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Santa Barbara: Eight family-friendly things to do in Meghan and Harry’s new home town

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With the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, all eyes are on Santa Barbara.

The city’s long had a royal connection, though. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge went to a polo match here. And the Queen rode with Ronald Reagan at his ranch, Rancho del Cielo.

Santa Barbara isn’t just for royalty (or ex-royalty) – your family, too, can explore Santa Barbara. And who knows, you might even run into little Archie.

Sure there is the Mission, the architecturally stunning Courthouse, and plenty of cool museums, including the Natural History Museum featuring a 90-foot blue whale skeleton named Chad. But this is Santa Barbara, and getting outdoors is a must – be that surfing, kayaking or stand up paddle boards.

Just 45km off the Santa Barbara coast are the Channel Islands, a place where you’ll feel like you’ve discovered it first. Actually, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillio was there first in 1542, but Native Americans lived there 13,000 years ago.

There are three islands which are easily accessible as day trips: Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa. You can kayak, snorkel, dive and hike to your heart’s content. There are camping facilities on Santa Cruz, but your cell phones won’t work (hint, hint). The islands are fairly pristine with vegetation that grows nowhere else on earth. It’s like stepping back in time. Plus you’ll always see other families on the way out and back – lots of pods of dolphins.

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