Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, Buellton, CA – RV Park Review


Flying Flags RV Resort is one of the Highway West resorts, and its location in Santa Barbara wine country in Southern California put it in the ideal place for us to spend a week checking out the local cycling routes.  All in all, we enjoyed our time here.

The main entrance is well-maintained, and that’s pretty typical at Flying Flags.

There’s a lot to say about Flying Flags, so let’s start with the actual RV accommodations themselves.  The sites were level, and everything worked and was reasonably clean, but make no mistake about it, this is not camping… it’s an RV park.  As the weekend approached, the place started to fill up with big rigs, and we started to feel a little “dwarfed” in our Class B rig.  Everyone was very polite and all, but it’s just a weird feeling.

Thank goodness Lance is bright yellow or we might have lost him!

Our assigned space was definitely in the “cheap seats”, because there were some rigs that seemed like they were there permanently, like this one out our front window that I finally gave a proper name:

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the HMS “Garbage Scow”

I found the Garbage Scow puzzling when you consider the price.  This place was EXPENSIVE.  We were in the absolute cheapest accommodations they had.  And we paid over $400.00 for six nights.  I think there were different rates for weekday vs. weekend, but on average, that’s over $67 per night!  And that’s the cheapest they offer.  I couldn’t quite understand how someone who collects aluminum cans for a living could afford to stay there.

So yes, it was expensive, but you do get quite a bit for that rate.  The facilities are numerous and immaculately maintained.  For example, this is the laundry.

Every washer and dryer in this facility worked. Every. Single. One.

We had no problems keeping our cycling kits clean here, and even through the front desk warned us that the credit card readers on the machines could be finicky, I had no problems at all using them.  The restroom and shower facilities were equally nice.

We mainly used the showers in a newer shower house that was just being finished.

But while laundry and showers are things you can find at pretty much any RV park, Flying Flags offered a number of amenities that went above and beyond.  For example, there was this exercise room:

I had to wonder about the cardio machines… why not just jog outside?  It’s Southern California!

It’s great to see more and more RV parks offering exercise facilities.  We hope the trend continues.  Besides the exercise room, there were plenty of other facilities available at Flying Flags.  There was this really nice pool with super-swanky cabanas that we didn’t use because we hadn’t brought any swimwear:

There was also a really cool playground that Stef said I wasn’t allowed to play in because we hadn’t brought any children:

Apparently, I no longer pass for 12.

And a pretty nice off-leash dog park that we couldn’t use because we hadn’t brought any dogs:

I thought about bringing our cat, Mel, here, but I decided I liked my face in one piece.

There was also an on-site restaurant with outdoor seating.  It looked really nice, but we didn’t try it because there were so many other restaurants within walking distance to try!

Normally, we’d be all over an amenity like this, but there were just too many other options.

And now would be a good time to talk about the location and fitness opportunities.  This is probably the biggest single thing that Flying Flags has going for it.  It sits just a hundred yards from the main intersection in Buellton, CA, with a plethora of restaurants within walking distance, as well as a couple markets.  That’s pretty fantastic – we don’t have a tow vehicle and we never once wished for one.

But the other thing the location has going for it is the proximity to a lot of fantastic cycling.  Stef and I rode pretty much every day and we didn’t repeat the same route once while we were there.  Since the area is so popular with cyclists, the route descriptions are easy to find, which is a big deal if you’re coming in from out of town.  You don’t need to be a local to find the good riding.  Just google up “Amgen Tour of California Solvang Time Trial”, for example, and BAM… there’s a map of your route.  Since this was so easy to navigate, I’m giving this place perfect marks for fitness opportunities.

This looks like a painting to me.

So all in all, yes, Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton is expensive.  But also yes, we would stay there again.  It really did make a solid base camp for the week of So Cal riding and the whole trip went off well.  If you’re looking to get away for a week of riding, you might want to point your RV to Buellton.

Reviews

  • Fitness Opportunities - 100%
  • Facilities - 90%
  • Value - 50%
  • Total Score 80%

Pros:  Numerous and immaculate facilities.  Proximity to excellent cycling.  Located within walking distance to lots of restaurants and shops.

