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

El Capitan Canyon Safari Tent

Creekside Cabins – Your choice of double, queen or king

Creekside Cabin - El Capitan Canyon, Santa BarbaraCreekside Cabin - El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara

Welcome-Kit-El-Capitan-CanyonSunk in Tub

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

Canyon Cabin - El Capitan, Santa Barbara

Canyon CabinsBunk Cabins

Safari Cabin Suite with an Ocean View

Safari Cabin Suite

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.

El Capitan Canyon Bike Rentals

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.

Lllama Feeding El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara

Llama Feeding El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara

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.

By Christy Woodrow

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

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Who is Ordinary Traveler?


Hi! We are Christy and Scott and we've been traveling the world together since 2006 -- surfing and taking photos along the way.

Our goal is to inspire others to live an adventurous life, as well as provide trip ideas and helpful travel tips for people with limited vacation time.

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