It is no big surprise that camping is not an activity commonly found on women’s “favorite things to do” lists. Call us crazy, but the mere thought of a bright blue Porta-Potty as a bathroom isn’t our idea of a good time. What if you could enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing creature comforts (and perhaps even elevate the experience up a few notches)?
Just north of Santa Barbara, the glamorous version of Mother Nature resides alongside the pristine coast of California. At family-owned El Capitan Canyon, there’s nothing rough about “roughing it.” On these luxury campgrounds, you’ll find activity yurts, cedar cabins and canvas safari tent villages tucked amongst rolling hills and creek canyons.
Cabins boast inviting amenities, such as soaking tubs, fireplaces and kitchenettes. Safari tents are built on raised wooden decks and feature essentially everything you’d find in a standard hotel room: beds with full linens, towels, toiletries, electric heaters, lamps and power outlets. And, just imagine the elation when you discover that the adjacent restroom facilities are refreshingly clean and fully stocked.
There’s even an on-site country market and café, offering an impressive selection of organic and gourmet selection of meals and groceries. Get a little retail therapy in on the other side of the market, offering everything from jewelry to Voluspa travel candles.
When it comes to things to do, there is an abundance of natural beauty to explore on the grounds, from 3,500 acres of untouched nature preserve to the El Capitan State Beach, just a short five-minute walk away. Enjoy sweeping vistas on a hike up to visit the resident farm animals and llamas — yes, llamas. Score one of the complimentary bikes and take a little ride around the grounds. There’s even a solar-heated pool to take a dip in. If your muscles are sore after a full day’s worth of fun, schedule a hot stone massage in the outdoor cedar spa cabin; the sound of the nearby stream will instantly help you to unplug.
Stay true to your no-electronics diet and arrange a day tours with the staff, such as a visit to the local wineries. There are also on-site activities, including their popular Saturday night concert series during summer.
As the sun begins to set, pick up a s’mores kit from the market and indulge in some dessert and dish around the campfire. Log some stargazing time. When you get back to your tent, you won’t believe your eyes when you see that “tent service” has reset your room to a hotel room-like state. Don’t hesitate to bathe before turning in; the water temperature control operates without a hitch for the most comfortable showers you’ve ever enjoyed outside.
El Capitan Canyon offers affordable luxury in nature, complete with a friendly on-site staff to serve you. Naturally, green practices are in place to preserve, renew and protect the land. These campgrounds are a popular destination for couples, families and groups of friends. Additionally, the light-filled yurts and hillside tent lodges are available for social events of all types, including yoga retreats, casual weddings and corporate team building. Ladies and gentleman, it’s official: This is glamping in all its glory.
El Capitan Canyon
11560 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 93117
Joy Bitonio has the phrase “Joie de Vivre” tattooed on her shoulder, a reminder to enjoy life every single day. She has a voracious appetite for fun, adventure, food, good cocktails and works out like a madwoman to keep it all together. Her fitness articles can be found on examiner.com. Follow her on Twitter.