Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Harbor Walk


The Santa Barbara Harbor has many attractions! One quick one is the walk out to Sandspit Beach with the Breakwater Flag project along the way. The flags represent and honor many of our town's non-profit organizations. When I told my kids this tidbit on our last visit, they tried to spot ones they knew (more than I expected). Some they spotted the logo and some they guessed from the letters. There are about 27 flags that each organization pays about $350 to fly and replace each year. 

The Harbor from the Visitor's Center

Why it is a favorite: Getting outside and down by the water 

Location: Santa Barbara Harbor

Entrance to the Harbor Walk

Directions: To the harbor, take the 101 to Castillo St and turn towards the water. Turn left at the end onto Cabrillo Blvd/Shoreline Dr. Turn left onto Harbor Way. 

Time Spent: 30  to 45 minutes

Flag Walk

Cost: Free 

Hours: No official hours 

End of the Harbor Walk


Parking: Paid parking is available in the harbor lot with $ per hour (there is a 90 minutes free lot too). 


Sandspit Beach

Kid Quotes: "We guessed a lot of the flags, Mom!" 10 year old

Related Posts: 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Santa Barbara Courthouse


The Santa Barbara Courthouse is a local icon and the view from the top is a great (quick) destination for kids. A couple years back we discovered you can also go inside to see the workings of the clock which is especially impressive when the clock is chiming. We often picnic here on the anniversary of my first date with my husband.  In non-COVID times, there are tours, but with kids it is better to self tour and if they get bored you can skip parts. 


Why it is a favorite: My kids like the history of mom and dad's first date.

Location: 1100 block of Anacapa St across from the Santa Barbara Library

Courthouse View North

Directions: Take 101 to the Mission exit. Turn toward the mountains and then right onto Anacapa St.

Time Spent: 15 minutes to 1/2 hour (more for the picnic) 

Cost: Free 

Courthouse View East

Hours: M-F 8-4 and Weekends 10-4:30 (call or check since times have changed during 2020/2021)

Parking: Parking Lot 7 is across Anacapa and has free parking


Clock Interior

More info: The Courthouse history and tours and the clock 

Kid Quotes: "(The clock) is so complicated." 10 year old  "I love courthouse picnics." 7 year old

Clock Interior 2

Bells

Related Posts: 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Airplanes Taking Off and Landing

 


My kids (especially when they were a bit younger) loved to watch the airplanes take off and land at the Santa Barbara Airport. We eventually found a few locations where we loved to view the planes. Of course our airport isn't really that busy, so you do have to be patient. A picnic is a great way to pass the time while watching the planes. 

Why it is a favorite: Airplanes are cool.  

Location: 
1. Our favorite location is the parking lot at Deckers. They have interesting chairs that we enjoy after hours and on weekends. It is located at the corner of Los Carneros and Hollister Ave. The cool chairs are by parking lot side of the middle of the 3 buildings.

Deckers Chairs are a hit.

2. Deckers Park has the best bird's eye view of the planes taking off and landing. It also has about one mile in paths around the park. It is located overlooking Deckers on Coromar Dr

Planes

View from the park

Deckers Park


3. The next best (and little known spot) for watching the planes is a no name parking lot at the intersection at the end of the 217 exit to Sandspit Road where Moffett Place turns into Sandspit Road. The smaller planes are most visible here. 

No Name Lot

Sign at 217 off ramp

4. WWII Memorial/Cell Phone Lot has a decent view of planes preparing to take off. It is located at the first entrance to the airport with a quick right at the first lot.  

WWII History at SB Airport

Sign for the Cell Lot

WWII Lot View

WWII Memorial

Directions: see above

Time Spent: 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on day and kids

Cost: Free 

Hours: Varies

Parking: parking is available at all these locations. 

Nearby: Goleta Beach, Lake Los Carneros, Deckers Park 

More info: Santa Barbara Airport

Kid Quotes: "I like the spinning chairs." 10 year old  "Planes are cool." 7 year old

Related Posts: 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Hope Ranch Volcano


Between Hope Ranch Beach and Arroyo Burro Beach lies an active volcanic area. It isn't steam like the activity in Yellowstone or lava flow like in Hawaii. It is a solfatara, or “fire well” gaps in the rock where gas and steam seep up where is can catch fire. It was first recorded in 1784 and often it is just a smokey smolder. Hope Ranch locals say it smells like someone is tarring their roof on the particularly active days and that the smell carries a mile inland. Fire crews have to put out brush fires it causes on occasion including the day after we were there!  

Why it is a favorite: steam rising up out of the hill spontaneously!

Location: 1.3 miles away from Arroyo Burro Beach (on a map it is adjacent to Alisa Lane) or much shorter with Hope Ranch Beach access. It is a long walk, but we have friends who take bikes to ride to it. 

Directions: From the entrance to Arroyo Burro Beach, head west toward Hope Ranch Beach (right) for 1.3 miles (or more if you meander like my kids).  

