Santa Barbara is the perfect destination for family fun this summer, offering a variety of family-friendly events and activities for all ages. In 2024, a few of our favorite annual events are back with exciting new offerings that are worth marking on the calendar:

50th Anniversary of the Summer Solstice Celebration

From June 21st – 23rd, Santa Barbara will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its iconic Summer Solstice Celebration. The festivities kick off with a grand parade at noon on Saturday, featuring whimsical floats, colorful costumes, and lively performances as it makes its way down Santa Barbara Street to Alameda Park. The event culminates in a three-day festival at Alameda Park with live music, food vendors, a beer garden, and more. There will also be a dedicated area for kids (newly named Solstice FUNtopia), featuring the Kids Zone, CommUnity Stage and Imaginarium. It’s the perfect kickoff and celebration of summer, and we’re expecting spectacular weather! If you’re looking for a place to stay, our Villa Castillo units are located in Downtown Santa Barbara and within walking distance from the parade route and Alameda Park.

4th of July Fireworks

On July 4th, Santa Barbara’s waterfront will light up with a spectacular fireworks display over the ocean and palm trees. During the day, families can celebrate at the waterfront with a number of fun activities, food vendors, and live music at the West Beach bandstand (sponsored by the PARC Foundation). The highlight of the evening is, of course, the 20-minute fireworks show at 9pm, launched from West Beach. Local radio station KjEE (92.9 FM) will simulcast the fireworks soundtrack.  In our opinion, there’s no better place for families can enjoy the beach, have a picnic, and take in the festive atmosphere surrounding our nation’s independence. Plus, with several rentals in West Beach, your family can be walking distance to all the excitement – or even watch the fireworks from your vacation home!

Free Movies at the Santa Barbara Courthouse

Every Friday evening from July 5th to August 23rd, the Santa Barbara Courthouse’s beautiful Sunken Gardens transforms into a free, open-air cinema. The Free Summer Cinema series presents movies under the stars, including Jaws, 50 First Dates, and Mamma Mia! to name a few. Bring your blankets, low-back chairs, and a picnic basket full of snacks to enjoy classic films in a unique and historic setting. This event is a wonderful way to spend a relaxing evening with loved ones.

More Family-Friendly Activities

Beyond these marquee events, Santa Barbara offers an array of other family-friendly activities, including visits to the Santa Barbara Zoo, exploring the MOXI Museum, and enjoying the beaches and parks that make this coastal city a delightful summer destination. Plan your visit and make unforgettable memories with your family this summer! When you stay in one of our Santa Barbara vacation rentals, you and the family will be central to all the fun our city has to offer.