ParentClick Ventura

Creating a Magical Staycation on the Central Coast


If you’re like me, the word “vacation” brings to mind adventure, beautiful places, perhaps even full-service, in-room dining and a massage. OK, that last bit went by the wayside with the birth of that first child, and vowed not to return for a couple of decades with the birth of the second. Still, I hope for magical, memorable moments when we’re on vacation.

With the double hits of increased fuel prices and a fumbling economy, the big family vacation just isn’t in the cards for many families this year. Then there’s college saving, or private school tuition, not to mention clothing and groceries for the munchkins. But vacation IS still possible, with a little shift in mindset and some planning.

Think about it this way – how many people travel from the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD to be here on the Central Coast for their hard-earned vacations? Heaps, loads, ships full. Yet we traditionally flee this beautiful place that really does offer everything we could need or want (short of snow). We have great shopping, great beaches, fantastic backcountry, wonderful museums and abundant performing arts opportunities.

Then there are the family activities.

Why not develop your own camp? Invite over the kids’ friends who share the interest and facilitate your own camp. Dungeons & Dragons? Fairytale Theater? Cooking for Kids? Film-making, hobby building… It’s all up to you and the kids.

Still want to get away? Pack up the camp gear and head to any of a number of campgrounds, from the relative luxury of Cachuma Lake to the rugged backcountry Los Padres National Forest affords. Some hotels and inns offer mid-week special rates, or locals rates.

If you run short of ideas, grab a copy of Best Family Adventures: Santa Barbara County, or venture further north with Best Family Adventures: San Luis Obispo County. Both books list hundreds of recreational options, including fairly obscure clubs. Available at these locations. Or drop me a note and I’ll help you brainstorm.

[AUTHOR: Jennifer Best]
Pen & Pad Publishing
(805) 938-1307

April 29, 2014

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