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“On Paradise Road, but not Paradise” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort

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Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort
Certificate of Excellence
St. Augustine, FLorida
Level Contributor
41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“On Paradise Road, but not Paradise”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2013

I often say that not everyone wants the same experience in an RV Park, so for some,
this may be paradise, but surely not for us. I agree with the previous reviewer...it is
outdated, and a bit too rustic for my tasted, but admittedly, my husband and I prefer
a less remote location. When I made our reservation, I asked if this RV Park was
in the wine country, and I was told we were in the center of it, which is totally not
accurate. Now that we have explored the area, we know there are actually no
RV parks near vineyards in the Santa Barbara area...so if you want to be at a
dude ranch with covered wagons, trails, and horses to ride, you may love this place.

That all said, we had an overall negative impression, it was dusty from the trucks
that roamed the area. But, most of all, we have yet to have the following happen to us
in the past 5 years of our constant RV traveling. The "CAMP HOST" showed up at our
site just as we were heading out to take a walk. It was like he was waiting for us to
appear. We have a Florida license on our vehicles so he knew we were travelers. His
approach was unbelievably inviting and pleasant. He introduced himself, and asked us
for our names, then told us if we needed anything, just call him. THEN, he asked us if
we would like to have a free stay there...said he knew we were there for 2 nights and that
we could save the $110.00...that is, if we would sign up with him for a Thousand Trails
membership (this RV Park is owned by a corporation called Thousand Trails, and they
have parks on both east coast and west coast). He wanted to go over the paperwork,
and assured us that we would save a lot of money joining. He asked, "Would you rather
use your credit card or your Thousand Trails membership card"? He did not stop until
I told him that we'd read over the paperwork, but for now what we wanted to do was take
our walk. He threw his arms up in the air and abruptly said, "OK OK"...Move on folks".
When we returned from our walk his golf cart was at the next site and he was in deep
conversation with those people. I was appalled that we had to put up with his sales pitch.
SO, if the Camp Host welcomes you warmly, know that he wants $600.00 for a membership.

Actually, I read over the papers he left with us, and maybe if a traveler wants to save 20% on
fees, and get an occasion perk, this is the travel club for you. We would never want to be
trapped into spending that kind of money to find ourselves restricted...if all the Thousand Trails
RV Parks are as run down as this one, that makes it even move unappealing.

I found this place offensive...

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank travelingforfun38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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290 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (28)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
30 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2013

Spent a week at Rancho Oso. Rented one of the new 6 person cabins. The cabin was fresh, clean and comfortable. The pool was just about perfect. And the location, scenery and wild world around us was just amazing. I'll say up front that all the little things that disappointed me did not come close to the sheer zen of just relaxing in such a beautiful place.

Other than the above, the reset of the place was feeling, worn, at best.

For starters, the front gate, guarded and locked is awfully uninviting. I'm sure there are reasons why they make lines of people wait, in their car or camper or bike while they slowly process people in, but I couldn't tell what they were. Being hot, and waiting forever was not a great way to start the week. As a side note, this I had hoped was a one time problem i.e. we caught them at the wrong time, but this was an ongoing issue all week long.

While not entirely out of sorts in such a wild place, the general store, 'adult lounge' (think wifi and couches, no kids) and other facilities were really showing their age. That coupled with a seemingly large set of inconvenient rules and short facilities hours made for a less than ideal stay. I'll give credit that I don't normally stay at RV parks and maybe the disappointments were my unfamiliarity with this particular part of the travel world.

The horse back riding was also a mixed bag. As a city boy out in some amazing country it was pretty wonderful. There were even several deer along the trail. That said, the scenery only goes so far to off set gruff, short, inhospitable customer service. It only takes a little bit of effort to make a memory great instead of so so.

All in all I had a really nice time but i wouldn't go back. I'm sure there are other places that, for the significant amount of money for the week can offer a much better overall experience.

