Glamping on the Santa Barbara Coast Since 2001

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About
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Santa Barbara Beach Camping

About Us & Vision

Today we consider it a great honor to carry on the role of protecting and sharing the beauty of the California coast with our guests. Our goal is to nurture an environment in harmony with the nature and history of the Canyon while allowing our guests to enjoy a relaxing Santa Barbara beach camping experience. The camp is designed to be an antidote to all that is excessive, formal, artificial or contrived. By focusing on the essence of things, we hope to offer you a welcomed retreat in tune with the spirit of the Canyon.

“Something for everyone” isn’t just a saying at El Capitan Canyon, it’s our mantra. Our spectacular settings with views of the Gaviota Coast, Pacific Ocean, and Santa Ynez Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for activities and adventure. Tag along on one of our docent-led hikes along the Selma Rubin Trail. Experience our organic garden, llama farm, and breathtaking views. Explore the picturesque grounds with a hike along one of the many trails to marvel at the 2,500 acres of protected State Park land that surrounds us. On property, you can take a dip in our heated pool, checkout complimentary adult bicycles for a cruise around the Canyon, or indulge in a spa treatment at our quintessential Canyon Spa and Garden. Seasonally, we offer yoga, stargazing, ropes course activities, docent-led beach runs and, every Saturday from Memorial Day to Labor Day, our ever-popular Summer BBQ and Canyon Concert Series.

Location & Directions

From the North driving Southbound
(Santa Ynez, Santa Maria, Pismo Beach, San Francisco)

On US HWY 101, 25 minutes past Buellton, take the “El Capitan State Beach” EXIT 117 offramp. Turn left under the freeway, then left onto the frontage road. Immediately turn right into El Capitan Canyon and stop at the Entrance Kiosk. You will be greeted and directed to parking.

 

From the South driving Northbound
(Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange County)

On US HWY 101, 15 minutes past Santa Barbara, take the “El Capitan State Beach” EXIT 117 offramp. At the top of the ramp, continue 1,000 ft. down the frontage road. Turn right into El Capitan Canyon and stop at the Entrance Kiosk. You will be greeted and directed to parking.

Canyon History

Legends of El Capitan Canyon (Ajuilashmu)

El Capitan Canyon offers a rich history of hospitality. From the Canyon’s beginnings as an ancient Chumash tribal celebration site, continuing into the 19th century Mexican adobes and eventually to the cabins and campfires of today’s comfortable lodgings. Magnificent groves of sycamore and oak stand at the entrance just as they did in prehistoric times, guarding the Canyons pristine legacy.

More than 8,000 years ago, the first inhabitants were undoubtedly impressed by the fertile foothills to the north and the creek coursing through the Canyon and into the great ocean to the south. Along the creek, the ancient Chumash peoples built their hut villages and devoted themselves to harvesting the bounty of the sea. Chumash legend calls the area Ajuilashmu (Ah-wah-whi-lac-mu); the dancing place of celebration. Adjoining the creek, a long trail leads to a sacred place called Senoq (associated in Chumash myth with fire) and an ancient burial ground. A historical site at which the remains of a medicine man buried with his “panpipes” (whistles) was discovered. Tribal elders still revere this site and hold rituals and blessings here; continuing the Chumash’s deep honor of the land, water, and sky.

In 1542, the area was “discovered” and claimed for Spain by explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo. Spanish soldiers established the Presidio (fortress) in Santa Barbara in 1782 and Ajuilashmu became noted on the charts as “El Capitan”. Legend has it named for Capitan Don Jose Francisco de Ortega, one of the founders of the Presidio, who came ashore and was greeted by Chumash leaders.

The modern-day El Capitan Canyon Resort began in 1970 as a rustic private campground situated 17 miles west of Santa Barbara on a 300-acre site directly across from El Capitan State Beach. In 2000, new local owners completely transformed El Capitan Canyon into a refined rural retreat for the 21st century. On Saturday evenings in the summer, guests gather around the main campfire to savor a delicious dinner and enjoy the area’s best local musicians. Under the stars, the sounds of celebration echo through El Capitan Canyon, a timeless scene reminiscent of the ancient Chumash village of Ajuilashmu.

