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“great place for kids”

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Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 15, 2004

We stayed 2 nights Aug 10th in a cabin. It was clean and basic - double bed, bunk bed, frig, table and 3 chairs, fan, electricity, 2 chairs on porch, charcoal grill and a picnic table. Bathrooms were 50 ft away - just like camping but with free showers. There's no daily maid service. This is a very glorified version of "camping". It's a membership club with the cabins and covered wagons open to the public. Most people stay in campers and a few in tents. There were also covered wagons with 4 cots - but they don't have electicity and I think it would be hot at night. (The ceiling fan was enough for us). My kids ages 4 and 7 loved it!! The place is way off the main road and in a gated community. I could let my son "explore" and did not worry at all. I would not let him do this at home without being under my watchful eye. There are 5 cabins and families tend to stay there. The weekends have lots of organized activities for the kids. There are also 2 pools, basketball, tennis, playground, pool, ping pong, etc on the grounds. I would highly recommend this place for anyone with kids. But even if you don't have kids, the place is big enough that it doesn't feel overrun by kids. There also have an adults only recreation building. Oh yeah, you can have trail rides too but my kids don't like horses. We didn't have time with all the other activities available.

10  Thank traveling_mom-Boston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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441 - 447 of 447 reviews

A TripAdvisor Member
Thousand Oaks,CA
Reviewed July 15, 2004

Just have to put my two cents in about my recent trip to Rancho-Oso.

There are three types of accomodations at the ranch.

If you want to rough it you can stay in the covered wagons, which is something like a tent, with cots inside. If you have a large group going, it would be neat to rent several of the wagons, because they are arranged in a circle(maybe 5 wagons to a circle?) and in the middle of them is a large fire pit where everyone can mingle as the sun goes down.

Second type of accomodation is "bring your own". Most of the campers at the ranch were RV'ers. There was ample parking and hookups for your own motorhome. It is one of the few places that you can bring your own horse as well and many of these travelers did. There are corrals and arenas to board your animal during your stay.

We stayed in the cabins. There aren't very many so get your reservations in early, but they adequately kept 4 adults comfy in a queen bed/ and a bunk bed.

First thing we did when we arrived was reposition the picnic table to the back of the cabin to get it out of the afternoon sun. Other than a small grill to contend with and meat eating(chicken-burger) yellowjackets, we found the "almost camping" weekend a delight.

If you aren't one to do your own cooking make sure to stay at the camp on Fri-Sat-Sun. That is when their food facilities are open. I think you make reservations and pay in the morning. We arrived late Sunday so didn't get a chance to experience any of their cooking.

I did get a chance to ride on a long excursion with the same guide as the previous reviewer. I actually liked the solitude and was not expecting a narrated guided tour (during my 3 hour ride). His job I felt was to show us the way, keep the other horses from galloping off, and remind us not to get too close to the horse in front. Anything else he added in the form of tales/asides/answered questions were bonuses in my opinion. It was an incredible ride from the bottom of the valley to the top of a high mountain/ridge. I felt the ride for days after(in my back and legs) so be prepared.

My only negative comment about the whole stay was the fact that the pools were "OVERLY CLORINATED". Bring googles, and visine because it will burn a hole in your pupils.

And no matter how hard I tried, my cell phone would not work. WOW---peace at last........

12  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Fairfield, CA
Reviewed June 29, 2004

My wife and I visited Rancho Oso for a 3-hr guided trail ride in late June 2004. The trail itself afforded beautiful views of the Santa Ynez Valley, but the ride, overall, was disappointing. First, the guide, Devon, was a big disappointment. He seemed to have a contempt for novice riders that made him a poor choice for a guest ranch. Instead of offering instruction he scolded the riders like children and even got argumentative with his geusts, often saying things like "Well, if you don't keep him under control, that's not my problem." At one point he was scolding a rider for not keeping a horse in line -- while leading us through a yellowjacket nest. We never stopped for photos and he had next to nothing to say about the country we were riding through, except maybe that he'd like to find a giant pearl in the local fossil bed and rule the world with it. Then there was my horse. My wife got a very good horse ("Bandit"), but mine ("Lippy") spent most of the ride trying to toss his reins off and sling slobber on me. I am a novice rider, but I HAVE ridden enough horses to know that this was bad behavior and not the result of poor handling on my part. Trouble is, the Oso staff knew this horse acted like this (hence the name "Lippy") and put novice riders on him anyway.

This was not an enjoyable ride. It was three hours of fighting with Lippy and listening to Devon nag people. It was supposed to be the finale of a week-long stay in the Santa Ynez area, but turned out to be the low point of the trip.

By the end of the ride we had both long decided, without any discussion, that there would be no tip. We'd paid too much already. Maybe the Rancho Oso staff thought we were just jerks, but we usually tip generously. We've been on a few rides before. We know good guides and good horses when we get them, and Devon and Lippy were the worst we've had so far.

26  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: May 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank PeterS S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2015
Google Translation

Stayed: October 2015, traveled as a couple
Thank Bobette_en_VR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 7, 2012
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2010
Google Translation

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank CharlotteChristine
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

Address: 3750 Paradise Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93105-9777
Location: United States > California > Santa Barbara
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 17 Specialty Lodging in Santa Barbara
Price Range: $165 - $190 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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