Glamping . . . also known as “glamorous camping.” Or, in my opinion, camping with bathrooms. 😉Have you done it? For spring break, we headed to El Capitan Canyon, “Nature Lodging on the California Coast,” just 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, for a few days.
Just to give you a little background on our previous experience camping: My husband grew up legit camping with his neighborhood buddy, and he has been wanting to take the boys. Growing up my family had a tradition of going to the Black Hills, South Dakota where we stayed in cabins at Camp Remington but still had to use outhouses (which, in my opinion, is roughing it).
That said, I really had no idea what “glamping” entailed, outside of a few of our friends recommending it. As usual, we booked our trip pretty last minute, so our option was the Canyon Bunk: “The Canyon Bunk is the ultimate “sleep-over”; two sets of bunk beds that comfortably sleep four and a sleeping loft that can accommodate two young children, Each warm and comfortable bunk and loft is furnished with blankets and sheets.” That’s a pretty good description. Blankets, sheets, and towels are provided. “Comfortably” is all perspective I suppose (I will say I didn’t wake up with any aches and pains.) My lack of sleep was primarily because we brought a Pack ‘n Play along for Kiera which sat between the bunk beds. If it hadn’t been for that, I think the cabin would have probably felt a little more spacious, but we didn’t have much walking room. It also came with a microwave and mini fridge. Needless to say, we only really slept in the cabin and spent most of our time eating at the picnic benches outside our room or playing in the open field in the middle of all the cabins. If this doesn’t seem like a good fit for your family, they have many more luxurious options that you can find HERE.
The open space of El Capitan is very refreshing (especially for most of the travelers coming in from Los Angeles), and the set up really does feel like a campground. Our first night there we walked the entire place. We had cabins right near the entrance, which included a small market where you can order food. The further away from the entrance you went, the more populated it seemed with groups of people who had come together. I do recommend that, and if we go back, we definitely want to go with friends. You can order big cookout packets from the market from burgers to s’more kits, start a fire, have some drinks, and let the kids run around.
There is a fun playground, a “heated” pool that the boys reported back was “not that warm” (but it wasn’t that warm while we were there – 60’s-ish, so I’m sure it’s great in the summer), a llama farm where you apparently can feed the llamas (The farmer was gone when we visited.), trails, and hikes. I took the kids one morning to El Capitan State Beach, which is a little rocky, but Liam found some really cool seashells, and Landon liked trying to build his own little hunt.
Overall, I think El Capitan Canyon is a great place to get away and give your kids open space and freedom, which can sometimes feel limiting in the Los Angeles area. I would probably recommend going a little bit closer to summer, especially if you’re a little cold-blooded like me. (And honestly, if I’d brought my vest I would have been fine.)
Have you been glamping or camping? What spots near you do you recommend?