About Speakeasy Lodge
This Lodge, made by hand using the local indigenous materials, sits 300 feet above & overlooks the valley floor of Cuyama. A large fire ring is just off the porch looking across the valley where the sun sets into the Pacific behind the Los Padres mountains. The BBQ area is covered and provides a good working area for the chefs in your group.
- Listing type: Private
- No. of sites: 1
- Accessible by: Drive
- Accommodation: Cabins & Lodging
- Check in after: 2PM
- Check out before: 12PM
- Cancellation policy: Moderate
- On arrival: Go straight to camp
- Minimum nights: 2
- Accepts bookings: 12 months out
- Response time: Within 6 hours
- Response rate: 100%
The vibe at Speakeasy Lodge
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Quite possibly the best family camping trip ever. The location is really quite perfect for large groups. We had 5 families (about 22 people) all kids in 1st grade. The area is huge and flat and on a high ridge, and best of all the location stands by itself -- no campsites anywhere near us (benefits of private land vs. national/state parks). The amenities are excellent. The lodge itself handles 15+ people on pads in sleeping bags with no problem. Most of the kids did a slumber party type thing inside while parents slept in tents scattered around the flat land outside (I slept on a pad under the stars both nights, it was amazing). There is potable water spigots all over the land. The bathroom is inside, rustic, but good. There is an outhouse also, nice but stinky as expected. There is plenty of hiking around. You can get to the top of a few peaks in an hour or two depending on your pace. All of the land has small shrubs so it's easy to trailblaze too.
One of the coolest things was that the main lodge is on a large plain, so you have a lot of flat area to play outdoor type games. I had a dream of playing kick the can and capture the flag like when i was 7 or 8 years old back in Connecticut. All these years, great memories of those games, but never had the crew or the space to do it right. Well, this is the spot. It's flat and big, but also has lots of shrubbery (3-10' high) for coverage, so it's not like playing on a big soccer field where there is little strategy. All the kids and parents played, and everyone got into it big time. It was a highlight for me.
Now, the cooking. Usually campsites have a fire pit and/or a small grill. You've got your propane stove and all that. But Speakeasy is different. They have a massive grill (you see the pics in the listing). It's split between two adjustable height grill plates and a huge basin for logs and charcoal. We cooked up a storm. I will say it takes a good 1-2 hours to get the grill going b/c you need a fair amount of wood to get coverage on the cooking area. But after the smoke dies down and you've got a smoldering fire, man, the grill rules. We figured out the second day to just keep the grill going throughout so we could just add logs when it was cooking time. Ribs, tri-tip, beans and fixings the first night. Griddle blueberry pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit and more for breakfast. Hamburgers and hotdogs and leftovers from night 1 on the second night. We crushed it.
S'mores of course.
One other cool thing. I had wanted to introduce the kids to model rocketry and this trip served as a great spot to do it. We found a great flat area about 1/2 a mile up the ridge to launch. But it was windy so I was concerned with the rocket getting carried away with the parachute.... it did. We lost track of it sailing away maybe 1-2 miles across the canyon. When I originally asked the owner if we could launch rockets from there he said "great idea, I know the kids have lost more than a few in the decades past". He was right. But it still was fun to watch it sail off into the distance.
All-in-all it was a killer trip. I expect we'll hit Speakeasy up again, but I'm sold on the group trips. Keeping kids happy when there are 10+ of them is so much easier. This left much more time for the adults to enjoy themselves. Awesome time.
Need a place to escape? Speakeasy may be the perfect place for your group. It was for ours! It's an easy drive from Los Angeles, and you will surely feel yourself drift off into the quiet of the badlands.
Why we loved it?
- Flexible sleeping options: Pitch tents around the lodge for privacy and the traditional camping experience or throw a cozy slumber party inside using the sleeping mats provided. The lodge was our home base for the weekend. We were able to fit 12 adults (could have fit more) very comfortably inside one night when it rained.
-Amenities: There is running water, electricity, kitchen (w/ fridge/freezer, oven/stove, pots/pans, utensils, cookware, bar), bathroom (with cold shower), and a wood-burning fireplace. You can choose how glampy or campy you want to be!
-Amazing Host: Jim and his dogs are absolutely wonderful. Don't be surprised when his dog Jill visits with her pine cone to play fetch with.
-Space: Plenty of picnic benches and places to sit. No need to bring extra unless you have 20 people. Great for outdoor games like corn-hole, multiple firepits, easy walking trails, etc.
-Firewood: This is a HUGE perk. Chopped firewood is complimentary during your stay. If you've ever been camping before you know how much this can cost...and it adds up so FREE firewood was amazing.
A few tips:
1. Try to arrive during the DAY. Most of us got there before dark, but my brother came up at night, and it can seem almost impossible to find. You can stop at the house on the left on the main drag and Jim will guide you up the hill, but this is MUCH easier to do in daylight.
