Sleep in a covered wagon or Gold Rush cabin at Rancho Oso where camping comes with a full dose of rustic charm.
The trails at Rancho Oso are extra dusty this year, with much-needed precipitation skipping over California almost all-together this year. But spirits are still high at the weekend spaghetti dinners and BBQs. The pools are full and perfect for a plunge to escape the heat and dust. Kids are still begging parents to allow them to get in on the action at the Candy Bar Bingo, and trying to be the first to find the Golden Horseshoes hidden somewhere on the grounds. Wine tastings are followed by campfires, this year more carefully watched than ever, but necessary for late-night s’mores.
Rancho Oso is loved for its remote feel. Despite sitting just thirty minutes outside Santa Barbara and Solvang, the Ranch doesn’t show up on GPS so navigating your way can be a little challenging. But as soon as you spot the covered wagons and old west cabins you’ll know you’ve arrived.
The area’s history dates back to 1845, and campers at Rancho Oso relive a bit of the state’s first ‘boom time’ when the draw was to the gold, not silicon. A big favorite is staying in the covered wagons or Old West cabins. Horseback riding also plays a big part of Rancho Oso experience. Campers can ride resident horses from the stable or bring their own horses to camp alongside them and trek through the area’s extensive network of trails. On weekends, the arena is busy with rodeo shows and exhibitions. There’s also sports courts galore and free equipment rental. When you’re ready for serious chilling out, there’s two swimming pools and regular yoga classes.
Rancho Oso’s amenities and one-of-a-kind lodging options sometimes work to the camps disadvantage. Visitors show up looking for more of a ranch than a camp. And Rancho Oso is first and foremost a campground. There are bugs and hot nights. Packs of bicycle-mounted kids roam the trails and there are the occasional late-night parties by lamplight. It can be dusty and hot and the Country Store may carry only one type of cheese. In short, it’s classic camping for your inner cowboy.
Book your Rancho Oso vacation here.