Named for the canyon in which it is nestled, El Capitan Canyon is a high-end camping and lodging retreat located 20 miles west of downtown Santa Barbara. Situated at the mouth of the canyon and extending farther inland, the resort exceeds 300 acres and offers guests an unparalleled lodging experience along the picturesque Gaviota coast.
Guests can choose accommodations ranging from rustic safari tents to cozy yurts or more fully provisioned cedar cabins that come equipped with kitchenettes and private bathrooms. (Yurts and tents share centrally located bathrooms.) With 108 cabins, six yurts and 26 tents, El Capitan Canyon offers something for everyone – from couples to families to larger groups. Each accommodation has a private picnic table and fire pit. Guests who prefer to leave the cooking at home can enjoy meals at the Canyon Market's in-house cafe. Canyon Market also offers camping supplies, wine, food, and an espresso bar.
The resort has made a noticeable effort to respect the natural surroundings of the canyon. Accommodations are situated along El Capitan Creek and landscaped primarily with native vegetation. Aside from the access road used for luggage transportation, the canyon is car-free, which keeps the local wildlife roaming about (deer are daily visitors). The swimming pool is heated with solar power, and the resort provides free bicycles to access the beach and explore around the canyon.
With multiple hiking trails in and around the canyon, and a short, 10-minute walk to El Capitan State Beach, guests won’t find themselves at a loss for things to do. The surf improves in the fall and early winter months, and the Bill Wallace Nature Trail offers hikers over 10 miles of canyon and ocean views and the Santa Ynez mountains to explore. Guests enjoy evenings gazing up at the stars, sharing stories around one of the community fire pits that are peppered around the property. El Capitan Canyon and this tranquil stretch of undeveloped coast offers a small taste of a bygone Southern California experience.