Environment & Philosophy

Canyon Environment & Philosophy Programs

The watershed specific, “Native Vegetation Enhancement Project” creates or reestablishes the riparian buffer zone with native plant biodiversity. At our onsite nursery, plants are grown from hand collected seeds, cuttings and transplanted propagates of local canyon stock.

“Canyon Poolside Renewable Energy Project”:

Solar heating swimming pool systems are one of the most economical forms of solar energy available today. El Capitan Canyon will cut its heating expense by an estimated 75% using free and renewable energy from the sun, making this a wise choice for our environment. Even in warm southern climates, water temperature in an unheated pool can drop to a chilly 55 degrees Fahrenheit during winter months. Solar pool heating can produce comfortable water temperature and lengthen the swimming season. Solar heated pool systems produce clean, non-polluting energy. It is safe for our environment, safe for plants and animals and safe for all of us.

“Urban Timber Salvage and Recycle Program” saves trees that could end up as firewood or in a chip yard. When winter storms or old age brings an end to local or exotic flora, the fallen trees are transported to the El Capitan Canyon Workshop. There they take the shape of beautiful handmade picnic tables, post and rail, stairs, hand rails, signs and even the interior design of the Canyon Market and Deli adding to the unique comfortable campground charm.

“Collective Cooperation Water Conservation” encourages El Capitan Canyon guests to participate or to become conscious of water saving techniques:

– Towel & linen wash, at a request or every other day
– Limit the use of Jacuzzi tub and shower per day
– The use of drought tolerant native plants to beautify the landscape
“Car Free Canyon” is a low impact environment enhancement program to encourage safety for pedestrians, wildlife, reduce noise and air pollution. El Capitan Canyon offers complimentary bicycles for quick transportation throughout the canyon.

Careers & Openings

El Capitan Canyon & Ocean Mesa

El Capitan Canyon is a unique resort located 15 miles north of Santa Barbara. El Capitan offers a resort camping experience like no other with our own style of cedar cabins, safari tents, and yurts that cater to the comforts of a hotel but showcase the serenity of the Gaviota Coast.

El Capitan Canyon is also a unique, exciting, and beautiful place to work! El Capitan has a variety of open positions from entry level to experienced candidates, each position offering its own set of skills, experience, challenges, and benefits.

If you love the outdoors and want to gain or grow hospitality experience, submit an application to join the El Cap team!

Send your resume to jobs@elcapitancanyon.com with the position you are requesting.

Ocean Mesa is El Capitan Canyon’s sister property offering premier RV and tent camping on the beautiful California Central Coast. Ocean Mesa provides a unique experience sharing amenities and services with El Capitan Canyon. Ocean Mesa employees love campers and boast one of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful working environments.

Send your resume to jobs@elcapitancanyon.com with the position you are requesting.

Open Positions

Desk Clerk / Booking Agent – Front Desk
Front desk clerk duties include answering phones, making reservations, checking in and checking out guests, booking spa services, and concierge services in a very busy, customer service environment. Candidates must have strong communication skills, both written and verbal, and the ability to multi-task is a must. Flexible schedules are available although some weekend and evening availability is required. Hotel experience is preferred but we’ll train the right person. Full and part-time positions are available, hourly compensation depending on experience.

 

Deli Clerk – Canyon Market
The Canyon Market includes a gourmet deli and upscale retail area and is the center of activity during private events and our summer concert series. Duties include, taking food orders, working as a cashier, making coffee drinks, and stocking both the deli/grocery and retail areas. Excellent customer service skills and the ability to multi-task is a must. Retail, coffee shop and/or deli experience is a plus but we will train the right person. 25-30 hours per week, must be available to work evening and weekend shifts. Hourly rate depends on experience.

 

Line Cook – Canyon Market, Kitchen
Our talented kitchen staff is responsible for our deli menu, as well as full service catering for up to 300 people. Candidate must have flexible availability and be able to work weekends. Part-time hourly compensation depends on experience. Kitchen and food handling experience is preferred but we will train the right person.

 

Desk Clerk / Booking Agent – Ocean Mesa Campground
Duties include answering phones, making reservations, checking in and checking out guests in a very busy, customer service environment. Knowledge of RVs and camping experience preferred. Flexible schedules are available. Weekend and evening availability is required. Seasonal full and part-time positions are available, hourly compensation depending on experience.

