Spend some time under the stars, in the creek, and on the zip line at Ventura Ranch KOA.

Courtesy Photo

Spend some time under the stars, in the creek, and on the zip line at Ventura Ranch KOA.

Teepee Time

Under the Stars and Riding the Zip Line at Ventura Ranch KOA

After pulling into a creek-side oak grove between Ojai and Santa Paula that’s home to a handful of spacious teepees perched upon wooden decks, it wasn’t immediately apparent which was mine. So I called the front desk of the recently revamped Ventura Ranch KOA, and the response was blunt: “You should be able to tell. It’s all glamorized.”

He was right, for inside our teepee—the outer walls of which featured two Native American women, one riding a horse, one walking beneath the crescent moon and bluebirds—were a cow-skin rug, two beds topped with soft blankets, wicker chairs covered with bright white animal furs, and, of course, two dream catchers, a large one for the queen bed, the other above the twin. Looking up at the open top of the teepee, we could see the blue summer sky, and out the flap-door were our picnic table, fire ring, and a trail that went both down to the watering hole and up to the activity area, where a bouncing pillow, rock wall, pirate ship, and zip line awaited the next day’s fun.

Click to enlarge photo

Courtesy Photo

Yes, we were officially “glamping,” but the teepee option is a decidedly more middle-class version of the glamour-camping trend: It’s closer to nature than full-service cabins and certainly more affordable, clocking in at $89 a night rather than the hotel-like prices reserved for more luxurious glamping digs. And for new parents like us, it was the perfect introduction to overnight outdoor enjoyment for our 18-month-old—he played in the dirt with other kids, got entertained by the costumed woman who told us about the evening “search for Bigfoot”/nature walk, and was asleep in his own bed by 8 p.m., giving us enough time to enjoy our oak-grilled chicken, asparagus, sausage, and scallions over glasses of chardonnay and syrah.

The next day, we were greeted by roaming peacocks before breakfast and spent the morning playing in the creek, flowing at toddler-safe speed. Then came the jumping pillow and, for daddy, a quick but exhilarating ride on the zip line, easily the campground’s most popular offering these days at the bargain price of $10 per ride. We had to hit the road by noon, but my wife certainly echoed my constantly entertained son’s thoughts when she said, “One night is definitely not enough.”


Book your own teepee, cabin, RV slot, or tent camp at Ventura Ranch KOA by visiting or calling (800) 562-1899.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Dyer Returns as Interim Fire Chief

When Eric Peterson steps down, Mike Dyer will fill in for County Fire.

Santa Barbara Bodybuilder Wins Mr. Olympia Competition

At 43, Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden ties for the oldest champ in the contest's history.

Renovated Cabrillo Ball Park Now Open

The park got new exercise equipment, multi-use grass turf areas, and an upgraded softball field.

UCSB Researcher Charged with Molesting Child on Campus

Dr. Hongjun Zhou was arrested September 6.

Teen Serial Robber Caught and Confesses

The suspect was identified through an anonymous tipster.