Take the Family Glamping in Buellton, California

rv camper 2170

So, what is glamping? Glamping is like camping—but not. Combining the words glamorous and camping, glamping includes amenities and comforts of home (beds, electricity, indoor plumbing). None of this sleeping-on-the-ground stuff. Not that sleeping on the ground is bad; everyone should do it at least once!

Just north of Santa Barbara, in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, is the small town of Buellton, California. Perhaps you know Buellton as the “home of the split pea” as it’s impossible to travel Highway 101 without seeing billboards announcing Pea Soup Andersen’s. What you may not know is there’s a mecca of awesomeness for outdoor play enthusiasts hidden behind the trees: Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground.

rv kitchen and cabin 2170
Inside view of an airstream trailer; outside view of a surf cabin.


FLYING FLAGS RV RESORT

Well worth the five-hour drive from San Diego, Flying Flags offers a variety of unique, fun glamping options: luxurious safari tents, renovated vintage airstream trailers, and adorable furnished cottages and cabins. Plus, everyone receives freshly baked cookies at check-in (as if we needed more convincing). The surf-themed cabins have kid-sized bunk beds, in addition to a full-sized futon and queen bed. There are even teardrop trailers in an area affectionately dubbed “Canned Ham Village,” perfect for parent/child bonding as they only sleep two.

tent interior 2170
Inside view of a safari tent.

For the ultimate glamping experience, we stayed in Safari Village, which consists of nine safari tents and six shared bathrooms (each with a private sink, toilet and shower). Safari tents feature very comfortable beds, air conditioners (heaters, if needed), a couch, TV, microwave, refrigerator, outdoor kitchen, covered patio table, and all dishes and kitchenware needed for cooking! Glamping in safari tents is amazing—a tenting experience I can get into.

During the day at Flying Flags, kids ride bikes and scooters (brought from home) through the pet-friendly, beautifully maintained property, swim in one of two resort-style swimming pools, challenge friends to bocce ball and horseshoes, and play on the playground. At night, families sit under the stars and roast marshmallows over a fire pit (many sites have their own).

If you don’t feel like cooking, grab a meal at the onsite Campfire Café or have a gourmet sausage from the Santa Ynez Sausage Co. airstream trailer—a cute venue to grab a delicious lunch and enjoy at surrounding picnic tables. Don’t miss the Flying Flags barbecue every Friday night (first come, first served), featuring tri-tip, ribs, chicken, a variety of rotating side dishes and dessert. Eat around the campfire or take dinner back to your cabin, safari tent or RV.

There’s no real need to leave the Flying Flags property, but there are fun things to do in the area that families love!


THINGS TO DO in BUELLTON

dragster 2170

Mendenhall Museum 

I wasn’t an automobile memorabilia enthusiast until I became an “American Pickers” junkie a few years ago. The thought of checking out antique gasoline pumps and porcelain road signs just like Mike and Frank on TV was exciting to my whole family. The Mendenhall Museum is literally a hidden gem—located behind an unassuming alley fence. As soon as you walk through the gate, the fascinating display—one of the largest petroliana collections on the West Coast—is a colorful feast for the eyes! Every inch is covered with cool antiques, vehicles, gas station and car memorabilia, and more. Started over 50 years ago by the late Jack Mendenhall, the collection is now maintained by his son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Vickie Mendenhall, who live on the property. Even if you’re just passing through the Central Coast on Highway 101, it’s worth a stop. Reservations required—no group is too small.

bike ride countryside 2170

Tour Santa Ynez Valley by Bike
Don’t even think about going to Buellton without exploring the backroads of the Santa Ynez Valley (even if you drive). Absolutely gorgeous! The best way to do tour the area is via electric bike. Not only are electric bikes super fun, but they make navigating hills more manageable. Pedal when you want, use electricity when necessary—it’s the best of both worlds while enjoying fresh air and stunning landscapes. As our family cruised around, we happened upon a family of bison—definitely a highlight of our trip.

Pedego Electric Bikes  is located in Los Olivos (about 10-15 mins. from Buellton). The electric bikes go up to 20 mph; therefore, you must be at least 16 years old to ride them. Helmets are provided.

Wheel Fun Rentals is a good option for families who have young kids—or who prefer to rent traditional bikes, tandem bikes or surreys.

ostrich farm 2170

OstrichLand USA  

Have you ever fed an ostrich or emu? OstrichLand USA offers a unique experience that kids and adults will never forget. It’s a great stop for families and provides fun photo ops. Located just minutes from Flying Flags RV Resort.

