Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties Entice Adventure Travel Enthusiasts with Family Friendly Ocean Kayaking Tours, Rock Climbing Classes, Ziplines and 200-year-old Spanish Missions

Debbie Sipe
California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds
(530) 885-1624
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The region’s campgrounds also offer unique activities, from zip lines to evening star talks and Bigfoot encounters, as well as rental accommodations ranging from covered wagons to furnished safari tents, tipis, yurts, park model cabins and cottages as well as classic Airstream trailers and “Canned Hams”

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., March 31, 2014 — Southern California families looking for unique activities and attractions can find them in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

In addition to being the home of three historic Spanish missions in Ventura; Santa Barbara ( and Solvang (, the Santa Barbara-Ventura County region is the jumping off point for family friendly ocean kayaking tours of the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary and National Park ( The park has some of the clearest waters in California as well as more than 2,000 plant and animal species, 145 of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

Several companies offer guided kayaking tours into the caves and grottos of the Channel Islands, including Aquasports (; Channel Island Outfitters (; Channel Island Kayak Center (; Island Packers (; and the Santa Barbara Adventure Company (

“The kayaking tours of Santa Cruz Island and other islands in the Channel Is-lands chain are among the most unique outdoor activities in Southern California,” said Debbie Sipe, executive director of California Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, which hosts an extensive travel planning website at

Other unique ocean activities between February and May include whale watch-ing, which is provided by several companies, including the Sunset Kidd ( and Condor Express (

The Santa Barbara Adventure Company also offers guided horseback riding trips as well as classes in rock climbing, surfing and stand up paddling.
Families with an interest in history and culture will also find a diverse range of attractions in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, including:

— The Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley: Exhibits include a presidential motorcade; the Marine One helicopter used by former President Johnson; and Air Force One jet that served as the airborne White House for seven U.S. presidents from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art: One of Southern California’s finest art museums, it features more than 27,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years, including a significant collection of classical antiquities as well as American and European artwork of the 19th and 20th centuries, including the largest collection of Monet paintings of any gallery on the West Coast.

— The Danish-themed town of Solvang: This city’s sycamore- and pine tree-lined streets feature quaint restaurants and shops with imported European crafts as well as the Hans Christian Anderson Museum, which celebrates Denmark’s most famous writer, and the Elverhoj Museum of History and Art, which is dedicated to Danish culture.

Many families are adding an even greater sense of history and adventure to their trips to Santa Barbara and Ventura counties by camping in a covered wagon, a tipi or a safari tent. “You don’t need camping equipment since several of the region’s campgrounds have rental accommodations ranging from vintage Airstream trailers and ‘Canned Hams’ to fully furnished park model cabins and cottages and yurts,” Sipe said.

Some campgrounds also offer unique onsite activities of their own, which makes them unique “base camps” for families as they explore the two county region. These include:

— El Capitan Canyon: Located 20 miles west of Santa Barbara in a hidden canyon filled with sycamores, El Capitan Canyon features luxurious park model cabins, furnished safari tents and yurts, which are modern versions of the types of the ancient shelters that were used by Central Asian nomads. Yurts are circular structures with domed roofs. El Capitan Canyon has six fully furnished yurts, each of which can sleep four people. They complement the resort’s 109 park model cabins and 26 furnished safari tents. The resort’s amenities include a small onsite restaurant, evening star talks, a private hiking trail and a summer concert series featuring jazz, blues and bluegrass music. El Capitan Canyon is affiliated with Ocean Mesa Campground, which caters to RV and tent camping enthusiasts. Both campgrounds are virtually next door to each other. and

— Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton: This park, which is five minutes from the Danish-themed village of Solvang, has RV and tent sites as well as luxurious park model cottages and vintage Airstream and “Canned Ham” trailer rentals. Several activi-ties are provided onsite, including Friday night Tri-Tip barbecues, Saturday night ice cream socials, movies under the stars and Sunday breakfast in bed delivery service. Golf and wine tasting packages are also available.

— Rancho Oso Guest Ranch: Located half way between Santa Barbara and Solvang, this ranch offers covered wagon rentals, which are arranged in circles around campfire pits. Each covered wagon can sleep up to four people with four cots and an electrical outlet. The ranch also offers a Native American style tipi rental and several park model cottages with bathrooms and kitchens. Horse camping sites are also availa-ble for campers who bring their horses with them. Guided horseback riding trips are also available as well as bucking bull demonstrations on Saturday mornings. The demonstrations feature “baby” bulls that are being prepared for work in future rodeos. Amenities include a swimming pool, bike trails, miniature golf, nature hiking trails, plus an onsite restaurant and clubhouse.

— Ventura Ranch KOA in Santa Paula: This campground offers a wide range of rental accommodations, including fully furnished safari tents, tipis and park model cottages. The campground also has host of other amenities to keep its campers enter-tained, including a jumping pillow, a pedal cart track, a 25-foot rock climbing wall and the longest campground zipline in the country, which is divided into 800-foot and 600-foot sections. Bigfoot Adventure Walks also talk place from time to time on weekends, along with family friendly classes in tie dye t-shirt making and rocket making, in which children and their parents can try their skills at assembling and launching a small rocket. A new swimming pool is expected to open by late June.

Additional travel planning resources for Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are available at, which includes listings of campgrounds that provide unique rental accommodations.