If you like the idea of camping, but don't like the idea of really camping, the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area now offers you an alternative.
No, not the Hilton. A yurt.
A yurt (pronounced YOORT) resembles a completely enclosed cabana. The three at Cachuma Lake, the first at any public campground in the state, are 14 to 16 feet in diameter and have platform bunkbeds that sleep up to six. Each is insulated and furnished with a small table, space heater and indoor lighting.
A redwood deck curves around the exterior of the yurt, which each feature a central skylight and mesh-screened windows built into fabric siding.
Outside each yurt is a picnic table, fire ring and water spigot. Restrooms and showers are close by. Cooking, smoking and pets are not allowed within the yurts.
Yurts can be reserved year-round and up to one year in advance. The rental fees vary from $30 to $50 per night based on size and season.
The Cachuma Lake Recreation Area, operated by Santa Barbara County Parks, is off Highway 154 between Santa Barbara and Solvang. Information: (805) 686-5050.