Visit Solvang
Find Danish bakeries, boutique shops and Old Mission Santa Inés in the charming town of Solvang (10 mins. east of Buellton). Be sure to taste aebleskivers while you’re there—delicious balls of pancake goodness traditionally eaten with raspberry jam and powdered sugar. Yum!

Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch

Quicksilver Miniature Horse Ranch in Solvang (typically open Monday-Saturday from 10am-3pm) is a fun, free stop. Who wouldn’t want to visit adorable miniature horses? Get up-to-date information on their Facebook page.


WHERE TO EAT in BUELLTON


Pea Soup Andersen’s  

376 Avenue of the Flags

Feeling nostalgic? Stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s for lunch (even if you don’t like peas)—there are burgers, sandwiches and more on the menu. Don’t miss the highlights of Buellton’s history upstairs.

Ellen’s Danish Pancake House
272 Avenue of the Flags
A local favorite for breakfast especially, you can’t go wrong with Ellen’s. Plus, breakfast is served all day. Woot!

Industrial Eats 
181 Industrial Way
Very popular with locals, Industrial Eats offers artisan meats, wood-fired pizzas and unique eats. Order at the counter and be prepared to share a table, as seating is limited. There may be a big wait during the busiest times, but it doesn’t deter locals from having a drink and socializing with “new friends” in the interim.

Bottlest Winery Bar & Bistro
Unfortunately, this restaurant is now permanently closed. Got a couple hours without kids? Bottlest Winery is a nice place to stop for wine and appetizers. Experience the “wine wall” where 52 wines are “on tap” for tastings, half or full glasses. Bottlest also offers online participants (ages 21+) the chance to be a winemaker. Craft a custom wine based on personal preferences and design a label.

Learn more about visiting Buellton at www.discoverbuellton.com/trip-planner.html.

....

Lisa Gipson is the managing editor of San Diego Family Magazine. After years of tent camping, she’s ready to trade in her sleeping bag for a comfy bed. Glamping is the way to go!  Photos courtesy of Lisa Gipson or Buellton Visitors Bureau.

....

All Aboard! Where to Ride the Rails in California

All Aboard! Where to Ride the Rails in California

Experiencing both the Skunk Train and world-famous Rail Bikes in Mendocino County inspired me to explore what other fun railways exist in California. Thanks to tips from train-fanatic friends, I found . . .

Read more

Road Trip Bingo

Road Trip Bingo

Planning to take a road trip with kids or be in the car for an extended period of time? Schedule a break from screens with this fun game that encourages kids to look out the car window and discover th . . .

Read more

Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Visit Bryce Canyon National Park

Breathtaking Bryce Canyon National Park offers one of the planet’s most surreal landscapes. Within the park’s 56 square miles, the geological forces of weather and erosion have carved intense sa . . .

Read more

Family Fun in Lake Arrowhead

Family Fun in Lake Arrowhead

Escape to Lake Arrowhead, nestled in the tree-covered mountains of San Bernardino National Forest, for a relaxing getaway immersed in nature and outdoor fun. It takes just a couple hours to drive fr . . .

Read more

Visiting the Mendocino Coast with Kids

Visiting the Mendocino Coast with Kids

When I was a kid, my parents went to the coastal town of Mendocino to take a break from—well, me. So, I always assumed there was nothing to do there with kids. Boy, was I wrong. The Mendocino Coas . . .

Read more

Discover California National Parks

Discover California National Parks

These national parks in Southern and Central California are within a day’s drive of San Diego.Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a visit to one (or more) of these sc . . .

Read more

Visit Zion National Park in Utah

Visit Zion National Park in Utah

Photo by Lisa Pawlak Breathtaking, colorful Zion National Park embraces towering cliffs, glimmering waterfalls, emerald-green pools, blue skies, red sandstone river canyons and massive multihued rock . . .

Read more

Family Camping Fun: Activities, Recipes and Ideas

Family Camping Fun: Activities, Recipes and Ideas

  Grab your camping gear and get ready for a great outdoor adventure (even if it's only in the backyard). Here are activities, crafts, recipes and tips that make fabulous family camping me . . .

