Great Family Adventures: Bike Santa Barbara With Butterfield & Robinson

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Courtesy of Butterfield & Robinson

HIGHLIGHTS: Bike a segment of the California Riviera so perfect for cycling that it’s often a featured leg during the Amgen Tour of California. B&R’s itineraries are bespoke so you can influence the amount of days you’re gone and where you go. Don’t bypass beautiful Mission Santa Barbara, built in 1786, or the Danish town of Solvang, a child’s delight with its windmills, costumed shopkeepers, and sweets-filled bakeries (try the aebleskiver). Ride through the bucolic Santa Ynez Mountains, through prolific vineyards, and past some of California’s best beaches. Food’s a major highlight: You’ll lunch in local taverns and savor evening meals paired with regional wines at notable restaurants, including one that was in the locally revered film Sideways. Lodgings are at the Four Seasons Biltmore and the Alisal Resort, which has a working cattle ranch, riding trails, and no TVs or phones to detract from time together. This is a moderately active trip, with 25 to 35 miles of daily cycling, though families can adjust the itinerary to their liking if that’s too much—or too little.

OUTFITTER: Butterfield & Robinson is an upscale, Canada-based tour operator that’s been tailoring itineraries to groups’ needs since 1966. The company’s "With the Kids" tours are graded by age-appropriateness and activity level.

ITINERARY: Santa Ynez Valley to Solvang, Los Olivos, and Santa Barbara.

DATES: Custom dates available between April and November.

PRICE: Starting at around $1,500 per person per day, including lodging, ground transportation, guidance, bike and equipment rental, some gratuities, and most meals (with wine).

INFO:, (866) 551-9090.

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