2. Limited cell reception (for most providers). I have AT&T and had a good signal, but for many others, once you turn onto the main road, you're signal is toast. If you are taking multiple cars to the lodge, it's a good idea to give your other guests driving separately the host's information in case they have trouble finding it because you will not be able to communicate much once your up that hill.
3. This goes without saying, but bring all the food, beer, and stuff you'll need for the weekend. There isn't a convenient store (which is a good thing) or camp shop nearby, just some local stores and a Kmart in the surrounding area. Pack your coolers full.
4. You may have a feral cat visit at night in the back room. He won't hurt you, he seems to stay in the ceiling area, and no you're not crazy, you really heard a bellowing meow. The first night, we were a little surprised and thought an animal got in the house from outside. Once you know who it is (we named him Leopold), then rest easy. I think he just gets nervous when the wind howls and he will definitely let you know he's scared.
We don't really have any negatives to say about the place. If you're looking for mountains, streams, trees, etc. this may not be your hipcamp spot. However, the view of the Los Padres Mountains, palpable sunsets, whimsical starry nights, and the memories you will make with your friends and family at Speakeasy all the more make up for any shortcoming. We will be back! :)
This was a wonderful glamping experience! It was perfect for a group of 15, and would be good for larger. Beautiful views, and the space itself was amazing. The grill is huge and we were able to cook up a feast. Bathroom on site in the lodge, along with a stove, small fridge, and pots and pans. Our host Jim also provided all the firewood. Most of us camped in tents, but there's space to sleep inside the lodge and also access to about 20 sleeping pads. Our group had three dogs, and then the owner's dog hung with us the whole time and played fetch, which was great. There's also plenty of hiking trails straight from the camp, and we discovered an abandoned tree house. Lots of stars at night. Will definitely be back here!
The landowner Jim and his dog Jill were probably the highlights of our weekend. What a friendly, hilarious pair. We had a great time! We were a little underprepared, but thankfully the shelter had a small stove we could use and a couple pots, and Jim brought us some paper plates and silverware. :) The area is super beautiful. During the day, we'd just go on drives and stop at random points and explore. Simply gorgeous.
Spent 4th of July weekend at the lodge with 7 others + 2 dogs. Great desert lodge vibes: cacti, dung beetles, stars, camp fires, rustic grill, coyote yips. The dogs that came with the ranch, Jill and Gypsy, were the best! They hung out with us for all 3 nights and now I miss those girls. Jim was super accommodating and easy to communicate with. The location is perfect being relatively close to Los Padres National Park and Ojai. It's far enough away from everything to deliver the perfect starry night sky. 10/10 would for sure stay again.
Jim was a fantastic host! very friendly, accommodating, and quick to respond
- provided great directions to lodge site (BONUS: friendly dog who led the way & loved to play fetch!)
- left side lights & dining table light on for us until 10PM
- always answered when contacted via phone
- answers questions quickly
- checked up on us daily & didn't intrude our space
Lodge is great for groups of people & lots of activities!
- HUGE, beautiful, fun grill we used to cook almost every meal
- wood & lighter fluid included
- lots of open space (we set up 3 tents & one huge truck in front)
- room to play slosh ball, corn hole, set up a collapsing table
- working toilet (helped a lot with 13 people at the site)
- all utilities available in kitchen
- salt, pepper, foil, toilet paper, plastic utensils were all included at lodge
- spacious inside! huge dining table & we fit 2 air mattresses for those who were cold
- dog friendly
Only improvement I can recommend is to provide warm water (cold water available only), but who showers during a camping trip anyway? :b
friends & I will return & would recommend to anyone interested in a fun, quiet, secluded, camping trip!
The Speakeasy Lodge is an incredible and totally unique property that can be the blank canvas for any of your outdoor group events. The lodge looks like it was plucked out of the old west and has amazing features like the cowboy grill that can cook huge meals in rustic fashion. Jim the owner is one of the coolest guys you will ever meet! Jill and Gypsy the ranch dogs greeted us when we arrived and hung out with us the entire weekend. An absolute pleasure from start to finish! The best group camp I have ever rented!
The Speakeasy Lodge couldn't have been a more perfect fit for what we were seeking for a long weekend of camping. We wanted nature, epic views, quiet space, fires, the moon and stars and we got all of that and more. Our group of 11 ladies all slept slumber party style in the lodge itself and had a great time, stayed cozy with the fireplace roaring all night (given it was mid-February) and slept comfortably on the sleeping pads that were provided inside the lodge. We loved having the ranch dogs keeping us company throughout the days sometimes and often hanging out protecting the lodge by night, it seemed! We wanted a full on, off-grid glamping experience and the Speakeasy Lodge couldn't have been a more perfect fit for us. We had an amazing time and Jim was very kind and beyond accommodating. We would absolutely come back another time!
