Destination Snapshot: Santa Barbara


Want a quick mom’s eye view on a destination? has you covered with our new collection of Mom-servations on destinations across the globe.

FishMama of Life as Mom is sharing some of her favorite Santa Barbara spots for families today. This mom of six KNOWS family fun and is a Californian herself, so you can definitely trust her.

City or town name:

Santa Barbara, CA


Is there an airport there?

Yes, there is an airport there. United is one of the major airlines. LA International and San Jose are the other closest airports.

Is this a place you have visited more than once? If so, what keeps you coming back?

My husband grew up in Santa Barbara. I went to college at UCSB. We still have family and friends here, but even if we didn’t, we’d still want to visit. It’s beautiful.

What makes this place great for families to visit?

Beautiful parks, beaches, bike paths, and nature trails make this an ideal place for families. There are also a number of museums and attractions worthy of visits, including the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Botanic Garden, Mission de Santa Barbara, the Natural History Museum and the Ronald Reagan Ranch.


How long should a family plan to stay to hit the highlights?

A day in Santa Barbara is a blast, but if you’re coming from far away, I would allow at least three to four days. There’s no shortage of things to do. The restaurants are fantastic and the weather is usually nice.


What are some of the fun things to do?

Our kids are aged, 1, 3, 6, 8, 10, and 13, so we represent all ages. All of our children have found something of interest at the beach and at the local parks. There is much exploring to do in the nearby hills and creeks. The Zoo is usually a hit with families and boasts a number of picnic spots, so bring your own food. Take a walk on Stearns Wharf or along the Breakwater. Fly kites at Shoreline Park. We make about 3 weekend trips to Santa Barbara each year and haven’t yet exhausted all the possibilities.

What family-friendly places to eat would you recommend? Anything special about them? La Superica Taqueria is a little taco stand on Milpas that serves fantastic, authentic Mexican food. It was a favorite of Julia Child’s. The atmosphere is relaxed, but the place is hopping, so be prepared to wait unless you go early. Blenders in the Grass is a wheat-grass bar that mixes up delicious fruit smoothies that are a meal in themselves. Giovanni’s Pizza is a great place for kids as is Taffy’s Pizza.

What hotels or other places to stay can you recommend? We’ve never had to find accommodations due to having family and friends in the area. But, since Santa Barbara is a popular tourist destination, there are lots of places to choose from with varying price ranges.


If adults can fit in a date night without the kids while there, what would you suggest? It’s been awhile since we actually took a date night, but some of our favorites “back in the day” were Brophy Brothers, The Palace Grill, and Roy. There are so many good restaurants in Santa Barbara, it’s really hard to go wrong.

Wanna know more about FishMama and how she travels the road to joyful motherhood? Visit her at Life as Mom for great ideas and lots of adventures. And visit GoodCheapEats for delicious tips on how to eat well, act your wage and enjoy life.

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