El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart

Do you love the outdoors, but you dislike camping? Or do you like camping along the coast, but you have a hard time making reservations months ahead of time?

Then allow me to introduce you to the stunning El Capitan Canyon.

El Capitan Canyon is a gorgeous nature resort located on 300 acres along the Pacific Coast in Santa Barbara county.

Thankfully, we stumbled upon this eco-friendly resort while planning a trip to the central coast. Scott and I have always wanted to camp along the coast in Santa Barbara, but we could never manage to get reservations at any of the always-booked state parks.

Luckily, while searching for a campground that had availability, we found El Capitan Canyon.

As you may know from our previous posts, we love to camp but we also love to relax and forget about our busy schedules from time to time. El Capitan Canyon turned out to be the perfect combination of experiencing nature and the relaxing getaway that we desperately needed.

Camping can sometimes feel like a lot of work if you are just looking to sit back and relax without any responsibilities. Camping can definitely be relaxing, but you still have to cook your own food, do the dishes, and light and stoke the campfire. You can still do all of these things at El Capitan Canyon, but the greatest part is that you don’t have to!

You can enjoy nature at its best while enjoying a comfy, warm bed or you can “rough it” in one of their many tent camping sites overlooking the ocean. There is literally something for every type of traveler.

Lodging Options at El Capitan Canyon:

Safari Tent – Your choice of double or queen

Creekside Cabins – Your choice of double, queen or king

Canyon Cabins – Your choice of bunk, queen, suite and loft

Safari Cabin Suite with an Ocean View

Tent Camping Overlooking the Ocean

Motorhome Campsites Overlooking the Ocean

Adventure Yurt

El Capitan Canyon Amenities:


So you are too tired after that walk to the beach or afternoon hike to see the llamas and you don’t feel like preparing a meal? No problem! El Capitan Canyon has you covered.

You can either eat at their canyon restaurant and let the cooks work their magic or you can order one of their delicious BBQ meals already prepared and delivered to your cabin or tent. Now all you have to do is throw it on the fire while you drink a cold beer and admire your campfire cooking skills.

Free Bike Rentals

Yes, you heard that right. El Capitan Canyon offers free bike rentals to their guests.

Walking Distance to the Beach

Just a short and easy walk or drive west will lead you to El Capitan State Beach, or El Cap as the locals refer to it.

Canyon Market and Store

Don’t worry about rushing around shopping for your camping trip because you can get most of the necessities at the Canyon Market. Whether you are in the mood for s’mores, a bottle of wine, a few snacks or even a couple of souvenirs, you’ll find what you are looking for here.

Llama Feeding!

Scott and I took part in the guided hike and llama feeding tour on Saturday morning. It was a unique experience and we were happy to see the llamas have plenty of space to roam around in.

Spa Services

We didn’t get a chance to experience any of their spa treatments, but I’m sure it’s top notch and well worth a visit during your stay.

El Capitan Canyon Overview

We couldn’t have been happier during our stay at El Capitan Canyon. The staff was extremely helpful and professional. They even answered all of our questions about the surrounding area, including directions to neighboring towns for a little more exploring.

Related Posts:

The Big South – Big Sur, California

The Forgotten Coast – Central California

Tips for Hiking and Camping in Yellowstone

Disclosure: Our 2-night stay with El Capitan Canyon was complimentary in exchange for a review of their resort. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own.

Christy Woodrow is a travel photographer and professional blogger based in San Diego. She has been traveling around the world with her partner in crime, Scott, since 2006. Join them in their quest to find off-the-beaten-path destinations by signing up for weekly emails and following her on .

  • Technosyncratic

    The safari tent looks like a great idea!!  I enjoy camping, but if we’re only going for a few nights it seems like such a pain to pack everything up, hunt down a site (in peak season they get booked up way too fast, especially in CA and on the coast), and plan for all the meals.  Maybe I’m just lazy, but sometimes it feels like too much work for what should be a simple weekend of relaxation. 🙂  So a place like this is really a cool alternative.

    • It does seem like a lot of work sometimes. Maybe Scott and I are getting lazy too. 🙂

  • I love camping, and this looks like a great way to enjoy the outdoors without having to go through the usual hassle 🙂 Free bike rentals rock too 😀

  • camorose

    Loooooove that safari tent and those smore kits! Looks amazing! 

    • Can you believe we were too lazy to cook the smores? haha. They were delicious for the ride home though! 

  • This is my kind of camping! And llamas?  Even better!

  • This may just be the happy medium between roughing it and comfort. Totally must check this place out. And the llamas? How adorbs are they? — Michelle

    • I know, right?! They seem to have everything you could ask for at El Cap. 🙂

  • Cam

    That place deserves a big WOW with a little “yes please” on the side!

    • Lol. That is the best comment ever, Cam. The perfect description. 🙂 Why didn’t I think of that?!

  • It looks amazing and the lamas are so cute!

  • thetravelchica

    I like having lots of outdoorsy activities to do but am not so big on the camping part.  
    I would love to stay here!  

  • I like all of these camping options, especially the Safari cabin suites. What a great place to enjoy that beautiful part of the California coast.

  • Yeah I also love camping. For me it is one of the best way to have family bonding and I really enjoy camping. Thanks for posting this! El Capitan Canyon is a relaxing and peaceful place! How can we have reservation in this place?

    • Just click on the link in the post and you can reserve from there!

  • Ali

    I am NOT a camper. I love to look at nature and take pictures, but that’s about it. But this looks really great. I think I could handle one of those cabins.

  • I want to stay in the tent! Glamping all the way for me 🙂

  • Wow, I was already sold on this place, even before the llama feeding, which takes it to another level!

  • Sherry

    This is exactly like my kind of camping. While I still do it, I am not a fan of sleeping on the hard ground right along side bugs and other things. Enjoying the outdoors shouldn’t have to include a sore back and bug bites. And what a bonus to be able to see a “smiling” white llama with that gorgeou blue sky 🙂 !!!

  • Holger Heinze

    Very Cool post!
    Came across this researching a trip along the coast. Will definately check it out. 

    • We highly recommend it! We have some other tips of places to stay along the coast of California under North America or you can do a search on our site. Have fun!