Santa Barbara Family Guide: Ocean Activities

Santa Barbara Family Guide: Ocean Activities

Santa Barbara Family Guide: Ocean Activities

Welcome to our latest blog series, where we showcase the best things to do with kids in Santa Barbara! As locals with children, nieces, and nephews, we know that our coastal town is a haven for family-friendly activities. Whether you live here or are just visiting, Santa Barbara offers a plethora of attractions for kids of all ages.

Santa Barbara is famous for its beautiful beaches, so this week, we're highlighting fun ocean activities that both kids and parents will love!

Please visit the websites linked for more information on location, tickets, and resources.

Located directly on Stearns Wharf, the Sea Center is a fantastic museum dedicated to Santa Barbara’s sea life and ocean habitat. Kids will get the opportunity to touch cool sea creatures at the touch tanks, study the ocean using real oceanographic tools at the Wet Deck, and explore fascinating interactive exhibits. The Sea Center is a great spot to spend a fun and educational afternoon with the kids.


Credit Damian P. Gadal

Take a a ride on Lil' Toot

Experience the beauty of Santa Barbara’s waterfront with Lil’ Toot, SB’s only water taxi, also known as the happiest boat in the harbor! Lil’ Toot will take your family on an exciting 25 minute boat ride from the Harbor to Stearns Wharf, with ocean-related narration and fun facts provided by the captain! In between boat rides, kids can enjoy sweet treats and souvenirs on Stearns Wharf or a yummy lunch at one of the many seafood restaurants by the Harbor.


Credit: Caitlin Fitch


With Summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to go tidepooling in Santa Barbara! Tidepools allow kids to explore and interact with Santa Barbra’s diverse sea life. You can enjoy tide pools at just about any beach in SB, but we recommend visiting Leadbetter Beach on the Mesa or Coal Oil Point by UCSB. You’ll want to visit the pools during a low tide to get the most enjoyment out of them, so be sure to check the tide level before going on your excursion!


Stay tuned for more family-friendly activities and recommendations in our blog series. Until then, we hope you and your family have an amazing time exploring Santa Barbara’s incredible coast!

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