The natural beauty of California meets the comforts of a hospitable hotel at the El Capitan Canyon nature lodge.
Set on 350 acres of lush grounds along the picturesque Pacific Coast in Santa Barbara, both sustainability-minded and nature-loving travelers alike will relish in all that El Capitan Canyon has to offer. The laid-back wilderness resort provides full-service comfort camping — from cozy cedar cabins to safari tents and adventure yurts that all range from rustic and charming to luxurious — in the serenity of nature while being close to world-famous beaches, visitor attractions, outdoor recreation areas, and some of the area’s best restaurants.
We caught up with El Capitan Canyon’s General Manager, Richard Good, to learn more about what makes the lodge such a magical place year-round.
Tell us about El Capitan Canyon and why it’s a must visit?
El Capitan Canyon is a nature lodging destination in Santa Barbara, Calif., situated between the coast and the mountains. It features cedar cabins, safari tents and adventure yurts, each with their own picnic table, grill and firepit. Guests feel the spirit of nature surrounding them when they visit, but also get to enjoy the creature comforts of home.
El Capitan Canyon features a serenity garden, a heated pool, llama and goat farm, an organic garden and hiking trails along the Selma Rubin Trail. If you’re lucky, you can enjoy a yoga and sound bath in a yurt.
Especially breathtaking about this property is the stargazing, as the seclusion allows for no light pollution. Oftentimes, a NASA expert hosts a stargazing event to educate guests on the constellations.
When people come to El Capitan Canyon, what are they looking for?
Guests come to El Capitan Canyon to escape the hustle and bustle of life, bask in the simplicity of nature, and most importantly, to reconnect with themselves and their loved ones. It provides a comfort camping experience and retreat in an environment in harmony with the Canyon.
Guests love the spectacular settings of the Gaviota Coast, Pacific Ocean and Santa Ynez Mountains, and especially love the convenience of the Canyon Market’s BBQ kits, which provide a full meal for a family from the condiments to the dessert.
What is a can’t-miss experience at El Capitan Canyon?
Do not miss a hike by the farm, where you can see dozens of llamas, goats and a resident donkey roam across acres of beautiful farmland. I also recommend ordering a BBQ kit, which takes care of your dinner plans in one convenient tote bag. The kits can be picked up or delivered to your accommodations and include the main dish, sides, condiments, cooking utensils, drinks and a s’mores kit complete with fire pokers. Cooking over the fire really brings families and friends together.
What is there to do outside of the property?
El Capitan Canyon is in walking distance to the beautiful El Capitan State Beach, where you’ll find is a surfer’s favorite spot. Also nearby is the Santa Barbara Adventure Company that plays host to many fun activities and adventures, whale watching, horseback riding, golf, botanical gardens, a zoo and more. You can view the full list here.
What is your favorite thing about El Capitan Canyon?
My favorite thing about El Capitan Canyon is watching loved ones reconnect with each other. It’s a place to leave your laptop behind, kick back by the campfire and leave your worries at the door. There is something so special about the connection to nature that is evident throughout this property. When our guests leave, we oftentimes see the weight that has fallen off their shoulders. It’s truly a carefree, harmonious getaway for families, couples and friends.
Photos courtesy El Capitan Canyon