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“There is no better vacation to please both adults and kids.”

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Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“There is no better vacation to please both adults and kids.”
Reviewed 13 June 2014 via mobile

We have attended the Family Vacation Center for 5 years. One month from tomorrow we will go back for year number 6. This vacation is something we look forward to all year. The activites for kids are endless and It is a great mix of family time and a little break from the kids. The staff
Is made up of the most energetic, talented, kind, wonderful, and happy people. We sinply can't wait to go back again!!

  • Stayed July 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank sandiesunshine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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168 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (34)
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Ashland, Oregon
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 16 May 2014

This is such a favorite of ours that we have been five times! Best week for families ever! Perfect mix of adult time away from kids, family time and group time. Staff and counselors are just the best: accommodating, outgoing, enthusiastic, and they love the kids (get ready for yours to get very attached!), and the activities range from lounging at the pool or wine tasting to active sports, kayaking or surfing. There is something to do every minute of the day - if that is what you choose. This vacation is totally up to you - spend all your energy physically and socially or just lay by the pool with a book. Meals are varied, nutritious, and lots of choices to please any palate or diet. And no grocery shopping, cooking or cleaning - how much better can it get? The only downside is the mattresses on the beds in the dorms - bring something soft to lie on.

Room Tip: There are no elevators in the clusters, so choose a room in the towers or be okay with stairs. Staf...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank trvlggirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SF
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2014

If you are looking for a family vacation that offers both much needed 'Adult' time in addition to lots of family fun events, then this is it....you don't have to look any further.

When I was looking for vacation ideas, I wanted to find something similar to the fun memories I had going to Lair the Bear family camp at UCB. It was a yearly tradition that everyone in my family looked forward to. We started going with some other families and then over the years our family friends continued to expand as we connected to more families we'd see each year.

I wanted to find a place, different from Lair the Bear, but that offered the same family experience where children would 'grow' up with friends each summer at camp. My research landed on the UCSB Family Vacation Center. It took very little to convince my spouse considering the kids would be in camp most of the day :-). Our first summer was 2012.

The other reviewers have done a great job capturing the experiences and spirit of FVC...but I will just add a few tidbits. I'm a overly cautious parent who doesn't like to leave my kids with anyone. I can tell you that the caliber of the counselors at the FVC surpassed my expectations and I can honestly say I feel 110% comfortable leaving my kids in their care.

Our first summer at FVC our children developed strong connections to many of the counselors....causing my son to cry upon leaving and for a few months afterwards just thinking about how much he missed them. Then on our first day back the following summer...the moment they saw the counselors they recognized from the previous year...they ran up and hugged them...so excited to start the week together again. A HUGE plus of this camp is that the counselors (aside from being amazing and having excellent preparation and training)....love their jobs there so much...most return year after year which provides a great sense of consistency for the kids...which is important to me.

I also really appreciate the variety of activities they plan for the adults. You can do a lot...or you can do nothing...maybe read a couple of books by the pool alone. You make your own schedule which assures the right balance of fun and r&r. And they offer cheap babysitting with your kids' favorite counselors...doesn't get better than that!

The accommodations are in the dorms...and the beds are not the most comfortable...but it all works. The cleaning crew do an excellent job of keeping them clean which I appreciate.

I've learned that each week at the FVC as a unique culture....so once you find the week that fits you and your family....you will be hooked for life. We are counting down the days to our next FVC adventure....seeing the special friends we've made the past few years...and making more friends to enjoy our week with.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank dbwz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2014

Incredible staff, beautiful location, fun and exciting activities for kids AND grown-ups, this is THE ultimate summer destination for families with kids of ALL ages! Our children had a blast with enthusiastic counselors who took them to the beach, the zoo, and on scavenger hunts around the UCSB campus. It was easy for my husband and I to relax and enjoy our own "field trips" (wine tasting! hiking! strolling in downtown Santa Barbara!) knowing that our children were being so well cared for. We loved the family-centric evening activities (talent shows and bingo night were definite highlights), and it was great to have counselors available for babysitting as well, so the grownups could head back into town.

My kids have been begging to go back since we got home last summer, and we love that this is going to be a family tradition for many years to come.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank MandJS S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
48 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2014 via mobile

We have come here 4 years now and keep coming back. My kids ask about it all year- when is family vacation camp?
This vacation center brilliantly combines energetic, capable college students who provide childcare and fun activities for kids and adults with a location close to the ocean in beautiful Santa Barbara. For the adults, you get some nice family time and some nice adult time with a wide range of activities like wine tasting, hiking, fitness classes that you can do or not do. Truly, something for everyone and an easy vacation for families with much of the planning done for you. We're headed back again this year!

Stayed August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jehni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Santa Clarita, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 February 2014

The best vacation since you've had kids! This is the perfect family vacation for a family who loves activities, friendships, the sun, and FUN! We have been going to the UCSB Family Vacation Center for 9 years now, and our kids see it as their 2nd home. From Small World (babies!) to the AMAZING High School group, your kids will fall in love with this vacation. Adults? We go wine tasting, hiking, bike riding, BBQs, Casino Night, Adult Night Out, etc.....This is the greatest vacation for any family who loves to meet new people, try new things, and enjoy the beauty of Santa Barbara!

Room Tip: Choose a room depending on your family size. You'll stay in a dorm, so it is not a 4 class hote...
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
1 Thank dena r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Diego, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 February 2014

We chose to do the half week because we didn't know how we all would like it, but boy do we we wish we had booked a whole week. We've already booked our trip for the summer of 2014. A whole week this time. Our girls are ecstatic. We're looking forward to the family beach day since we missed that having only gone to the first half of the week-long vacation last summer.

The vacation includes food, entertainment, awesome counselors, parties for adults/kids/both, beach days, free shuttles to Downtown Santa Barbara for an adult only night out, a professional photographer at almost every event, and much more.

My favorite part was not having to worry if either one of our kids was having fun. They were always having fun. My husband and I enjoyed the wine tour through the Santa Ynez Valley and are looking forward to the beer tour this coming summer (we missed the beer tour because we were only there the first half of the week).

My 5 year old daughter participated in the kids triathlon. She was one of the two youngest and it took her awhile, but guess how much confidence she built up that day! Proud mommy moment. Can't wait for her to do it again this summer.

My 3 year old got to make and eat her own pizza at a local pizza restaurant near campus.

Our kids fell in love with one specific counselor that they are still talking about 7 months later. A lot of the counselors come back year after year, so we're really hoping that this counselor is back again in 2014.

JUST DO IT!

Room Tip: We enjoyed the clusters (vs the tower). Seemed to have a little more privacy.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AustinSanDiego
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center

Property: Santa Barbara Family Vacation Center
Address: San Rafael Residence Hall, Ucsb, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-0001
Region: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 16 Speciality Lodging in Santa Barbara
Number of rooms: 68
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Summer Camp for the whole family! The Family Vacation Center offers week-long Family Camp experiences on the beachside campus of the University of California Santa Barbara. This all-inclusive experience includes daily child care (kids camp), family activities like Smores on the Beach, Pool Parties and Family Carnivals as well as nightly adult only activities that include a hosted bar.This hassle free family vacation is perfect for the family who loves spending time together, and also enjoys the option of kids camp and "parents night out" time! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Santa Barbara Family Vacation Hotel Santa Barbara

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