"Camping" at El Capitan Canyon is not like pitching a tent at your local park. It's more like being invited to the country compound of some old-money family with impeccable taste. Tucked into a sycamore-shaded nook on the coast 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, the private campground features 100 rustic-yet-rich-looking cedar cabins (full baths and kitchenettes; sleep 2-6) and 26 safari tents (shared baths; sleep 2-6). And while you can savor classic campground pastimes like toasting marshmallows, the Canyon Market offers a wide selection of Santa Barbara County wines and terrific take-out food to serve as a complement to your blackened dessert. From the canyon, wildflower-lined trails lead into the adjoining Los Padres National Forest; in the other direction it's a five-minute walk to pristine El Capitán State Beach. ― Peter Fish
Cabins from $135, safari tents from $115; two-night minimum on weekends. 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara; www.elcapitancanyon.com or 866/352-2729.