Family vacations with teens can be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone involved, but finding ways to keep them engaged and away from their cell phones can be a bit of a challenge. Santa Barbara, on California’s Pacific Coast, can be an ideal destination for families. With its nearly perfect weather, beautiful scenery and laid-back lifestyle, Santa Barbara has plenty of ways for everyone to have fun.
Check out some of these great ideas for family-friendly activities during your trip that will keep your teens active and entertained.
Get Your Climb On
Visit the Santa Barbara Rock Gym for some indoor or outdoor rock climbing so they can enjoy an afternoon learning something new. The gym has instructional programs for all age groups to teach the basics of rock climbing safety or teens can simply purchase a day pass for $15 with a student ID ($17 for adults). Equipment is available on site for a small rental fee, so there’s no need to worry about bringing anything more than comfortable clothes, good shoes and a positive attitude.
Hit the Beach
Santa Barbara is well-known for its beautiful beaches and surf culture. Set your teen up with surf lessons on your next visit to give them a chance to explore the beach life firsthand. Santa Barbara Surf School offers private and group sessions for surfing and standing paddle-board instruction. Lessons last 1.5 hours and are offered four times throughout the day. Prices start at $95 per person per lesson and include board and wetsuit rental.
Spend Some Time With the Wildlife
The Santa Barbara Zoo is located right next to the beach and offers fun for the whole family, including hard-to-please teenagers. One of the best small zoos in the country, this zoo doesn’t take all day to tour, leaving you with plenty of time to do other things — an invaluable benefit when traveling with teenagers. The zoo is home to more than 500 creatures ranging from insects to elephants and practically everything in between.
Explore the Local Marine Life
Head out to sea to explore the city from a different perspective. The Paddle Sports Center offers a Santa Barbara Wildlife and History Kayaking Tour that gives you a guided tour of the coastline with opportunities to see local marine life such as sea lions, dolphins, egrets and herons. Tours last approximately two hours and are offered three times a day. The cost is $60 per person or $57 per person for groups of four or more.
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