
Before we had kids we used to spend our anniversaries at San Ysidro
Ranch in Santa Barbara (actually in Montecito, a suburb of Santa
Barbara, as I recall). It is a very special place--individual cabins nestled
in the beautiful landscaping, each with its own decor. Fireplaces, sitting
rooms, beautiful furnishings, many antiques, etc. There is a wonderful
restaurant on the premises, and Santa Barbara is nearby for
sightseeing, shopping, etc. There are tennis courts, a pool, etc. I've
never been there in the winter, but in the summer it is wonderful. It was
quite pricey, but since we haven't been there in 20 years, I have no idea
what that translates to in today's economy.
We will be driving to Santa Barbara in June for a family
function. Our daughter will just have turned one the week
before. She's almost walking, very active, in short, doesn't
like staying in her car seat for very long. I'm wondering if
people have any recommendations for places to stop along the way
so we can let her out to crawl around and play? We will be
taking 101 all the way down. My husband likes to drive without
stopping other than short gas/bathroom breaks. I've told him
this is no longer possible with a little one who needs to move
around. To appease him, I need places that aren't too far off
the main highway. He won't put up with hour long detours.
There is a rest area around Paso Robles (after King City on the way down, about
2/3rds of the way) which has restrooms and a grass area and is very easily
accessible from 101.
We drove to SB last summer on 101 with our 1.5 yo and 3.5 yo.
There were zillions of construction delays and few good places
to stop. Or it seemed that evry time we needed a bathroom
break, we were stopped by construction or close to a vile rest
stop. If you can't fly, I strongly suggest driving at night.
Traffic around San Jose was also bad. We left at 1 p.m. to
take advantage of nap time, but it wasn't enough!
SB airport looked good
I didn't see the original post, but I wanted to add my two cents.
We just got back from a trip down south that included Santa
Barbara. That part was my favorite of the trip. Gorgeous weather,
good food. Beautiful scenery. 101 is the only way down of course,
and I was surprised to see how beautiful the drive was (I went to
UCSB 20 yrs ago and had forgotten) the speed limit is up to 65 so
it doesn't take as long as it used to and there are LOTS of
places to stop on the way. We left @ 1pm to take advanage of nap
time but I would recommend leaving earlier to avoid traffic in
San Jose, which is the only traffic we experienced.(Your child
will probably fall asleep at nap time mid trip anyway!) We had no
problems with construcion. The part between Pismo Beach and Santa
Barbara is particularly beautiful, so don't drive at night or you
will miss it all!
BTW, don't miss the Zoo there...it's beautiful and small so can
be done in a couple of hours. Also, we rented a bicycle while
there...a ''surry'' that my husband and I rode side by side while
our toddler sat in front of us to see the sights...that was the
highlight of our trip! Have fun.
We are considering a trip to Santa Barbara with our 20 month old
and 5 year old for 5-6 days in early April. Ideally, we'd like
to rent a cottage or condo. Does anyone have any
recommendations for rental units or rental agencies you've used?
I've seen prior posts on activities but no mention of child
We stayed at the Eagle Inn for about 1 month when our daughter
was a newborn. They have large rooms and full kitchens. Our
unit had a wonderful rocking chair which was a big plus with a
newborn. We stayed on the first floor for convenience. The Inn
is near the beach and State Street shopping. We went for walks
everyday and had a lovely stay.
We're thinking of vacationing in Santa Barbara this summer with
our two kids who are 4 1/2 and 1 1/2. We've never been there,
so would like recommendations on everything from where to stay,
where to eat and kid-friendly places to go.
Fun things for little kids in Santa Barbara include:
The zoo, called ''Child's Estate'', and riding on the little train
that runs through the zoo.
The Natural History Museum. My 4 year old nephew absolutely
loves this place, and goes there every time he's in SB visiting
Any of the many beaches in town. Near East or West Beach, which
are the main beaches along Cabrillo Blvd in downtown SB, you can
rent one of those family bicycle things, that hold about 6
people, including small seats for little kids, and ride along
the bike path parallel to the beach. You can also rent bikes or
skates. Walking out on the pier is also fun.
