Camp in supreme comfort on the Santa Barbara coast

Sunset  – September 14, 2004

“Camping” at El Capitan Canyon is not like pitching a tentat your local park. It’s more like being invited to the countrycompound of some old-money family with impeccable taste. Tuckedinto a sycamore-shaded nook on the coast 20 miles north of SantaBarbara, the private campground features 100rustic-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 classiccampground pastimes like toasting marshmallows, the Canyon Marketoffers a wide selection of Santa Barbara County wines and terrifictake-out food to serve as a complement to your blackened dessert.From the canyon, wildflower-lined trails lead into the adjoiningLos Padres National Forest; in the other direction it’s afive-minute walk to pristine El Capitán State Beach. ― Peter Fish

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Cabins from $135, safari tents from $115; two-night minimum onweekends. 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara; www.elcapitancanyon.comor 866/352-2729.

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