Speakeasy Lodge is THE place. Honestly, beautiful adobe casa, HUGE bbq, soaring views, and plenty of space to adventure; Cuyama Badlands is my favorite. Jim is the best host you can possibly ask for, and there really is no way you can go just once. Jim and his son have given an incredible amount of thought and care into their land and the camping experience. I cannot recommend Speakeasy enough and yearn for the day we come back :)
What an amazing trip! We really enjoyed our stay at the site. I particularly enjoyed the large BBQ pit but the proper kitchen and bathroom were also a huge luxury compared to your average camping trip. Perfect for a large group we had ample room to spread our tents and came together in the common area for meals and fun.
For a day trip I highly recommend heading over to Reyes Creek Campground. The kids played in the creek while a couple dads caught some trout.
We had a fantastic time at Speakeasy Lodge! Family, friends, kiddos, and pups had a great time enjoying the campsite; particularly the outdoor kitchen (with an amazing grill, a sink and plenty of prep space!) and the soaking tub. The lodge itself was so charming and stayed cool, even when outdoor temps hit the mid-90's. The small fridge/freezer was not sufficient to hold enough food for our stay, so we were glad we brought some giant coolers, and went for ice runs each day to keep things fresh. Jim was a gracious host, providing additional firewood and emptying trash bins as needed, and turning on the pump for part of the day so we could have access to AC-electricity to charge speakers and phones. We enjoyed the trails surrounding the campsite for incredible sunset walks, and star gazing around the firepit. Plenty of picnic tables for our large group, too! We enjoyed day trips to "The Place" for pie, Rose Valley Falls for an easy waterfall hike with the kids, and wine tasting in Ojai. We will definitely be back, thank you Jim for such a memorable holiday!
The Speakeaay Lodge was awesome.
We went with 4 families who all have kids under 4yrs. I was worried about the heat but because it's on a ridge there was a constant breeze which was lovely. Jim also filled up his galvaized circular 8ft x2ft pool thing which everyone loved, especially the kids. The view, sunsets and star gazing were amazing. Great facilities, grill, shaded areas with tables. We all brought tents but ended up sleeping inside the lodge. There is a small room where all the kids slept and the adults slept in the main area. We will definitely be back soon. Great spot.
Jim is an amazing host and this place is a little gem on the other side of the Los Padres National Forest. He is a friendly guy and really cares about hospitality. I took a youth group full of middle and high school students as well as adult leaders. We stayed there 2 nights in July. While it was hot, Jim filled up a die trough so that we could cool down in.
The camp is set in a great location... you're pretty much by yourself - its quiet. You won't hear your neighbors sneezing or the hum of generators. There's a huge (and I mean huge) outdoor charcoal/wood grill and sink, firewood is included which is a big plus. The view of the stars at night is breathtaking. They aren't drowned out by city lights, and did I mention it's quiet?
The lodge itself is a great place to eat, cook, clean, and store food. Plus, there's a huge American flag hanging up. There is a couch and a couple of picnic tables to eat on. With all the windows and doors open you get a nice breeze to cool down the place. While it was hot outside, it was rather comfortable hanging out in the lodge.
This is a great place to get away, and I would love to come again in any of the other seasons. Thanks for a great experience at the Speakeasy Lodge Jim!
This was glamping and we loved it! Having a shower, flushing toilet, running water, and working kitchen made the experience a lot more comfortable than traditional camping. We were a group of 15 humans and 6 dogs. The weekend we booked was when all of California was experiencing a heatwave. Jim helped us setup a gigantic metal tub with water to alleviate the heat. He also allowed us to hang our mister on one of the pergolas.
We had half sleep in the lodge, slumber party style, and half set up tents around the huge property. Space and privacy wasn't an issue. We cooked all meals on the gigantic grill and used the smoker to smoke meats and cheese. We had feasts for all our meals! The kitchen had a small fridge, working stove, sink, and some utensils and pots/pans. We didn't know what was available so we brought all our own cooking supplies and supplemented with what was available in the kitchen. Bring your own coolers and ice. The fridge is tiny and isn't very cold.
Jim's dogs, Jill and Gypsy, will visit and hang out. They are super sweet and adorable. Jill will want to play fetch ALL THE TIME!
Plenty of firewood is available at no extra cost and they are good hard burning wood. This was much appreciated as buying and hauling wood to a campsite is not economical or convenient. We used wood for the grill and the firepit.
There are small benches around the firepit, but bring folding/camping chairs.
Bring outdoor games: cornhole, ladder toss, giant jenga, etc.
Electricity is only available a couple hours a day in the evening when Jim is using it to pump water. But you're glamping, so put away those phones. And if you really need your phone, there is some cell service at the lodge.
Jim is very responsive and helpful with answering all questions. He came up to check on us once and left us alone the whole weekend.