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Where is the Best Area in Rancho Santa Fe to Raise a Family?

Real families share their experiences growing up and raising kids in Rancho Santa Fe.

Are you moving to Rancho Santa Fe California and not sure which community makes is the best choice for your family?

Since The Pandemic began, many Rancho Santa Fe real estate buyers have come from places like The Bay Area, LA, or the East Coast. A large percentage have very young children and trending preference to The Covenant over other areas of The Ranch.

Escaping higher-density cities, the allure of Covenant living makes sense from a newer parents perspective wanting the safest environment to raise their kids.

The Question:

As kids get older, do you think these young families might regret The Covenant lifestyle rather than choosing an option like Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Pacifica, The Crosby, or Rancho Cielo, where the kids can roam without having to be driven to a friends?

With electronics making it increasingly difficult to get kids out of the house these days, does raising them in the Covenant make it even more difficult?


We posted this discussion to real residents living in Rancho Santa Fe to hear their first-hand perspectives.

R – The Covenant kids are a close community. From having an amazing school (Roger Rowe), to the Rec center, little league, soccer, the golf club, and community activities at the Inn, cotillion, and other activities, it’s a great community to raise kids.

S – The Covenant is as beautiful and as safe as it ever was. It is not isolating for children and in fact offers a lot of fun for kids . Many who come from the Bay Area gravitate to rural communities.

A – I have lived and sold real estate in Bay Area and Rancho Santa Fe for years. I show my clients all the communities in the Ranch, each one has something special to offer, and they have no trouble determining what fits their lifestyle. Love Rsf

H – We have 4 children and specifically chose not to live in the Covenant because we worried about long commutes to high school, windy roads, unsafe teen driving etc. However, it also meant a house that is not part of a community and I do regret that they don’t have friends nearby. I loved Fairbanks Ranch and wish we could have found a home there. My husband loves not being part of an HOA

K – We bought our home 20 years ago when were only going to live here for 2 years because it wasn’t my dream home. My dream home was much larger then 2000 sq ft and had lots of privacy. Our neighborhood is gated and has a greenbelt. Kids road bikes and literally hopped from house to house playing. All of our neighbors are awesome so my kids would not let us move. We went onto have number 3 and I’m so glad we stayed because he had that same outdoor freedom as our daughters. So fast forward we are almost empty nesters and our home is the perfect size again. I’m so glad we stayed where our kids could be outside all day until dark playing.

C – I grew up in La Jolla and I had friends in RSF. When they came to La Jolla, they thought they were in the Ghetto. Lol. I would roam all over San Diego as it is a bigger city. The bus in south county takes you all over and doesn’t stop at 7 p.m. as it did in Encinitas 15 years ago.. (may be different now) We had fun and knew people all over. This was not very safe I guess back in 1997 as a freshman, but I am definitely street smart, aware of my surroundings and crave diversity in culture and people.

B – Our family with young kids is moving from the Bay Area to RSF in the next 1-2 years (just starting the building process). We looked at other communities but loved the look and the feel of the covenant area the most. I personally didn’t want to be in a gated community.

T – As a child growing up there from five on, there were aspects of RSF that I I absolutely loved. Wide open spaces, climbing trees, motocross in my friends backyard, riding my friends horses. Playing in the lemon and orange groves. Using our imaginations. It sounds sad but we found a bunny that was dead. My little friend and I spent the entire day having a eulogy and a burial for this little bunny. Making a feast out of mud pies! I enjoyed being able to ride my bike to the tennis courts as well as school. The downside? If your bestie didn’t live near you, you’d have to wait until somebody was willing to drive you there. Otherwise there were lots of friends that lived on or near my street to play with. Hope that helps! Trying to give a child’s perspective.

M – Raised my 3 kids there, very hard for the kids to wonder around cause of the windy roads .. trick or treat was almost impossible. Covenant is not a tight community, kids make friends at school as well as parents . Outside that, there’s not much! My kids attended to the private schools in Rancho and that made it easier and tighter.

M – The beaches here are warm. Aptos, Carmel, Soquel, pacific grove are cold! Also it’s impossible to park at those beaches. You drive an hour on a narrow windy road through mountains (2hr to Carmel) to get the beach and there’s almost always an accident – it just stinks.

I like that in RSF it’s 10 min to a beach and parking is easy…and the beach is warm! I am very grateful I used the realtor online tools to find RSF and one without an HOA. And there are no hot air balloons flying overhead in Silicon Valley. We are loving it here. So many things to do.

R – We are moving to the Covenant in June. We are originally from Europe and RSF and its winding roads are so reminiscent of where we grew up.

We are currently in Atlanta and are just so used to driving the kids everywhere that we never considered that there was another option. We figure the kids will find their friends (and our’s ) at school. Now I’m wondering if we should have looked at Fairbanks Ranch.

M– I am older and the internet didn’t come into use in homes until I was in middle school.. so my experience isn’t going to be the same as tech kids these days.. but here is what I will say.

My family has been in RSF for over 50yrs and still is. When I grew up the distance between friends wasn’t that big of a deal. My mom was a homemaker and would drive me to my friends houses and typically we would play all day or have sleep overs. Many kids in RSF have the luxury to have nannies and such to drive them to see their friends, so I don’t think it is a huge issue.. when I wasn’t with friends I was enjoying playing soccer and riding horses. It really wasn’t that bad being spread out.

Is it inconvenient to have to rely on someone to have to take you to see your friends.. sure.. but school is from 8-3, and then most of us had sports after then go home for homework.. so there isn’t that much time during the week to hang out with friends anyways, and if there was, we always coordinated it so one of us would go home with our friend after school and then the parents would pick us up later.. with some planning it is not that bad. We also carpooled a lot.

When I got into middle school and I started having some friends in Encinitas, that is when I used to get envious of how they all lived close to each other and could just walk to each others houses whenever.. everyone just sort of came and went to their friends houses and I thought that was really cool.

I see a lot of people saying they should have looked at Fairbanks because the houses are closer.. that is where my mom is now and sure the houses are closer so it feels more like a neighborhood but most the people living there are older.. so the kids are in the same boat there. The area my mom is in, there is only one neighbor with kids, the rest are all empty nesters from RSF that “downsized” to Fairbanks. So when my kids go over to see her those kids are the only ones anywhere around for them to play with.

S – I grew up in the Covenant, and I’m grateful every day that I was lucky enough to do so. The school is also top notch. As someone who was lucky enough to know Dr. Rowe, the legacy he has left is an incredible one.


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