Staying nearby for the holidays doesn't mean staying at home.
El Capitan Canyon
There are 3,500 pristine acres of Los Padres National Forest to the east and the whole Pacific Ocean to the west of El Capitan Canyon. With its rustic cabins and canvas safari tents, this is where luxury camping is defined. The former traditional campground is a five-minute walk from El Capitan Beach and just north of Santa Barbara. These days, campers will find queen-sized beds, lamps, heaters, and Southwestern-style interior design in their tents and cabins, along with a spa and heated swimming pool, and when the families disappear at the end of summer, the Canyon turns into a fall-colored romantic getaway. But luxury doesn’t keep the Canyon from being green. Local native plant and Steelhead fish habitat restoration, solar energy, recycling, water conservation, and a car-free campground are all efforts the Canyon actively employs. Tent accommodations start at $155 per night and cabins $225 per night. A Thanksgiving banquet is available for $45.
The Coast Starlight route features 29 stops at various spots in California, Oregon and Washington. Heading north from Santa Barbara and California’s central coast through the San Francisco Bay Area to Sacramento and into the snowy peaks and dense forests of the Cascade Mountains, the train glides west again to Willamette Valley and Portland before finally reaching Puget Sound and Seattle. Various packages are available for “Roomettes” that feature the more confined seating and pull-down bunks, to the “Bedrooms” that are more spacious and feature their own private bathrooms. Both are first-class and include all meals. Trains leave daily. Packages are available through Vacations by Rail that include one night’s stay in Seattle and Los Angeles beginning at $520.