Staying at El Capitan Canyon: Everything You Need to Know

Staying at El Capitan Canyon: Everything You Need to Know

El Capitan Canyon near Santa Barbara is a nature oasis with yurts, safari tents, beach camping and more. Here’s everything you need to know before you go!

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.


Staying at El Capitan Canyon: Everything You Need to Know


Lodging Options at El Capitan Canyon


Safari Tent – Your choice of double or queen

Staying at El Capitan Canyon: Everything You Need to Know


Creekside Cabins – Your choice of double, queen or king

Staying at El Capitan Canyon: Everything You Need to Know

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart


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

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart


Safari Cabin Suite with an Ocean View

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart


Tent Camping Overlooking the Ocean

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart


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, You Stole My Heart


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.

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart

El Capitan Canyon, You Stole My Heart


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.



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  1. Holger Heinze says:

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

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      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!

  2. 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 🙂 !!!

  3. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says:

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

  4. Brooke vs. the World says:

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

  5. 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.

  6. PediatricDentist says:

    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?

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

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

  7. Catherine Sweeney says:

    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.

  8. thetravelchica says:

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

  9. Laura @ Travelocafe says:

    It looks amazing and the lamas are so cute!

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

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

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

  11. Michelle Yam says:

    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

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

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

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

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

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

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

  14. 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 😀

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

      I agree. I wish I had known about this place sooner!

  15. Technosyncratic says:

    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.

    1. Ordinary Traveler says:

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