cabins at el capitan canyonSouthern California is made for outdoor and adventure travel. The climate, the lifestyle, the landscapes lure visitors outside to partake in all that there is to offer.  Whether you are traveling as a couple, for a girl’s weekend, or as a family during a summer trip, Santa Barbara and its surroundings offers something for everyone that is looking for outdoor and adventure experiences.

One way to get an authentic Santa Barbara experience is to focus your time on the outdoors. One way to do that is camping…except that, admittedly, camping is not for the faint of heart. Those that are used to turn down service and finding a newspaper at their door each morning may find the idea of glamping, where you are nestled in a comfortable cabin in a serene setting, more suitable for their adventurous but not rugged tastes.

el capitan canyon cabinEl Capitan Canyon offers a glamping experience with three levels of comfort and “necessities.” From a yurt to a tent to a cabin (equipped not just with a bathroom but also with wifi access), the accommodations at El Capitan Canyon give you access to bike and hiking trails, the beach, and a view of wildlife and nature that is unlike any other.

Insider tip: Prepare yourself for a frequent knocking sound courtesy of the local woodpeckers and pack a good camera to catch the lovely (but quick) hummingbirds that frequent the many flowers and plants on the grounds.



Whether you prefer land or water, the adventure traveler will delight in Santa Barbara.  Coastal kayaking from Refugio State Park or the Channel Islands will provide a great workout as well as an opportunity to see sea lions, glide through underwater forests of kelp, and watch as pelicans dive full speed in search of fish.  The guides at Santa Barbara Adventure Company are knowledgeable in both the technical aspect of kayaking as well as the marine ecology that is alive with life.  You could also choose to travel by bike, along the coast or to local wineries for a winery tour.

kayaking at refugio state parkInsider tip: If you decide to kayak and are in a group, do not be surprised if your guides challenge you with activities like rafting together or even leap-frogging from one kayak to another. It looks harder than it is, and is absolutely worth the bragging rights to say that you were able to scoot yourself from one kayak to another in the open water.

Two days in Santa Barbara is not enough to explore in depth, but is a great start to make an adventure traveler want to go back!

Live the dolce vita along with me…  

Italian by birth, Elena tells the story of living-doing-and growing as a Cancer survivor, freelance writer, teacher, runner from her perch in the DC suburbs at Ciao Mom.


This post was inspired by my participation in the Toyota Women’s Influencer Network. Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. My travel expenses during our California adventure were provided.  The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota.