Summer is nearly here, which means more time to get out and enjoy the sunshine with your friends and family! Take advantage of the long days and explore more of what your community has to offer, you never know what hidden gems you might be missing out on! Check out our list of some of our family fun favorites, from Ventura County all the way up to Santa Cruz.
- Ventura Boat Rentals – Didn’t get enough of water sports during Girl Scout Camp? Here you can check out harbor tours, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, electric boats, and jet skis while searching for Sea Lions!
- San Buenaventura Mission – Founded in 1782, this beautiful Spanish mission is open for the public to explore and enjoy. Roam around the beautiful gardens and check out the small museum with displays of Chumash Indian artifacts and mission-era items.
- Underwood Family Farms – Come and enjoy this fully operational working farm, where you can pick your own fruits and vegetables, pet farm animals, and play games! Weekend and holiday admission includes a tractor-drawn wagon ride and Animal Show.
- Gardens of the World – Get a taste of world culture and explore Japanese, French, English, Italian, and authentic Spanish Mission gardens. Admission is FREE and visitors can enjoy a guided or self-led tour. Pack a picnic for lunch with a view!
- The Museum of Ventura County – Check out family-friendly activities on the first Sunday of each month and FREE admission daily. The museum has cultural and art exhibits, as well as film screenings and music events.
Santa Barbara County
- Old Mission Santa Barbara – Here in the church and museum you’ll get to travel back in time with fascinating 17th-century art, artifacts and re-creations of the Mission’s living quarters and kitchen. Outdoors, you can explore the colorful sacred gardens and cemetery, with expansive views of the city and the Pacific Ocean.
- Kid’s World at Alameda Park – Santa Barbara’s oldest park, Alameda Park, spans two blocks with picnic areas and wide open spaces. The various parts of the 8,000 square foot playground are designed for children from 2-12 years of age and feature a castle, swings, and slides.
- Carriage and Western Art Museum of Santa Barbara – This non-profit organization collects, displays and preserves historic horse-drawn vehicles, saddles, and western memorabilia. Get a touch of the Wild West with FREE admission.
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History – This museum can easily take up an entire afternoon with its expansive exhibits including Bird, Mammal, Earth & Marine Sciences, and Gem & Mineral Halls, a Chumash exhibit, and Planetarium. In the Museum Backyard & Nature Clubhouse, guests can interact with animals and insects, build forts, explore the creek and sensory garden, create nature art, and even excavate a fossil. From now until September 2nd, you can enjoy the live butterfly pavilion and prehistoric forest with animatronic dinosaurs!
- Land and Sea Tours – Hop on one of Santa Barbara’s infamous “Land Sharks” and see historical landmarks as you ride around charming downtown. Kids will be delighted as the bus turns into a boat when it hits the harbor, where you can encounter sea lions, seals, dolphins, or even whales!
San Luis Obispo
- Sunset Drive-In Theatre – Go retro for a night and grab your pillow, blanket, and a comfy camping chair to enjoy a movie under the stars! Hit the old school snack bar and get two movies for the price of one with their double features.
- Bubblegum Alley – This 15-foot high and 70-foot long alley is lined with chewed gum left by visitors over decades. Though a little gross, this wall has a fun history and is a great place to take pictures with the kids while they enjoy adding to the collection.
- San Luis Obispo Museum of Art – Enjoy three different gallery spaces and FREE admission at SLOMA. Featuring exhibitions by contemporary California artists, the museum also offers youth and adult art classes, lectures, film nights, trips, concerts and art events.
- Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery – From mid-March to mid-June, all female members of the colony and juvenile males come on the beach to molt. The viewing areas are open every day of the year, are wheelchair accessible, and FREE with no reservations required. Check out the Elephant Seal live cam!
- Moonstone Beach – Pack your towels and go moonstone hunting at Cambria’s Moonstone Beach! This beach is the perfect place to search for little treasures, including colorful rocks, sea glass, and driftwood.
San Benito County
- Gizdich Ranch – Take a self-guided walking tour of a charming, working farm and explore the berry fields and apple orchards where you can pick your own produce! Then, picnic among the apple trees and stop by their famous pie shop.
- National Steinbeck Center – Literature lovers unite! Discover Steinbeck’s world through interactive, multisensory exhibits for all ages, rare artifacts, and seven themed theaters showcasing East of Eden, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and much more.
- San Benito County Historical Park – Step back in time in the historical village, where you can visit an old schoolhouse, dance hall, firehouse, bar, jail, and barn. Bring the whole family and have a barbecue or picnic on the lawn.
- Mission San Juan Bautista – Founded in 1797 and named after Saint John the Baptist, this mission has a museum with a collection of artifacts, extensive gardens, and traditional church and cemetery. It is surrounded by a number of buildings from Spanish Colonial and early American times, including settlers cabins, Indian burial grounds, and a town jail.
- Pinnacles National Park – Escape from the city in this beautiful park, which is the perfect place to hike, rock climb, view wildflowers, bird watch, and experience nature. Visitors can also explore the Talus Caves or book a camping reservation at Pinnacles Campground.
- Self-guided Path of History Tour – Take yourself on a FREE tour through history by following the yellow tiles in the sidewalk (you can also access a tour on your cellphone!). The tour points out important adobes and structures such as Colton Hall, Custom House Plaza, Pacific House and the Golden State Theatre.
- FREE trolley ride around town – Skip traffic and avoid parking and traffic with the best way to get around the city! The route serves Downtown Monterey, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History – Enjoy educational fun while exploring the birds and wildlife, plants, geology, and cultural exhibits. Kids will enjoy a Junior Naturalist Adventure, fossil dig pit, scavenger hunt, and more!
- Dennis the Menace Playground – Created by the man who created the Dennis the Menace comic strips, this public park and playground is one of the best in the state.The expansive playground has multiple play structures of various heights so that every child can find one right for them.
- Point Sur State Historic Park Lighthouse – Pick between a morning, afternoon, or moonlight tour to explore this lighthouse! Spot whales and wildflowers while listening to tales about the “ghosts” of light keepers past.
Santa Cruz County
- Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk – California’s oldest seaside amusement park features the Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster and the Looff Carousel, two national historic landmarks. On Wednesday nights at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, FREE summertime movies are shown on a big screen set on the sand.
- FREE museums – Check out one of many free museums in the area! These include the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center, San Lorenzo Valley Historical Museum, Capitola Museum, and the Aptos History Museum.
- First Friday – The first Friday evening of each month, downtown Santa Cruz shops and businesses keep their doors open to the public past their usual closing time. Each of them offers something a little different, whether it be live music, art exhibits, or tasty bites, and is almost always FREE.
- Mystery Spot – Experience various demonstrations that defy gravity at this natural phenomenon. Take the 45-minute tour to watch a ball appear to roll uphill and see inexplicable perspectives where a very tall person can appear significantly shorter than a short person.
Looking for more fun over the summer? Check out our Activities Calendar which is updated daily for educational and exciting programs that your Girl Scout is sure to love! Don’t forget to share all of your great photos with us! You can send them over to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in our newsletter or Facebook!