A Vacation, Once and For All

Looking for a family-friendly getaway? Look no further than Santa Barbara, California.
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Santa Barbara Four Seasons Biltmore pool

In addition to child-friendly quarters, there are a number of activities at the Four Seasons that will keep the kids happy during your stay. Down by the intersection of State Street and East Beach, you can rent six-person four-wheel bikes to ride along the beach. Though touristy, it’s all in the name of good family fun—and even the youngest among them will remember the fresh coastal breeze blowing across their skin.

When the little ones grow tired of pedaling, consider making your way over to Alameda Park for Kids’ World, the largest and most magical playground within a 100 mile radius. There, you’ll find a wooden castle complete with bridges, cubbies, towers, mazes, and monkey bars. If it all sounds like a kiddy’s dream come true, that’s because it is: The entire playground was based on the drawings of schoolchildren.

After they’ve worked up a sweat, treat them to a delicious brunch at the Four Seasons Biltmore. The Coral Café and Bar, which is open to resort guests and club members, serves up scrumptious, kid-friendly burgers, sandwiches, and a selection of grilled foods. A pricier option is the San Ysidro Ranch Stonehouse’s brunch menu, which includes poached eggs, pan seared Scottish salmon, and a sweet house-made waffle dish. Remember to call ahead of time for reservations.

For a mid-afternoon family stroll, check out Butterfly Beach, which neighbors the Biltmore. Its waters are paradisiacal in good weather and your little ones will enjoy dipping their toes in the water and tossing seashells into buckets. Another popular destination? The Channel Islands. While the water can be pretty rough this time of year, the sand and surf are serene in the summer months. Conduct a quick weather check before you go to ensure an easy experience.

If you plan to venture outside of Santa Barbara, consider a trip to neighboring Montecito’s Pierre Lafonde. The gourmet grocery and takeout lunch joint sits next to Wendy Foster, a one-of-a-kind women’s clothing and fabulous housewares store that’s perfect for browsing.

By the time we packed for the winding drive home, the stresses of the past year seemed far, far away—exactly what I needed.

Up next: A starter’s guide to visiting Santa Barbara.

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