Hike-in Required
Potable water
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Parking Pass

Not Required

Open Year-round


Price per night



Ocean access. Canyon wildlife. Great for families. High-end nature resort.


Can get busy on popular wedding weekends.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Reservations possible


Managed by

El Capitan Canyon

Reservation phone number

1 (866) 352-2729


Heating (forced air or radient)
Potable water
Firewood for sale
Flushing toilets
Family friendly
Tide pools


Nearby Adventures

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California


Why would anyone want to stay here? No anything. No water, showers, fire pits, bbq, ada, electricity. Nothing but sheets. Are there even toilets?
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