Kayaking with Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Santa Barbara is a jewel of an enclave 90 miles north of Los Angeles where locals and visitors alike thrive on the amazing year-round weather. Referred to as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is blessed with beautiful beaches, gorgeous red-tiled roofs and is bordered by majestic mountains. With near year-round sunshine, it is the perfect destination for anyone seeking an adventure.

My family visits Santa Barbara a few times every year and on our last visit I stumbled upon Santa Barbara Adventure Co. What a score of a find!

My kids were interested in kayaking around the wharf, and I didn’t feel confident enough to take them alone. I called the company and gave them the low-down on my situation. I was in Santa Barbara with two young kids solo as my wife needed to stay home and work. We wanted to try sea kayaking, but I am not experienced enough to take the children nor are they old enough to kayak alone.

SB Adventure Co. to the rescue! They were extremely helpful explaining our options, costs and gave us several times to choose from. They assured me they would take good care of us and make sure the kids had a good time.

Our Adventure Kayaking in Santa Barbara with Kids
The day of our excursion was a typical gorgeous day in Santa Barbara, mid 70s with a slight breeze. I was told to meet our guide at the Santa Barbara Harbor, and right on time, our guide Ben was already there as we arrived.

Our Santa Barbara Adventure Company Guide
My kids took to Ben immediately as he had a warm smile and generous personality. He was extremely safety conscience. He thoroughly explained all the rules, made sure we were slathered with sunscreen, had plenty of water, and provided life jackets.

Joining us on our adventure was a film crew from UC Santa Barbara as they were filming a documentary about oil seepage in the Santa Barbara area. Ben brought three two-person kayaks for all of us. My son was eager to hang with Ben in his kayak, and my daughter kept me company. The film crew took the third kayak.

We set off paddling around the harbor where Ben explained how to maneuver the kayak. This was the perfect place to practice before we hit the open water, and kayaking around multi-million dollar yachts wasn’t too shabby either. Along the way, Ben provided amazing commentary of the eco life in the Santa Barbara harbor and of Santa Barbara history. I was quite impressed!

Our Santa Barbara Kayaking Tour
Our journey took us around the breaker where we saw a number of birds. Then Ben decided to challenge us by seeing how well we could kayak under the pier and in and around the posts. The kids loved this activity! It made for some good laughs as a couple times we slammed into a post. It was also was also fun seeing all the barnacles attached to the wooden structures up close.

After our pier shenanigans, we headed out to view the sea lions that hang out on a buoy a bit further out. This was amazing, and we loved watching them swim and climb up on the buoy to bask in the sun. They are quite vocal creatures and have a very distinctive bark. Several sea lions fit on the buoy at once and they seemed quite content hanging out with a gaggle of kayakers paddling around them.

Kayaking in Santa Barbara - Sea lions
During our adventure kayaking in Santa Barbara, we came across a group of sea lions!

The UCSB filmmakers wanted to take our photo here with the sea lions in the background. However, as we tried to line up, their kayak suddenly overturned and their Go-Pro sunk to the bottom of the water. Ouch!

As we finally headed back the wind kicked up a bit, making it more difficult to paddle to shore. No worries, Ben made sure everyone was ok and kept everyone laughing.

All in all our kayak trip was two hours which flew by in the blink of an eye. Ben was the perfect guide, and true to Santa Barbara Adventure Company’s reputation, he was a professional all the way. Not only do they offer kayak tours, they have an amazing menu of fun adventures for the whole family like horseback riding, wine tours, paragliding and rope climbing, just to name a few. When we return to Santa Barbara, the kids want to sign up for surfing lessons!

Tip: If you have a love/hate relationship with the sun, bring a hat with a wide brim to cover your face, neck and ears, as well as water shoes. Flip flops can become part of the ocean if you overturn. Don’t forget your sunscreen and water!

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Lara received a complimentary kayak trip from Santa Barbara Adventure Company in return for a review. However, this review is honest, and the fun was real!

Photo credits: Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Kayaking in Santa Barbara CA with Kids | Santa Barbara Kayaking Tours with Santa Barbara Adventure Company

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Lara D. Are you interested in traveling to Santa Barbara? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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