Explore Central Coast Camping on HipCamp 

Search for Outdoor Accommodations Around Santa Barbara County

Explore Central Coast Camping on HipCamp 

Search for Outdoor Accommodations Around Santa Barbara County 

By Vanessa Vin | June 9, 2022

The badlands of Cuyama are home to Songdog Ranch, where Santa Barbara resident Chuck Flacks (below) recently stayed with a bunch of friends by booking through HipCamp. | Credit: Chuck Flacks

What do you do when you live in paradise but still desire the adventure of a weekend excursion? 

Many Santa Barbarans are turning to HipCamp, an online booking site that combines the novelty of “glamping” with the rustic simplicity of homesteading. This online platform allows private landowners to act as “hosts” to campers looking for memorable outdoor stays in nature. As the name implies, this is camping, but it’s hip, with infinite add-on possibilities, from coffee service and fresh bread to guided hikes and even tarot card readings. Accommodations range from basic to lush, including tent camping, cabins, RV hookups, and more, all within the intimate setting of private property.

HipCamp has saved many families during the pandemic, including Laura Borneman Birch, who often travels with two kids under 5 years old. “During the pandemic, traveling was limited, which opened up the opportunity to explore our local area,” she explained. 

That was also a primary motivator for Chuck Flacks, who does an annual camp trip with about 10 friends. He discovered Songdog Ranch, one of HipCamp’s “Best of 2022” awardees. The $40-per-night trouvaille in the Cuyama Valley exceeded his expectations. 

“New Cuyama was not a place I’d ever thought about going to, so I was excited that HipCamp connected us to a place that I wouldn’t have necessarily gone to otherwise,” said Flacks, who visited last fall. “Another big draw was the extra privacy we would be enjoying in comparison to state campsites or federal land.” 

Although Songdog Ranch offers many different accommodation types, Flacks and his buddies kept it simple. “We chose a very basic, bare-bones site on what might have formerly been a working farm,” said Flacks. “It was very comfortable.” 

Credit: Chuck Flacks

Located in what HipCamp categorizes as the “Cuyama Badlands,” the ranch sits in the rugged scrublands just south of the intersection of Highways 166 and 33, between New Cuyama and Ventucopa, as the car drives. It’s less than half an hour from the entrance to the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and there are trails off into the Los Padres National Forest in multiple directions.

The group originally intended to explore nearby attractions but opted to stay on property and chill out instead. “The landscape looked barren, like what you might find in the high desert — quiet and beautiful,” Flacks described dreamily, recollecting a peaceful state of mind. “It almost felt like camping on the moon, just completely away from everyone.” 

With so much going on in our day-to-day, his description of otherworldly campgrounds — and immaculately maintained outhouses — sounds idyllic. Far enough to feel like a getaway, but close enough to feel like home, these HipCamps offer just the ticket for off-the-grid adventure in a nearby paradise. 

Search for your next adventure on the Hipcamp website here.

Read all of the stories in this year’s Blue & Green issue, “From Big Waves to Tall Trees.”


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.