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“Relax and Go Glamping at El Capitan Canyon! You'll love it!”
Review of El Capitan Canyon

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El Capitan Canyon
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Relax and Go Glamping at El Capitan Canyon! You'll love it!”
Reviewed August 8, 2011

Camping can be so much work. Not at El Capitan Cyn. Glamorous camping is defined at El Capitan Canyon. We stayed in safari tent #183. It was just installed a few months prior and looked practically brand new. This raised 12'x14' tent was the last tent in our section and not having a neighbor on the end made it feel very open. I would request for #183 again in the future. It was nicely appointed with two queen beds, a storage trunk for personal items, side table w/lamp, another desk/table, alarm clock radio, two handmade, rustic armchairs, ceiling light fixture, circulating fan, and space heater. They even provided towels and toiletries. There is room to store ice chests or other camping supplies, but at El Cap, you can basically show up with nothing more than a toothbrush and a fresh set of clothes, and everything else can be purchased there! Things are reasonably priced, too. There are bathhouses located throughout and they are the cleanest I've seen in any campground. I even used their showers, which I was unsure about before I got there. Very clean all around. After unloading, we went to the market to purchase 6 loads of wood and 2 bags of ice for our 4-day/3-night stay. To our surprise, El Cap will deliver your purchases directly to your tent/cabin if desired! What service! The next morning, we went our for a light hike and when we returned, our beds were made! Even though this is standard procedure, not knowing it made this unexpected service a delightful surprise. Yes, you can order food in advance from the market/cafe, and that too, can be delivered right to your door. We used the space heater twice, as it was quite chilly even on summer nights. Everyone slept very well. The tent had 4 large zip around windows for air flow. Zip them up at dusk or it will get very cold in your tent quickly on a cold night. The entrance had an inner screen and an outer canvas door that zips securely all the way down and across the bottom to prevent critters from entering. Use these zippers as skunks, squirrels or other critters will definitely enter and invade your space if you don't. We saw a fox the first night, 2 sets of quail families scurrying about, a roadrunner, a deer family, and we heard frogs croaking from the creek. A skunk walked right under our tent one night, while another skunk snuck right by me in the dark and scared the bejeezus out of me. We also heard a great horned owl hooting very late at night that echoed throughout the canyon. We were lead on short hike to the llama farm by the owner of El Capitan Cyn. He provided a brief overview of the canyon's history and informed us that the appearance of poison oak was redish-brown this time of year, not green as one might expect. We were allowed to enter the gated area to feed the goats, sheep and llamas. The wildlife provided tons of great memories. They made for entertaining stories to tell our friends, family and anyone who would listen to us when we returned home. The car free canyon made it very safe for everyone to ride bikes around. You can borrow their bikes for 2 hrs., free of charge. We also drove under the freeway to El Capitan St. beach. There is a $10 fee to enter and there is a small snack shack. Warning - this beach does have tar naturally seeping through the sand so expect some to stick to your feet/clothes. Take a short walk south on the beach and the same creek from El Capitan Cyn. empties into the ocean here. This is where my son and a group of friendly families were delightfully entertained with searching for and playing with tadpoles and frogs. In addition, there are tidepools with barnacles, mussels, urchins, and sea anenomes in the same area. Stick your finger in one of those, at your own risk, and they quickly close up! You'd miss these discoveries of you don't wander away from your towel much. Our trip was constantly filled with life's simple pleasures such as these. Can't say enough about this glamping experience. I won't go camping any other way and annual summer trips to El Capitan is definitely in our future. SIDENOTE: Since they don't allow dogs, my friend had her dog stay at Sam's Doggie Dude Ranch 2 miles away. It's like a B&B for dogs (a bed and biscuit). It's no small kennel facility, as the owner/operator Susie takes all the doggies for a daily ranch exercise on several hundred acres of open space w/your approval. With an ocean view, it's like glamping for your dogs! They'll enjoy it as much as you will.