Time Spent: 1-2 hours depending kids and beach play

Cost: Free 

Hours: 8am-Sunset 

Parking: Arroyo Burro has 2 free parking lots with lots of spaces. It does fill up and you can park across the street on Alan Road. 

Nearby: Arroyo Burro Beach, Hope Ranch Beach, Douglas Preserve

More info: Arroyo Burro Beach, recent fire at the volcano, and historical info about it

Kid Quotes: "The steam was cool." 10 year old  

I couldn't capture a great picture, but here is one from the Independent taken by Hugh Margerum.

Hope Ranch Volcano taken by Hugh Margerum

Volcano

Steam

Beach House (just before the volcano)

Cliff before Hope Ranch Beach (just after the volcano)


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Lil' Toot


Lil' Toot is a tug boat with 19 person capacity. It scoots back and forth between the wharf and the harbor daily (during summer) between 12-5:30/5:45. It shows marine life, points out the notable vessels in the harbor and shares local knowledge. 


Location: the Harbor (departs on the hour and half past) or the Wharf (departing at 15 past and 45 past the hour) 


Directions: To the harbor, take the 101 to Castillo St and turn towards the water. Turn left at the end onto Cabrillo Blvd/Shoreline Dr. Turn left onto Harbor Way. It is located at 113 Harbor Way, docking in front of the Maritime Museum.  To the wharf, take the 101 to Castillo St and turn towards the water. Turn left at the end onto Cabrillo Blvd/Shoreline Dr. Turn right onto Stearns Wharf. The office is at 237 Stearns Wharf past the seas center and the shops on the Montecito side of the wharf.


Time Spent: 15 minute narrated ride (Boats leave on time so allow time for buying tickets and you may have to wait to depart depending on arrival time). 

On the wharf, if you are waiting, you can visit the sea center, have lunch at Char West or Longboards, eat ice cream at The Great Pacific Ice Cream Company or sweets from Mother Stearns Candy Company.

At the harbor, if you are waiting, you can visit the Maritime Museum, catch the view from the Santa Barbara Visitors Center (above the Maritime Museum), walk the flag walk out to Sandspit Beach or eat lunch at On the Alley or Chomp on the Rocks

Cost: $5/$2 per one way ride with a beach stroll back and $10/$4 round trip

Hours: the Harbor (departs on the hour and half past) or the Wharf (departing at 15 past and 45 past the hour)

Parking: At the harbor, paid parking is available in the harbor lot with $ per hour (there is a 90 minutes free lot too).  At the Wharf, paid parking is available on the pier with 75 minutes free. 

Nearby: West Beach, Sea Center, Maritime Museum, Harbor Walk and East Beach 

More info: https://www.celebrationsantabarbara.com/cruises/public-cruises/narrated-boat-rides/

Kid Quotes: "I liked Charlie (the sea lion)." -- 7 year old; "I liked feeling the wind and the ocean." 10 year old 

Harbor from the Visitor Center

Harbor from Lil Toot

Pelicans and Cormorants

Sea Lions

Visitor Center Deck

Wharf from the Water

Monday, July 5, 2021

Santa Barbara Farmers Market


 The Farmers Market is a local treasure. It is fun just to walk the aisles and see the local bounty. On a summer morning recently, we found a large variety of fruits and vegetables as well as honey, dates, nuts, essential oils, flowers and seedlings.  

There are 3 Santa Barbara/Goleta local markets weekly and 3 more nearby. In Goleta on Sundays, the market runs from 10am-2pm (although many booths are set up earlier) in the Camino Real Marketplace. In Santa Barbara, the Tuesday market runs from 3pm-7pm in the 600 to 800 block of State Street. Also in Santa Barbara, the Saturday Market runs 8am-1pm at 119 East Cota Street.  

In Solvang, the Wednesday market is 2:30 to 6:30pm in the1600 block of Copenhagen Drive near First St. In Carpinteria, the Thursday market is 3-6:30 in the 800 block of Linden Ave. In Montecito, the Friday market is 8-11:15 in the 1100 & 1200 blocks of Coast Village Rd.

Why it is a favorite: tasty produce and interesting new things to see 

Location: Varies, see above

Directions: See website for more details

Time Spent: 20 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on events and kids

Cost: Free (or I often have a set amount we can spend on things) 

Hours: See above

Parking: Goleta: Camino Real has plenty of parking in their lot; Santa Barbara: Ortega St and Anacapa St (lot 10) or Cota St and Anacapa St (lot 11).

Nearby: Goleta: Ice in Paradise and Santa Barbara: SB Library and the Courthouse 

More info: https://www.sbfarmersmarket.org/

Kid Quotes: "I liked all the colors of vegetables." 10 year old  "I like the pretty flowers." 7 year old

Farmer's Market

Goleta Market

Dahlia

Flowers

Fruit

Honey

Olives

Seedlings

Tomatoes

Veggies