We first started going to The Alisal about 15 years ago. Thank God this place does not change with time. This is a working cattle ranch about 30 miles north of Santa Barbara, next to President Ronald Reagan's old ranch.
The bungalows are comfortable but basic - no air conditioning, TV, phone or wifi. Some will be disappointed but most will be delighted: a real chance to get away from it all! The are plenty of things to do such as horseback riding, archery, air rifles and fishing for starters. The bungalow interiors and pool are a throwback to the 70s but don't let that fool you. Breakfast and dinner are included and the food is delicious and the service superb. The portions are generous and I've never felt hungry at lunchtime.
We've been at The Alisal during various times of the year. I would recommend avoiding summer, as things can get hectic from all the families with kids. If you can, go right before school gets out or shortly after it resumes. At those times, the ranch is more peaceful and relaxing and the staff is able to be more flexible and attentive to the guests.