Santa Barbara is one among the foremost beautiful beach towns on the western seaboard. Located about two hours north of l. a. , its history, mild climate and scenic beauty has deservedly earned its nickname of the “American Riviera“. Understandably, it’s got a reputation for catering to rich people. No worries, though. There are still many free things to try to to in Santa Barbara with kids.Free Things to Do in Santa Barbara

1. Old Mission Santa Barbara 
A visit to the Queen of the Missions may be a must when visiting Santa Barbara . The 21 California Spanish missions were an integral part within the state’s history. Founded by the Franciscan priests, they were built as centers of spiritual and cultural activities but are now parishes and living museums.

California’s fourth graders usually need to choose a mission for a project and my daughter picked this mission for her report last year. The expansive lawn ahead of the mission is fashionable families and sunbathers or kids who need wide open spaces to play tag.

Going inside the mission for a self-guided tour requires a minimal fee of $5 but it's definitely worthwhile . There are still some free attractions to ascertain on the mission’s grounds like the garden , alittle garden of plants the Spaniards and Indians used, the gorgeous fountain and therefore the lavanderia (used for garments washing). Considered the prettiest of the missions, it's easy to ascertain why with its architecture and surrounding area.

2. Alameda Park and Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden
Santa Barbara’s oldest park, Alameda Park, occupies two blocks of facilities, picnic areas and wide open spaces making this a well-liked gathering for families and for city celebrations. We’ve visited our justifiable share of playgrounds everywhere the planet . But, the Alameda Park’s Kid’s World area was a powerful one.

The 8,000 sq ft playground that seemed like a wooden fortress contained every imaginable activity to stay kids of all ages busy from castles, swings, slides to large sculpture animals to hop on .

There were quite few parties happening here during our visit. Don’t miss the 120- year old Moreton Bay tree here.
Walk across the road to the Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden for the youngsters to feed the koi and turtles in residence at the pond. This was an exquisite place to steer around and see the well-maintained gardens with California native plants. It contains 75 different tree and plant species along winding paths.

3. Historic Santa Barbara Courthouse
A courthouse might not sound very appealing for a visit but this public building is taken into account one among the foremost beautiful Spanish-Moorish buildings out there. It occupies one whole block within the downtown area and its building and grounds are hospitable the general public . Docent tours are free everyday at 2PM except Sundays.

Climb the steps or take the elevator to the 85-foot “El Mirador” tower for amazing views of the town , ocean and mountains. We regretted not having enough time to travel up the tower during our last visit.

Don’t miss the mural room for beautiful intricate painted walls and ceiling. The courthouse is surrounded with an exquisite collection of plants and palms. The well maintained lawn is an excellent place to relax and a good enough space for teenagers to play at.

4. Beaches
Visiting one among Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches must get on everyone’s itinerary. East Beach tends to be the foremost popular thanks to its close proximity to hotels. it's good facilities, children’s play areas and many of motorcycle and rollerblading paths. this is often also the hub of some shows and street entertainers. The West Beach area has far more boating activity.

 5. Stearns Wharf
California’s wooden piers have always been wonderful tourist attractions. Stearns Wharf is not any exception as California’s oldest working pier. This important landmark has many specialty shops and restaurants including candy and frozen dessert shops for the youngsters and a gathering room for mom and pop .

It is an excellent place for a leisurely stroll, people watch, inhale the ocean breeze and luxuriate in the mountain and ocean views. Kids can see the locals fishing at the top of the pier and a glimpse at their catch. they'll even get lucky and spot seals or dolphins too.
*Have you visited any of those free Santa Barbara attractions? the other free attractions you’d wish to add?