Read more

Six Snow Play Destinations

Six Snow Play Destinations

photo credit- Big Bear Mountain Resort Ready to play in the snow? The whole family can enjoy a snowy, active vacation with adventures like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow tubing, ice skating, sn . . .

Read more

Camping Scavenger Hunt

Camping Scavenger Hunt

Camping Scavenger Hunt If your family is planning a camping trip to a campground, national park or other outdoor destination, be sure to take along our free, printable Camping Scavenger Hunt! Print . . .

Read more

SoCal’s Best Beach Camping

SoCal’s Best Beach Camping

Southern California beaches are a popular destination year round, so why not spend a few days at a beachfront or bayfront campground? “Southern California has some of the best ocean-front campgro . . .

Read more

Family Road Trip: 6 Fun Stops Along California's Central Coast

Family Road Trip: 6 Fun Stops Along California's Central Coast

The secret is out: San Diego is amazing. In fact, it’s a top U.S. vacation destination. So while the rest of the country is descending upon San Diego this summer, consider venturing away from the . . .

Read more

Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Bay Area

Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Bay Area

Planning a road trip to the San Francisco Bay Area? Here are five kid-friendly stops from Gilroy (south of San Francisco) to Fairfield (north of San Francisco). Each super fun spot will entertain, e . . .

Read more

Take the Family Glamping in Buellton, California

Take the Family Glamping in Buellton, California

So, what is glamping? Glamping is like camping—but not. Combining the words glamorous and camping, glamping includes amenities and comforts of home (beds, electricity, indoor plumbing). None of th . . .

Read more

Family Travel to Arches National Park

Family Travel to Arches National Park

Arches National Park, located in southeast Utah, offers an abundance of geological wonders waiting to be discovered by visiting families. The park’s scenic, red rock landscape is home to more than . . .

Read more

Best Family Camping in San Diego

Best Family Camping in San Diego

Ready to embark on a San Diego family camping adventure? Help your kids experience the great outdoors at one of the many family campgrounds in San Diego County! First-time campers? Consider pra . . .

Read more

Get started with RV Camping

Get started with RV Camping

Take Your Family on the Road, RV Style! During a recent email session with an old friend about our summer plans, I mentioned that our family planned on taking our annual four-week road trip in our . . .

Read more

Get to Know Lake Gregory in Crestline, CA

Get to Know Lake Gregory in Crestline, CA

I had never even heard of Lake Gregory in California’s San Bernardino Mountains until a couple months ago. But now the secret is out! Bustling with fun lake activities for families, it’s a perfe . . .

Read more

Plan a Family Adventure to Catalina Island

Plan a Family Adventure to Catalina Island

What do wild bison, an awesome zipline, a casino and walking on the ocean floor have in common? Catalina Island, of course.Looking for a fun family day or weekend trip? I’ll let you in on a little . . .

Read more

Insider's Tips when Visiting Catalina

Insider's Tips when Visiting Catalina

Here are helpful insider’s tips you won’t find anywhere else. Things I didn’t know until I got to Catalina. They could make your visit to the island a little sweeter.If you haven’t read the . . .

Read more

Ski Mammoth Mountain

Ski Mammoth Mountain

Take the kids to “shred some pow” at Mammoth Mountain, one of California’s premier winter sports recreational resorts. Families wanting a fun, wintery escape will fulfill mammoth-sized dreams . . .

Read more

Make Traveling with Kids a Lifelong Adventure

Make Traveling with Kids a Lifelong Adventure

Travel is loaded with benefits for families. It awakens curiosity and helps kids and parents feel more at home in the world while creating strong bonds and lasting memories. As kids grow, the fun of . . .

Read more

Winter Family Fun in Big Bear

Winter Family Fun in Big Bear

Ready to take your family on a winter getaway close to San Diego? Head to the mountains for a fun-filled winter vacation at Big Bear. Winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and . . .

Read more

11 Kid-Friendly Adventures on Oahu

11 Kid-Friendly Adventures on Oahu

Taking a family vacation to the island of Oahu? Sure, you’ll lounge on the beach, build sandcastles and play in the water; but why not dig a little deeper into the culture, traditions and excitement . . .

Read more

Family Getaways in Southern California

Family Getaways in Southern California

Southern California resorts and hotels that families love! Looking for a family getaway where there’s relaxation for adults and fun for the kids? These SoCal resorts offer plenty of amenities . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!