Under The Stars In Style
Camping at Ocean Mesa resort, 20 miles north of downtown Santa Barbara, isn’t exactly roughing it. Choose from wellappointed cabins or heavy canvas tents with wooden floors for unique back-to-nature getaways (many are grouped together, perfect for family reunions). El Capitan offers the fun of camping (roaring fire pits, no TVs, eating alfresco) without many of the headaches (the never-ending supply of gear, no running water or toilets). Both tents (from $155) and cabins ($225 to $750) have electricity and sumptuous beds. Though it may feel like the height of luxury, it’s still camping—you will see bugs. Cabins have small kitchenettes (fridge, microwave, coffeemaker) and bathrooms (some with deep soaking tubs); while tent dwellers use communal bathrooms.
Complimentary beach cruiser bicycles and a handy on-site grill/convenience store mean the kids can roam free while parents rediscover the blissful art of doing nothing—or enjoy signature massage treatments in a tent overlooking the burbling creek. The beach is a 15-minute walk away; on-site hiking trails, a swimming pool, and a summer-long Saturday-night outdoor concert series mean there’s always something to do. There’s property-wide Wi-Fi if you must bring your laptop, but try leaving the modern world behind as you wake up to birdsongs and fall asleep to the sounds of chirping crickets and wind whistling through the sycamore trees. End the night by cooking dinner over a campfire (burgers, hot dogs, chicken, and tri-tip are sold at the store along with side dishes and necessary utensils) and watching the burning embers float up to a starry sky. As night falls and an orange and yellow
glow emanates from the tents nearby, you’ll feel a new kind of peace that says “vacation.” 805-879-5751; www.elcapitancanyon.com