by MICHELLE TREMBLAY | photos by Soul of Photography

Settled in Solana Beach

family_vabbetten_1While they might just be the picture-perfect coastal family, Tom and Rachel van Betten aren’t originally from San Diego. Tom is from Nevada and Rachel hails from North Carolina. Yet after living in Solana Beach for the past 15 years, the couple and their two young children – Ryder, 8, and Annika, 4 – couldn’t image living anywhere else. “It’s got a peaceful vibe near the beach, and the residents have a sense of community that we cherish,” shared Rachel. “We’ve made lifelong friends here!”

When it comes down to it, van Bettens are locals through and through. “On the weekends our family can be found spending time at the beach, where Tom and Ryder enjoy surfing together,” said Rachel. “We love our days on the beach and our active lifestyle.”

And leading an active lifestyle comes naturally to the family of four. Rachel continued, “We can be found indoor rock climbing or watching Tom play soccer on Sundays with the Nomads men’s soccer club. We also love to go on ski trips to Mammoth during the winter months.”

The van Betten kids both attend Solana Beach schools and are busy with a variety of activities all their own. “Annika attends a ballet class and also enjoys her gymnastics classes,” noted Rachel. “She also plays soccer at the Ecke Family YMCA.” Second grader Ryder also enjoys sports such as soccer, just recently finishing up his season. “Ryder participates in a local yoga surf camp on Friday afternoons at Fletcher Cove,” added Rachel. “He is also in the Lego engineering enrichment program and in an after school program as the singer in RockBand!” Ryder’s musical talents seem to be passed down from his father. “Tom is the drummer in the rock band PSEUDO,” said Rachel. “You can find them playing occasionally in the happy hour time slot at the Belly Up, raising money for the Solana Beach Schools Foundation.”

family_vabbetten_2It’s no secret that the van Bettens know how to have fun, but they get serious when it comes to giving back. Tom is currently a board member for Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County, recently chairing their 54th annual Gourmet Dinner for the second year in a row. This year’s event raised over $800,000 for the organization’s programs. Rachel herself is active as a board member for the Solana Beach Schools Foundation, which plays an integral role in bridging the funding gap and giving children a quality and competitive education, focusing not just on STREAM but also on the arts and on physical education. She explained, “Being a mother of a child with high interest in math, science, and engineering, I wanted to do what I could to keep the program as well funded as possible.”

Tom and Rachel continue to do their part to help make the world a better place not only for their children but all for those in need. In the meantime, they’re enjoying their Solana Beach life and just need to convince the rest of their extended family to move to San Diego and join in on the fun.


Parents: Rachel and Tom van Betten
Children: Ryder (8), Annika (4)
Community: Solana Beach
Parents’ Hometowns: Rachel – Cary, NC; Tom – Las Vegas, NV
Parents’ Occupations: Rachel – stay-at-home mom; Tom – commercial real estate broker
Favorite Spots in Del Sol: Belly Up, Del Mar Racetrack, Pillbox Tavern, Saddle Bar