Sunday mornings, theres a great arts and crafts show along
Cabrillo Blvd. Its free, and very scenic just to walk along.
Visiting the Santa Barbara Courthouse, which has a beautiful
fountain in front, neat murals, beautiful tiled stairwells and
hallways for running up and down, and a tower where you can look
out on all the rooftops in town.
Near Santa Barbara, to the North are a few other options,
including Nojouqui Park, which is a small county park, off of
highway 101 about 30 miles North of town. It has a walking
trail (1/4 mile or so) that leads to a nice little waterfall.
Also in that area are Lake Cachuma, and the touristy but kind-of
fun little pseudo-Danish village called Solvang.
Mara (a Santa Barbara native)
I grew up in Santa Barbara, my mother still lives there and I
have a two year old son. Here are a few of the thoughts that
come to mind:
- The Santa Barbara Zoo is great, beautiful
- Spend time at the beach. Our favorite is South of Santa
Barbara at Santa Claus Lane.
- Also at Santa Claus Lane is the Padaro Grill -- freshly
grilled food (sandwiches and salads), beer, wine and outdoor
tables with a big sand pit where the kids can play while you
enjoy the beautiful SB outdoors. (Really, why aren't there more
truly kid friendly restaurants everywhere?) This place is GREAT.
- If either of your children are train fans, check out the South
Coast Railroad Museum in Goleta -- http://www.goletadepot.org/
- Chase Palm Park on Cabrillo Blvd near Stearns Wharf is a great
park with a carousel. On weekend nights they often have live
outdoor concerts at the park.
- Walking along the breakwater is a great place to look at
boats, pelicans, seals and maybe get splashed by a wave.
Stearns Wharf is touristy, but also fun. Also, I have never
done it, but renting a pedal car along the Cabrillo Blvd.
waterfront looks like fun.
- SB has lots of festivals and parades -- Fiesta is the first
weekend in August, food festivals in Oak Park, Big Dog Parade is
I Love Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a beautiful town with lots of child friendly
activities. There is a managable sized zoo there, wonderful
beaches to walk along.........amazing parks. One in particular
is called kids world i think, it is the corner of santa Barbara
st and Arrellaga. There is also a park called Alice keck there
too with some ponds and turtles!There is chase Palm park, right
on Cabrillo st, across from the ocean, there is a carosel and
great play area there too.
Paoli's returant is the first resturant i think of for kid
friendly and good, its a family run italian place down town,
close to the water, its on state st and yanonali, right across
from the train station.
Santa Barbara is a great place to visit, with kids or without.
There are a lot of places to stay on (or within a block or two
of) the beach. Be sure to get a place with a pool. The main
street is State St. and it runs from downtown, under the
freeway to the beach, ending at a Pier with lots of
restaurants and shops. You can rent bikes, skates, and
pedi-cabs (that seat 4) to ride along the path that goes
along the beach. There is also an electric shuttle that you
can ride for 25 cents that takes you up State St. through
downtown and another that goes along the beach. There is
a very nice, small zoo at the far east end of the beach (it will
feel like the south end, but the coastline there actually goes
east-west). Downtown there are a lot of nice restaurants
with courtyards off the street. I would also recommend
going to the Courthouse, a beautiful old Mission-era
building with sunken gardens and a tower you can go up
and get a great 360 degree view.
For excursions out of the downtown/beach area, you can
take a boat to the channel islands. You may also get a
chance to see ''dolphin city'', an area between the coast and
the islands where there are literally 100's if not 1,000's of
dolphins. There is also great hiking and picnic-ing in the
hills above the city: Los Padres National Forest and Lake
Cachuma area. (If you can, find someone to tell you how to
get to Red Rock and/or the Painted Caves too.)
this page was last updated: Nov 15, 2009
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network