Helpful?
5 Thank Matt K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 14, 2013 via mobile

When looking at this online it looked wonderful but this was very out dated campground, bathrooms were not clean, the trash can's were never emptyed and there was no place to dump your trash. When going for our ride we were yelled at by the employees not once but multiple times for wanting to ride around there trial riders who were still saddling up we were made to wait 25 min at the trail head for there group to go. Once on the trail again we were disappointed with the lack of maintaining the trail had there was big rocks that tripped the horses tree roots. this was a horrible place for us the pool was not clean and nothing is within walking distance there store is never open and there dinner was in healthy we refused to eat there. The staff was rude when we ordered drinks one man was yelled at for using his debt card bc it was an inconvenience to the staff member we payed for to cabins and the fine print says you have to clean it bring a broom or they charge 50extra dollars for it not being swept. Also no washing station for our dishes.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Heather S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Barbara, California, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 2, 2013

We did a group horseback ride, and the scenery was beautiful, facilities looked nice. However, the staff members were lacking in either knowledge or equipment, as well as hospitality. Half of the saddles were too small for an adult, and they were slipping around while riding - my dad's was on crooked. My Mom lost her hat, and the staff said we couldn't get off the horses to get it, and left it on the trail (even though we had experienced riders). My sister fell off the horse and fractured her shoulder as well as bumped her head, and they wouldn't let us get off the horse and help her. They seemed more concerned about the horse than her?

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Shelly H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rochester, New York
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 13, 2013

I'm an experienced rider. I was at this place as the only customer on a guided horseback ride. I wasn't permitted to check out the horse and his tack in advance. Halfway through, the saddle lurched off and the threw me to the ground. Even the guide said "That girth wasn't fastened tight enough. Someone's going to be hearing from me when we get back!" I suffered a torn rotator cuff and required surgery. I'm now in 6-9 months of daily physical therapy. Rancho Oso had its insurance company investigate. They found the ranch (you can guess now)...NOT NEGLIGENT.

Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank powerfulmike123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 14, 2013

We stayed at Rancho Oso from May 8-13, 2013. We wanted to break in our new Airstream trailer.....specifically in warmer weather. It was in the high 90s and low 100s the last two days. Mission accomplished.

We horse camped in their cabins and tents in the 80s and 90s. Normally a pleasant experience in 65-75 degree temps. Pretty miserable when it gets into the high 80s to 90s and 100s. Great trails and a beautiful setting. Best done in Spring and Fall.

We purchased a 1000 Trails/NACO membership along with and RV in 1998. Like most 1000 Trails/NACO preserves.....it is a little ragged around the edges. This is by no means an upscale RV park. The company survives nation wide by renting spaces to semi-permenant residents. They can be a real mixed bag.

On the positive side....nice staff, clean restrooms and pools. Love the oak trees. Great views of a magnificent mountain range.

Back to the negative side....some plumbing fixtures not working, roads and pads dusty, Saturday wine tasting events are sales pitches for Sky Med. Mediocre wine, ritz crackers and mystery cheese.

Suggestion.....if you are not bothered by driving up a steep and windy 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lane road from the main road...Paradise Road....and meeting other RVs, trailers, horse trailers, delivery trucks and garbage trucks you'll be just fine. I would suggest arriving in the afternoon...after the 12 noon check out time and leaving early in the morning....before checkin.

Helpful?
1 Thank jbzspace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newport Beach, California
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2013

I spent 5 days at Rancho Oso in an RV using full hookups. It is a pretty nice setting, sitting between two mountains/hills. I had an uninterrupted view of the mountain. The RVs are tiered so everyone gets a nice view. Showers were hot and clean if somewhat dated. The staff were civil, I wouldn't say they particularly enthused warm hospitality although the guy who opened the gate for me when I arrived was very friendly. The ranch has a nice swimming pool area with two pools, and a hot tub. The smaller pool seemed heated however the large one wasn't athough once you were in it was pleasant and being a keen lap swimmer I liked the length of the pool. It seemed fairly clean too. I had a look at the horses although did not ride. At the weekend there were more visitors including camp parties of children and it was nice to have some young energy. There are nearby trails although the campsite could have signposted these to make them easier to find. My one minor moan is the lack of internet reception. They had a wifi "hotspot" in the adult lodge however this never worked while I was there - I guess being in the mountains may have had something to do with this, I gave up and used my mobile broadband although the connection was also a little patchy with that. The adult lodge has a TV room, books, pool table and games cupboard although I didn't really hang out there much. I enjoyed my stay there mostly because I had a couple days of great weather. This place is no doubt great for kids who appeared to enjoy the camping and pool activities. I only had a camper van (no car to take side day trips) so felt a little isolated (plus I was traveling alone). Otherwise I enjoyed my couple of hikes and plentiful swimming and hot tubbing in nice surroundings.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank saxajojo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort

Property: Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort
Address: 3750 Paradise Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105-9777
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Amenities:
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Santa Barbara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort 2*
Number of rooms: 187
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The spirit of the Old West abounds in this family-oriented rustic ranch setting. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Rancho Oso Hotel Santa Barbara

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