 

Housekeeper – Housekeeping Department
El Departamento de Houskeeping esta solicitando personal para la limpreza de las cabanas. Interesada favor de aplicar en persona en el 11560 Calle Real. The Housekeeping Department is currently hiring houskeepers to clean and maintain our cabins. Interested applicants should apply in person at 11560 Calle Real.

Part-time positions also available in Maintenance. Please inquire for more details.

Location & Directions

Location & Directions

From the North driving Southbound
(Santa Ynez, Santa Maria, Pismo Beach, San Francisco)

On US HWY 101, 25 minutes past Buellton, take the “El Capitan State Beach” EXIT 117 offramp. Turn left under the freeway, then left onto the frontage road. Immediately turn right into El Capitan Canyon and stop at the Entrance Kiosk. You will be greeted and directed to parking.

 

From the South driving Northbound
(Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange County)

On US HWY 101, 15 minutes past Santa Barbara, take the “El Capitan State Beach” EXIT 117 offramp. At the top of the ramp, continue 1,000 ft. down the frontage road. Turn right into El Capitan Canyon and stop at the Entrance Kiosk. You will be greeted and directed to parking.

Canyon History

Canyon History

Legends of El Capitan Canyon (Ajuilashmu)

El Capitan Canyon offers a rich history of hospitality. From the Canyon’s beginnings as an ancient Chumash tribal celebration site, continuing into the 19th century Mexican adobes and eventually to the cabins and campfires of today’s comfortable lodgings. Magnificent groves of sycamore and oak stand at the entrance just as they did in prehistoric times, guarding the Canyons pristine legacy.

More than 8,000 years ago, the first inhabitants were undoubtedly impressed by the fertile foothills to the north and the creek coursing through the Canyon and into the great ocean to the south. Along the creek, the ancient Chumash peoples built their hut villages and devoted themselves to harvesting the bounty of the sea. Chumash legend calls the area Ajuilashmu (Ah-wah-whi-lac-mu); the dancing place of celebration. Adjoining the creek, a long trail leads to a sacred place called Senoq (associated in Chumash myth with fire) and an ancient burial ground. A historical site at which the remains of a medicine man buried with his “panpipes” (whistles) was discovered. Tribal elders still revere this site and hold rituals and blessings here; continuing the Chumash’s deep honor of the land, water, and sky.

In 1542, the area was “discovered” and claimed for Spain by explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo. Spanish soldiers established the Presidio (fortress) in Santa Barbara in 1782 and Ajuilashmu became noted on the charts as “El Capitan”. Legend has it named for Capitan Don Jose Francisco de Ortega, one of the founders of the Presidio, who came ashore and was greeted by Chumash leaders.

The modern-day El Capitan Canyon Resort began in 1970 as a rustic private campground situated 17 miles west of Santa Barbara on a 300-acre site directly across from El Capitan State Beach. In 2000, new local owners completely transformed El Capitan Canyon into a refined rural retreat for the 21st century. On Saturday evenings in the summer, guests gather around the main campfire to savor a delicious dinner and enjoy the area’s best local musicians. Under the stars, the sounds of celebration echo through El Capitan Canyon, a timeless scene reminiscent of the ancient Chumash village of Ajuilashmu.

Environment & Philosophy

Environment & Philosophy

Canyon Environment & Philosophy Programs

The watershed specific, “Native Vegetation Enhancement Project” creates or reestablishes the riparian buffer zone with native plant biodiversity. At our onsite nursery, plants are grown from hand collected seeds, cuttings and transplanted propagates of local canyon stock.

“Canyon Poolside Renewable Energy Project”:

Solar heating swimming pool systems are one of the most economical forms of solar energy available today. El Capitan Canyon will cut its heating expense by an estimated 75% using free and renewable energy from the sun, making this a wise choice for our environment. Even in warm southern climates, water temperature in an unheated pool can drop to a chilly 55 degrees Fahrenheit during winter months. Solar pool heating can produce comfortable water temperature and lengthen the swimming season. Solar heated pool systems produce clean, non-polluting energy. It is safe for our environment, safe for plants and animals and safe for all of us.

