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“Nice but too far away” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ocean Mesa Campground at El Capitan

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Ocean Mesa Campground at El Capitan
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El Capitan Terrace Lane, Santa Barbara, CA   |  
Hotel amenities
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Nice but too far away”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013 via mobile

We had a very nice site with good privacy and hookups. No view and could hear a little hiway noise. Wifi did not work well. Tv reception poor, only about 6 out of 20 stations were clear.

Facilities were clean and well kept, staff was friendly and helpful. Was a bit too far away from SB...you certainly wouldn't want to go back and forth during a day.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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87 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    39
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
211 reviews 211 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013 via mobile

We had 4 families and lots of kids (9). So I know what the other reviews complained about kids running around. That is what kids do at camp! The pool, shower, and restrooms were very clean. Our sites had the ocean view when you sat outside. Well worth the money for a clean place. Watch out for ants in your tents and squirrels getting into your food. Other than that it qas perfect. You can hike to the other camp area for more trails and there is a trail next to our camp site. Love it!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

Even with two young kids, we enjoyed our stay at Ocean Mesa. The tent sites were nice and most seemed to offer shade and privacy. If you stay in the back row of campsites though, it will be a trek to walk around everyone to get somewhere and most people walked through. It's fine though. If you have little ones who need to use the bathroom "right now!" consider a porta-potty.... just know the bathrooms are a bit of a walk. Speaking of, the bathrooms were the cleanest I've ever seen at a camp ground and that was important to me. The pool was a nice touch and was heated. At the height of summer, not too crowded but definitely lots of kids. the store was well stocked and the coffee was actually very good for last morning (the other mornings i made my own).

You will need to be careful of critters.... keep your food off the ground - especially at night or expect to be visited by skunks! Couldn't believe my eyes... but just leave them alone and they will not bother you. We never once smelled any skunk spray. Another tip is to bring ant spray... they are tiny little things and don't bite, but they were crawling on our tent the first morning we woke up. some ant spray solved that problem.

The big grassy field was great to play games with the kids and the playground was perfect - the kids had a great time at the Thursday night family movie night hosted by the campground - Lion King!

A costco and grocery store are about 5-10 minutes away so you don't need to haul all your food. Great place for tent camping - the RVs looked like they were packed in, so i'm glad we were in a tent. Noise from trains and the 101 wasn't as bad as i thought it would be from other reviews.

We are already planning our trip for next year!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Calrita
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2013

I'm not sure how this place could garner possibly garner five stars, at least not for the RV Super Premium Site (which is where I was). Don't confuse this place with the next door El Capitan with their cabins. This is a separate place although connected by a trail.

Cons: 1.) I paid $100 a night for an extra car, tow vehicle, and rv. Even though there's room at the site they won't allow you to park your extra car in the site you rented. You have to park by the entrance. No exceptions. 2.) No view from the lower sites. Yes you might be able to see a bit of ocean if you tried read hard and stood on your tippy toes. But I've been to rv sites where I actually get the sea spray on my trailer... so... this place is hardly comparable. 5 star location. Uh... no. 3.) NOISY!!!!!!! Ah, feel the wonders of the outdoors, gaze upon the swaying trees and... listen to a semi barreling down the 101 as you roast marshmallows over the fire. Yup. If that doesn't deserve a five star then nothing does. 4.) Santa Barbara is not exactly "close." You're looking at about a 25 minute drive 5.) Nearby beaches are covered in tar (most beaches in SB are). Bring baby oil because your feet and your children's feet WILL be covered in tar. That's all you say? Oh but it gets better....

6.) "Walking distance beach" (maybe 15-20 minutes) is not an easy hike if you have small children. Not to mention, there are no side walks to get to it, so, you'll be walking on a road, going down hill on the way there and up hill on the way back. If you're out of shape you'll be hating life. You've been warned. 7.) Sites are average. Some offer better privacy than others but basically, very little of a secluded "outdoor" feel. 8.) Apparently they really think rather highly of their massages because they are $120 (for approx. 1 hr). 9.) Aaaaand last but not least. Wifi. I hate to be one of those people to care about such things but I know people do. Don't get your hopes up that you'll be streaming movies here or you'll just cry with frustration. It doesn't work well throughout the park. If you are charging premium prices, customers expect PREMIUM service. Not 1 or 2 bars out of 5 in the wifi department.

Pros: 1.) Clean and well maintained 2.) Hook ups work well. 3.) Staff was nice 4.) A short downhill, tree covered walk away is El Capitan which offers a better store, eats, and trails.

3 stars at best because it IS average. The web site makes it look better than it is (and so do the 5 star reviews.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013 via mobile

First stay here, had the first 2 tent sites. Furthest from bathrooms but not too far if a walk. Nice bathrooms with some private ones and big (free) showers. Nice pool and store centrally located. We had a good time and kids had a blast in the open spaces, pool, playground, riding scooters.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2013

We camped here specifically because I was told on 3 occasions that we could take our dogs to the El Capitan Beach within walking distance. It is not within normal walking distance if you want to spend the day at the beach with chairs and a cooler. Dogs are not allowed on the beach what so ever. When I inquired after trying to take our dogs to the beach they said we could try to sneak them in on the left side of the park!!! $90 a night is outrageous for this campground. No view of the ocean and constant noise from the highway and train tracks. Close quarters and no privacy from noisy neighbors. I asked to leave a day early and get our money back and they said no refunds. I do not recommend.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rio Vista, California
Top Contributor
245 reviews 245 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 96 cities Reviews in 96 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2013 via mobile

We have camped our whole lives in tents and backpacked too. We recently bought an RV and have been traveling around California and Oregon, both in private parks and in national and State Parks. This is the worst we have been in and they charged $90 a night with a mandatory three day reservation. The noise from 101 goes on all day and night. The RVs are packed in so close that we hear the dog moaning. We are hemmed in by the million dollar monster RVs with the cars and gear all behind them. No room to breathe here and nothing of a camping atmosphere. We hear people talking and dogs complaining. We feel hemmed in! The state beach is a 20 minute walk down and then back up. If you drive there is a $10 entrance fee. Coffee isn't free like other places but is $2.25. A refill is a dollar. I feel stuffed into a moneymaking inner city. We will not be back and would have left if we didn't need to be in Santa Barbara. Oh, I want to quote from the back of the comment card. "An ocean view from every RV and tent site". Well, that is a downright lie. Your view is another RV practically next to your windows, or my view right now of 12 RVs from our windows, not including the front window that is covered. Did I mention $90 for all this this PREMIER wonderfulness? Go to Oregon for $24 complete hook ups on the beach in the big and clean state parks.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ocean Mesa Campground at El Capitan

Address: El Capitan Terrace Lane, Santa Barbara, CA
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 100
Also Known As:
Ocean Mesa Campground At El Capitan Hotel Santa Barbara

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