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Kayaking with Kids in Santa Barbara

Our family recently took a week long Spring Break vacation to Santa Barbara. I had recently become the Southern Destination Guroo for a family-travel website called Trekaroo. I was determined to find a great adventure for our family that I could share with readers who might be looking for fun this summer. When I found the Santa Barbara Adventure Company I had a great feeling that it would provide the service and equipment we needed for some amazing family fun. I was right. We really loved our Refugio State Beach kayaking adventure with the Santa Barbara Adventure Company. It was the highlight of our Spring Break trip. It was a great mix of adventure, nature exploration, and being well taken care of by our tour guide.

We started our day on the palm studded beach at Refugio State Beach, about 20 minutes west of Santa Barbara. I was honestly a bit nervous that I would be really cold as the clouds covered the sun. The weather forecast was for a high of 65, pretty typical for Santa Barbara at this time of year. We had come prepared, though, bringing everything we could think of to make the trip enjoyable.

However, our tour guide came even more prepared than we were. He offered us full body wetsuits, which were amazingly and instantly warm. It was like putting on an electric blanket. When the wind picked up, we all donned the weather proof rowing jackets he provided. Topped with a life jacket, we were set. It turns out that all we needed to bring was a swim suit, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Our guide provided absolutely everything else, from water bottles and towels, to a safe place to put our car keys.
lunch on kayak tour
My son anxiously watched as our tour guide taught us how to face into the waves with our kayaks and paddle. He was a little bit nervous about getting through the waves, even though they were small and fairly calm. Our tour guide helped push my 8 year old and I straight through the waves and we were off. I turned around in my kayak to watch my nervous 10-year-old as he and daddy paddled hard through the small surf. The beaming smile on his face told me that he loved it. The nervousness was gone AND we were toasty warm! Paddling out to sea was just the start of our adventure! Because of our instructions on the shore, we all knew how to paddle our kayaks, although actually rowing them took more muscle than I remembered!

My boys loved the ride up the coast. We saw cormorants and were given a bit of a nature lesson on this unique bird. We floated into the kelp beds and learned some of the many uses for this fast growing plant. We even tasted a little bit… didn’t taste like chicken… tasted like spinach!

Landing on our secluded beach was a bit more tricky because the waves were a bit higher. Our tour guide safely guided us in and helped us land with no problems. After a rest and some exploring on the beach, I was ready for lunch. I had imagined a deli style, pre-packaged lunch that was included in our tour. I was very much surprised and delighted to see the spread of gourmet sandwich toppings and sides that our tour guide had prepared for us. Delicious! My kids loved it too and greatly appreciated the soda and cookies. They played in the sand and surf with another young boy on our trip and had a great afternoon.
kayaking family on beach
We headed back to Refugio State Beach and made quick time due to some fun races that my son was anxious to play and win. We landed easily and found that the hardest part of the day was taking the sticky wet suits off! What an amazing trip!

The cost of this trip is well worth it, especially because of our expert guide, all of the professional equipment available to us, and the gourmet lunch. We felt very well taken care of and really enjoyed all that nature had to offer. The Santa Barbara Adventure Company offers great adventures with expert tour guides and careful planning and preparation. As we heard about the other trips our tour guide had been on for Santa Barbara Adventure Company, we became eager to join him again on a kayak trip at the Channel Islands, on a bike trip through the green hills near Santa Barbara, or to a horseback riding trip. So many fun adventures yet to be had!

Guest Blogger, Michelle McCoy (aka Mcfam) is Trekaroo’s Southern California Destination Guroo. She and her husband, Matt, homeschool their 3 boys and a girl ages 2 to 10.  They love traveling to National Parks and going camping, but when life with young kids keeps them home, they find their fun in traveling to the local beaches in Orange County and hiking in the wilderness areas nearby.

beach kayak tours santa barbara
Thanks for sharing Michelle. Hope to see you again real soon.

If you have a question or comment about traveling with your family, please post in our comment section below.

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