“Urban Timber Salvage and Recycle Program” saves trees that could end up as firewood or in a chip yard. When winter storms or old age brings an end to local or exotic flora, the fallen trees are transported to the El Capitan Canyon Workshop. There they take the shape of beautiful handmade picnic tables, post and rail, stairs, hand rails, signs and even the interior design of the Canyon Market and Deli adding to the unique comfortable campground charm.

“Collective Cooperation Water Conservation” encourages El Capitan Canyon guests to participate or to become conscious of water saving techniques:

– Towel & linen wash, at a request or every other day
– Limit the use of Jacuzzi tub and shower per day
– The use of drought tolerant native plants to beautify the landscape
“Car Free Canyon” is a low impact environment enhancement program to encourage safety for pedestrians, wildlife, reduce noise and air pollution. El Capitan Canyon offers complimentary bicycles for quick transportation throughout the canyon.

Careers & Openings

Careers & Openings

El Capitan Canyon & Ocean Mesa

El Capitan Canyon is a unique resort located 15 miles north of Santa Barbara. El Capitan offers a resort camping experience like no other with our own style of cedar cabins, safari tents, and yurts that cater to the comforts of a hotel but showcase the serenity of the Gaviota Coast.

El Capitan Canyon is also a unique, exciting, and beautiful place to work! El Capitan has a variety of open positions from entry level to experienced candidates, each position offering its own set of skills, experience, challenges, and benefits.

If you love the outdoors and want to gain or grow hospitality experience, submit an application to join the El Cap team!

Send your resume to jobs@elcapitancanyon.com with the position you are requesting.

Ocean Mesa is El Capitan Canyon’s sister property offering premier RV and tent camping on the beautiful California Central Coast. Ocean Mesa provides a unique experience sharing amenities and services with El Capitan Canyon. Ocean Mesa employees love campers and boast one of Santa Barbara’s most beautiful working environments.

Send your resume to jobs@elcapitancanyon.com with the position you are requesting.

Open Positions

Desk Clerk / Booking Agent – Front Desk
Front desk clerk duties include answering phones, making reservations, checking in and checking out guests, booking spa services, and concierge services in a very busy, customer service environment. Candidates must have strong communication skills, both written and verbal, and the ability to multi-task is a must. Flexible schedules are available although some weekend and evening availability is required. Hotel experience is preferred but we’ll train the right person. Full and part-time positions are available, hourly compensation depending on experience.

 

Deli Clerk – Canyon Market
The Canyon Market includes a gourmet deli and upscale retail area and is the center of activity during private events and our summer concert series. Duties include, taking food orders, working as a cashier, making coffee drinks, and stocking both the deli/grocery and retail areas. Excellent customer service skills and the ability to multi-task is a must. Retail, coffee shop and/or deli experience is a plus but we will train the right person. 25-30 hours per week, must be available to work evening and weekend shifts. Hourly rate depends on experience.

 

Line Cook – Canyon Market, Kitchen
Our talented kitchen staff is responsible for our deli menu, as well as full service catering for up to 300 people. Candidate must have flexible availability and be able to work weekends. Part-time hourly compensation depends on experience. Kitchen and food handling experience is preferred but we will train the right person.

 

Desk Clerk / Booking Agent – Ocean Mesa Campground
Duties include answering phones, making reservations, checking in and checking out guests in a very busy, customer service environment. Knowledge of RVs and camping experience preferred. Flexible schedules are available. Weekend and evening availability is required. Seasonal full and part-time positions are available, hourly compensation depending on experience.

 

Housekeeper – Housekeeping Department
El Departamento de Houskeeping esta solicitando personal para la limpreza de las cabanas. Interesada favor de aplicar en persona en el 11560 Calle Real. The Housekeeping Department is currently hiring houskeepers to clean and maintain our cabins. Interested applicants should apply in person at 11560 Calle Real.

Part-time positions also available in Maintenance. Please inquire for more details.

Contact us

El Capitan Canyon is conveniently located off 101 freeway, just north of Santa Barbara on the Central Coast of California.
El Capitan Canyon

11560 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 93117

Email: info@elcapitancanyon.com
Phone: (805) 685-3887
Toll Free: (866) 352-2729

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