Room Tip: If you are interested in a quieter part of the canyon, cabins 247-252 & tents 176-183 are past t...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank ddbirdLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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285 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (59)
Date | Rating
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English first
San Jose, California
Level Contributor
133 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2011

We went there for a larger family reunion and if it is up to me we will not go back, it was so surreal. It is pretend camping for the rich, who want to spend some time in "nature", roll up with their hybrid luxury SUV, want to sleep in white sheets for $350 a night and call room service to complain about noisy creatures you only know from the nature channel. By the push of a button, and $60 on your bill, you can get even an camp fire experience, with hamburger meat and s'mores brought right to your place.
I think the problem I have is that you don't really get a luxury experience equivalent to the price you pay, and also don't get a real camping experience because the place is much too staged. However, if you have the money, and don't care about the Disney like feel, this may be the place for you. Pretty much everybody in our group said the same thing, though, they will not be back.

Room Tip: Get the smaller cabins near the pool
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank TravellerFromSanJose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monrovia, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2011

The photos are beautiful, but they don't show you that your mildew-smelling tent isn't nestled into a beautiful wilderness retreat, but is actually on a gigantic lawn, 20 feet from 20 other tents, and this place is overrun with kids who love to scream at all hours of the day. For over $100, this place is WAAAAAY overpriced. If you just want to stay in a campground and don't expect this to be a peaceful, quite, romantic-ish retreat, its not too bad for that, but if you are expecting anything more, keep searching.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank breymanbrown
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Florida
Level Contributor
134 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2011

We traveled to El Capitan for a family get-together. We have three small children, and aside from the jetlag and sleeping habits of a 16 month old, we really enjoyed our stay.
The service was very good. We had an issue with plumbing and maintenance arrived very quickly. Our room was comfortable, and we slept very well.
The small kitchen area was very adequate. We purchased food from the store and brought it with us for sandwiches and grilling burgers, and had adequate space in the small fridge. We also purchased food from the market at the base of the canyon.
There was a llama hike to feed the animals that live on the related organic farm. We didn't explore hardly any of the trails, mostly due to the ages of our kids, but the ones we did use were well trod.
There is a lot of poison oak in the canyon, and they went to great pains to make sure that we were aware of it.
I was tempted to lower my rating from 5 to 4 based on the price of the cabin. It is expensive, more than we usually target for a family trip, especially for a one bedroom cabin, but the daily housekeeping service was nice and the location was great. I got what I expected, so I can't fault the property for paying exactly what I expected to pay.
The view of the stars at night was outstanding, and we visiting the beach for fun and exercise several times. It was not walking distance for our family, but with older kids or a couple it might be a nice walk.
There was some tar on the beach, which was unfortunate.
We will be back when our kids are older, and sleep better.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jlfla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 16, 2011

Stayed here for two nights with my girlfriend. The cabins are nice, but quite expensive for what they are (quite basic). The campsite is pleasant, but nothing special. The local beach is ok, but nothing special.

The camp provides pre-prepared bbq kits to use in the firepits which is a fun and easy way to eat.

We were here in early May and it was quite quiet and empty.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Finch23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 8, 2011

Our family had an incredible vacation and event experience at El Capitan Canyon. The staff and services are FIRST CLASS!!! This is the perfect venue for a wedding and the staff is capable of executing a wide variety of needs. You are working with an A-Team of professionals and every detail is tended to.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank hinaders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CA
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2011

We aren't big campers, but we wanted to give our young kids a camping experience without all the hard work. El Capitan Canyon is the perfect spot! No tent to set up, no nature potty, no gear to haul. Hot shower, small refrigerator, microwave, down comfortor, smores, and hot dogs cooked over the fire. All the good stuff and none of the hassle factor!

We've stayed here twice and this second time around we did have a very noisy animal either on the roof or under the cabin-- couldn't quite figure it out and didn't feel like getting up to check. It was loud enough for long enough to wake up our kids-- who usually sleep through anything. Just made me all the more happy that we were in a locked cabin and not out there with him!!

Bring your kid's bikes!! Great entertainment for them. Adults can borrow, so no use hauling yours. Great simple pool for cooling off. Cute little playground with tire swings that my twin 6 year olds REALLY liked.

Just wish the place weren't so pricy!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank nononsensemom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Capitan Canyon

Property: El Capitan Canyon
Address: 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93117-9789
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 126
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Also Known As:
El Capitan Canyon Hotel Santa Barbara
El Capitan Canyon Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara El Capitan Canyon Hotel

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