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“Not Really a Dude Ranch” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Circle Bar B Guest Ranch

Circle Bar B Guest Ranch
1800 Rufugio Road, Goleta, CA 93117
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Activities: Horseback riding
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Attraction details
Owner description: Go horseback riding on some of the finest trails and horses in the Central Coast! We offer horseback year round, with rides ranging from 1 1/2 to 4 hours!
Corona, California
Top Contributor
130 reviews 130 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 64 cities Reviews in 64 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Not Really a Dude Ranch”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

This is not really a true dude ranch. It's a run of the mill 3 star motel that has horseback riding. Paid way too much to stay here. I feel ripped off. Horseback ride was very structured. No side by side riding and aside from the the ocean view, our 4 hour ride was a slow and boring one. My kids are experienced riders and they were not allowed to run the horses at all. One of the trail guides was very rude to the point I was about to ask him what his problem was. The property is under staffed. On a number of occassions I wanted to grab a drink at the bar and no one was there to serve me a drink. Should have brought my own booze. In addition, the facility hosted a wedding when we were there. The place is not that big so the wedding party took over the place. They are already unstaffed and the wedding just strained the level of service even more. My daughter was at the pool in her bathing suit and she had to leave since the wedding was above the pool and the men in the wedding were looking at her making comments. The highlight was the food....good food. The food kicked this to an poor rating. Owners were friendly but that only goes so far when you spend that kind of money. Stables are open to the public so if you want to ride a horse, my recommendation is to just go there for the ride but do not stay there. Solvang, the wine country, and Santa Barbara are not far away. We will not be back.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CircleBarB, Owner at Circle Bar B Guest Ranch, responded to this review, June 28, 2013
Dear Guest,

I am truly sorry that we did not meet your expectations. It is very rare that we fall short of someone's expectations. The ranch has been in my family since 1939 and we have several families return to the ranch each year. Some of the families book multiple stays in the same year.

Our staff is always somewhere in the main building where the bar is located. Sometimes we may not be behind the bar when someone needs a drink, however, we are usually close by. I am sorry that there was not a staff member behind the bar when you needed service.

As far as your daughters at the pool, I am unable to control the comments made by other guests unless the situation is brought to my attention. I was unaware that this was going on.

The reason that we do not do any running on the horseback rides is due to the safety factor and the conditions of our insurance. Safety comes first for us and unfortunately we have to keep the rides at a walk not matter what the experience of our riders is. This does not excuse the fact that your trail guide was rude to and your family. We do not condone this type of behavior.

Our rates are as low as they can go to accommodate the meals that are included in the stay and to cover the costs of running our business. We discounted our rates back in 2008 when the economy went sour and have not increased them since, even though our costs of business have gone up. I realize that our costs of business is not your problem, but we have to charge the rates that we do.

I was sorry to see that you mentioned that you will not be back to the ranch based on the experience you had. I would like to extend an invitation for your to come back to the ranch and give us a second chance. I would like to issue you a gift certificate for a one-night stay for your family of 4. If you are interested, please e-mail me at my e-mail address which is circlebarb.kathybrown@gmail.com.

Warm regards,

Kathy Brown
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Los Angeles
16 reviews 16 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“What a great weekend”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2013

My wife surpised me for my birthday this past weekend. We drove up from Los Angeles on
Saturday. It wasn't full, and when they learned it was my birthday they upgraded us to their
best cabin. By the way, it's not what you think of when you think of a cabin. It was rustic but
delux. The fire place was great. My wife was truly impressed with how the bathrooms (yes,
we even had two of them) were designed.

After we got settled, we took a beautiful hike. The Circle Bar B ranch views are incredible. We then went ot the huge bar/living room area for wine and snacks. It was beyond comfortable.
The food is included. The western style dinner (tri tip, chicken, and all the trimmings) was so
good I unfortunately ate way more than I ususally do. But it was worth it. That was part of a
special Dinner Theatre package. It's an 87 seat theatre. The performance was excellent.

Sunday morning, after a delicious breakfast, we took the half day horseback ride; OUTSTANDING. The horses were fun to ride, the guide was personable, the group was small
(four of us), and again, the views were incredible. You could not only enjoy the mountains and
canyons, but also the Pacific Ocean.

Finally, the people who run and work at the lodge, theatre, and stables are the friendliest,
most personable folks you will ever meet. They really made our stay comfortable and relaxed.

We definately recommend a visit to the Circle Bar B Ranch.

Visited April 2013
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Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
18 reviews 18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Find it Ride it! Horseback Riding”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

Be on the lookout for a spectacular experience at Circle B. The hands couldn't be more informative or helpful. The 1.5 hr trail ride is moderately challenging but the horses know the gig. So does the trail guide. Ours was Tyler and he was a lot of fun. Great people skills and a whole lotta horse sense! He knows the vegetation, geography, and wildlife. We saw butterflies, hummingbird, deer, scrub jays, and lots of lilac in bloom.

This is a ranch where the owner lives onsite and personally cares for his property. He was out tending the avocado trees somewheres up a hill when we passed by.

Bought the tee shirt, literally, and most everyone in the surrounding towns commented on what a great asset Circle B is to the Santa Barbara experience. Laid back with the professional scrutiny and pride of owner operators.


Visited March 2013
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Monterey, California
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Family bonding trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2013

I find it difficult to entertain my teenagers while enjoying myself, sad to say. I love museums and gardens whereas my teens crave excitement and physical challenges. The Circle Bar B fit the needs of my family perfectly. We all enjoyed the beauty of this ranch, nestled in a wooded valley North of Santa Barbara. The food was fabulous; they accommodated the needs of one of my daughters who is a vegetarian without any fuss. There was plenty to do though we played our own board games in front of our fireplace. Activities include horseshoes, ping pong, billiards, swimming and hot tubbing. We took a half day trail ride from the adjacent stables and our guide Doug entertained us with plenty of cowboy lore. You should email me if you want to hear more; this was a great stay for us and we'll do it again.

Visited March 2013
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Cape Canaveral, Florida, United States
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Fun afternoon horseback riding in the hills”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 27, 2013 via mobile

I found out about this place from a friend while I was on travel. It was a fun afternoon activity and the scenery at the top of the hill was amazing. We did the hour and half ride, the staff was super friendly and helpful. I've only been horseback riding on flat land so it was a great experience going through the hills and streams, we also got to see a small waterfall. The view from the top was beautiful, I would go back here in the future.

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