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Featured Destination

Albuquerque, NM

Among many other things, the American Southwest is famous for its adventure, its spirit of fun, and its beautiful scenery. Nowhere do all these things come together like on a family vacation in Albuquerque, New Mexico...

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Santa Barbara, CA

Santa Barbara has a reputation for being a beautiful, coastal playground for the Hollywood elite. This reputation is certainly deserved—there is an aura of luxury in Santa Barbara that is unrivaled anywhere else in California. However, Santa Barbara also makes an excellent family vacation destination. Family vacationers find Santa Barbara to be extremely welcoming and accommodating for all types of families. Family vacation time in Santa Barbara is best spent outdoors, enjoying the mild weather, the stunning natural scenery, and of course, the cool waters of the Pacific. Family vacations to Santa Barbara are filled with a special, relaxed kind of excitement; where the consistent, peaceful hum of beauty and ease is a constant background to the plethora of family vacation activities. The price tag that families assume come with a Santa Barbara family vacation is not as high as you might think; free and economical family vacation activities abound. And the Santa Barbara public beaches are always free, always beautiful and always fun. In Santa Barbara, you can indulge in a playground of natural wonders and crafted luxury, all while keeping an eye on the family vacation budget. Santa Barbara is an inspired choice for a family vacation.

Santa Barbara Historical Sites and Museums

You will discover on your Santa Barbara family vacation that Santa Barbara is more than just a luxury vacation destination: Santa Barbara has a wealth of important Spanish and Californian history. Santa Barbara is often called the Queen of the Missions, because Santa Barbara Mission is the most visited in the state. Founded on St. Barbara day in 1786, Santa Barbara Mission quickly became a center point for the California Mission culture. Make sure you visit the Santa Barbara mission on your family vacation in order to better understand this dense history. Another interesting fact worth noting on your family vacation is that the architecture of the Santa Barbara mission—a blend of Roman, Moorish and Spanish styles—became the inspiration for the popular Mission style of California architecture. To fully understand Santa Barbara history on your family vacation, you need not venture far from the mission. Surrounding the mission is the Sacred Gardens, which is worth visiting on your family vacation. Also in the former living quarters are a rich collection of mission artifacts, a virtual Mission Museum that will help to illuminate the history of this place on your Santa Barbara family vacation. Just a short ways from the mission, and a perfect stop for a family vacation, is the Museum of Art, which has an outstanding collection of art and antiquities. Another museum that is popular for family vacationers is the Historical Museum, which is housed in two traditional adobe buildings. A little bit further away is the Presidio, which should be a stop on your family vacation, simply because of the surrounding coastal beauty.

Santa Barbara Downtown

Santa Barbara is a college town; UC Santa Barbara dominates some parts of the culture, which makes a family vacation trip to downtown Santa Barbara fun and informal. On your Santa Barbara family vacation, you will most likely be startled by the rare sight of a town that has a perfect architectural symmetry: every building in Santa Barbara is built to follow a strict rule that dictates Mediterranean-style. You will discover on your family vacation that this gives Santa Barbara a close-knit, village type feel that is often lost in the big California cities. The heart of Santa Barbara is State Street, and more than likely, you will spend a great deal of your family vacation time here, enjoying the shops, galleries and restaurants. On State Street is the Arlington Theater, which a great place to catch a movie on your family vacation and to enjoy the gorgeous history that is etched onto the theater walls. If the parents in the family enjoy art, but the kids do not, then Santa Barbara downtown area has a perfect compromise for a family vacation—Fazzino 3D Studio Gallery has bright and colorful art that is enjoyable to observe and watch move. Make sure you spin by the Santa Barbara County Courthouse on your downtown Santa Barbara family vacation, which is notable for its impressive architecture. The Lobero Theater is another great family vacation stop. It dates back to 1942 and stands on the site of the first theater in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara Beaches

Every family vacation needs to have some time dedicated to the outdoors, and this is never a problem in a lush, gorgeous location like Santa Barbara. The beaches get a lot of attention on a Santa Barbara family vacation, and well they should. Even in the height of the busy season, the beaches in Santa Barbara always seem to be calm and quiet. Classic beachside family vacation activities, from building sand castles to taking surf lessons, are all available to do at Santa Barbara beaches. Butterfly Beach is a popular public beach that is located near some ritzy resorts: What this means for family vacationers it that there is a good chance of seeing someone famous! There are no facilities at Buttefly Beach, but the laidback, casual vibe make it a great choice for your family vacation. East Beach is the most popular Santa Barbara beach—long, shady and bordered by a park, it is the quintessential family vacation beach. Family vacationers will love the snack bars, the rollerblading path and the child play area. East Beach is also a great place to see the local Santa Barbara culture on your family vacation; every weekend the path and park gets busy with locals, college students and tourists, all of whom descend to have fun and socialize. An East Beach pastime that you may want to discover on your Santa Barbara family vacation is paddleboarding, which is rapidly becoming a popular water activity. BlueLine Paddle Surf is located on East Beach and is a rental and school outfit that is well reviewed by family vacationers.

Santa Barbara Family Activities

There are plenty of ways to keep your family entertained on a Santa Barbara family vacation. None of them need break your budget, either. Families often have specific needs on their family vacations: it is worth researching the best places to go in Santa Barbara that will accommodate those needs. The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is a great place to visit on your family vacation; adults will appreciate the beauty of nature and will enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of the local plant life, while kids will enjoy the acres of small rolling green hills, perfect for running and playing along. Another great family vacation activity in Santa Barbara (and it is free!) is to spend some time at Shoreline Park, which is the best whale viewing spot in all of Santa Barbara. Of course, all kids on a family vacation love places that are made just for them: Kidsworld is a popular destination for family vacationers because it is made just for them.

Santa Barbara Festivals

The lively, relaxed atmosphere in Santa Barbara makes it a great place to see a festival or attend a concert on a family vacation. In the summer, the city of Santa Barbara hosts live, free concerts at Chase Palm Park and Alameda Park. There are also spontaneous and frequent drum circles that form on the beaches, to which all and sundry are invited to join! Santa Barbara is famous for its wine and cuisine offerings: one festival that celebrates this is the Santa Barbara County Vintners Festival. While the tastings are off limits to the kids in the family, this is still a fun family vacation activity. All members of the family can enjoy the great food and music in the beautiful outdoor environment. Madonnari is another popular Santa Barbara festival: 25,000 people descend onto Santa Barbara to see the more than 200 street paintings that are created by more than 400 artists. This all takes place around the Mission. If your family vacation does not fall during a festival, then you can catch the same vibe at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market on State Street. Music and food abounds—as does fresh produce and gorgeous, bountiful bouquets of flowers. In Santa Barbara, the living is easy and family vacations are fun and affordable!


Guest Editor: Carola Valdes

Wife and mother of two little ones, traveling is her family’s favorite pastime (as long as it’s family-friendly and fun).

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Featured Property

Golden Eagle Inn
Bedford, PA
United States

Located in the heart of historic downtown Bedford, The Golden Eagle Inn combines history with comfort. The Inn has been a Pennsylvania weekend getaway favorite for many over the years.

Golden Eagle Inn

Contact Information

131 East Pitt St
Bedford, Pennsylvania  15522
United States
General Manager:
Oralee Kieffer
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