Your free family time in Santa Barbara - Scott Dunn suggests

Santa Barbara, California, United States of America

Santa Barbara's climate and wine country is enough to capture adult imaginations but there's also lots of fun to be had for the children from the planetarium, the Ty Warner Sea Center, Santa Barbara's Sailing Club and Hendry's Beach for sand castles.

Santa Barbara is the 'American Riviera' with a beautiful sunny climate and Pacific Ocean breeze. Head to Arroyo Burro (Hendy's Beach) near the junction of Cliff Dr and Las Positas Rd for a family friendly beach, with free parking and a restaurant. Get out on the water with the Santa Barbara Sailing Center on kayaks or Catamarans, or take a trip out to the Channel Islands with its unique flora and fauna best seen by boat or kayak. Cycling is the favorite way to get around, and bikes can be found at Wheel Fun (22 State St) where you can choose from classic cruisers to mountain bikes.

For some down time, visit the Museum of Natural History for the planetarium (www.sbnature.org) or the Maritime Museum to check out the model ships and practice reeling in a catch (www.santabarbaramuseum.com) or the Ty Warner Sea Center to touch tide pool creatures and huge whale skeletons (www.sbnature.org/seacenter). To see these incredible ocean goers in their natural habitat, try a whale and dolphin watching trip with Condor Express for twice daily summer trips from the wharf (www.condorexpress.com/whale-watching).

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