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Glamping provides the excitement and adventure of camping with the rough edges and personal inconveniences smoothed considerably. Perhaps no place takes the concept as seriously as El Capitan Canyon. This rugged yet plush camping destination, just 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, sits in a seaside pocket of 300 acres of oak and sycamore trees on the picturesque Pacific coast. The natural lodging experience was created for those who desire to totally unwind, relax and commune with nature—while at the same time enjoying some of the creature comforts of a traditional resort. Yes there is hiking, biking and nature walks on the beach, plus campfires with smores, but there is also a spa, comfortably appointed cabins and tents, coupled with a laid back attitude perfect for connecting with Mother Nature.
Nestled under a shade tree is a rustic building with a corrugated tin roof and huge barn door, but the El Capitan Canyon Market isn’t your typical campground store. Inside you’ll find organic groceries, Santa Barbara County wines, beer, aromatherapy oils, sunscreen, magazines, casual clothing and jewelry created by local artisans.
The kitchen serves great coffee choices as well as hearty breakfast; lunch and dinner items are also available. Perhaps a latte and muffin before your morning hike, or a picnic lunch for the beach? The Canyon Market is itself a great gathering spot to enjoy the canyon surroundings.
To add horseback riding to your adventure, it’s just a short drive up the road from El Cap to the Circle Bar B stables. This 70-year-old dude ranch takes riders into the coastal mountains overlooking the ocean for unforgettable and easy going excursions.
Unpretentious yet rustically elegant, El Capitan Canyon offers minimalism without deprivation and comfort without over-indulgence.
Photography by Ken Amorosano