Cons:  Mainly, the price.  Also, the permanent residents in the park drag the feel of it down - which is inconsistent with the premium price and amenities.



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    10 thoughts on “Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, Buellton, CA – RV Park Review

    1. Mike

      “…we started to feel a little “dwarfed” in our Class B rig. Everyone was very polite and all, but it’s just a weird feeling.”

      That’s how we felt when we pulled into our now-favorite RV place the first time with our pop-up trailer; surrounded by coaches, Class A’s, and fifth wheels 🙂 A 19′ pop-up with king and queen pullouts, housing two adults, two kids, and a German Shepherd – but still dwarfed by the rest!

      We had a theory then that was seemingly confirmed by observations: the larger the rig, the smaller the dog… LOL!

      We now have a mid-sized travel trailer and still admire the big rigs, but don’t have the funds nor the storage space for such a beast. Perhaps when we retire we might downsize the house and upsize the trailer, and spend more time traveling.

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Long live the small rigs!!
        (Although we bust your pet theory – since we only travel with a cat…)

        Reply
    2. Eric Swenson

      We left the RV world last month. Sold our 1 year old ERA 170a knowing we would lose 15k.
      Not that we did not ever have some good experiences, but our expectations were just to high. When people ask me now why we quit, I say that if I want the RV experience, I can just stay overnight in a Wallmart parking lot.
      Just our experiences with noise and inconsidetate RVers . But as I said, maybe just expecting something much different.
      By by rv world.
      Eric Swenson

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        We’ve certainly had our share of bad experiences, too. We try not to dwell on them.
        Sorry to see you go!

        Reply
    3. Eric

      Between FF and Mallorca that’s twice with no swimwear. Add it to your list. Hope you rode Foxen Canyon, the best stretch in the Solvang Century.

      Reply
      1. Stefany

        LOL!!! And guess what I was just online shopping for when your comment came in; SWIMWEAR!!! You’re clearly a mind-reader. Not sure if we did Foxen; will have to check. If not, I’m adding it to our list for next time!

        Reply
    4. Rob Woods

      I have stayed here as well, I like the location and how clean it is, although it is pricey but not much difference than the others along our coast. It seems to attract the bigger RVs which made me feel small as well. I will be staying here in June to do a bike ride camp in Los Olivos with Carmichael training systems, you can beat the location for bike riding or wine tasting!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        CTS does a camp there? Interesting!
        (Maybe next time I’ll try to copy some of their routes…)

        Reply
    5. MB

      Here’s a little bit of back story on those old rigs. We have spent every April at Flying Flags(FF) for the last 8 years – we too love the cycling.
      Before Highway West bought the property the area you refer to with the 3 or 4 olds rigs was populated by permanent residents – these permanent residents were our friends and they pretty much all worked for FF. Front desk, maintenance, night watch(which is gone now) we loved the fact that the night watch were on duty all night taking care of what ever may occur.
      FF in the old days was family orientated. There were no outdoor speakers blaring on the rigs, it was like a community.

      We loved it time and time again. As Highway West took hold we could see the writing on the wall.

      Last year Highway West raised the rents on the permanent residents till it was cost prohibitive and most had 30 days to move. This year when we drove in our hearts sank! Where was everyone – where were our friends?

      You may have noticed the airstream in the corner with fencing for her dogs and a ton of stuff. That resident is in her 70’s she had hip surgery and as soon as she can walk she’s evicted. Highway West is counting the days. The other rigs you refer to are the few that survived the firings and cuts and still work for FF. Can you tell you’ve really hit a sore spot?

      Things are not always as they seem. Now it’s all big rigs from LA. The flavor has changed soooo much I can’t tell you how bad weekends are now. It’s all about my rigs bigger than yours.

      Highway West is a corporation and they are buying all the mom and pops across the country. I wish I could say that’s a good thing. They miss the point – hire a local and you’ll get more bang for your buck!

      Sorry for the rant – you don’t need to publish this I just wanted to straighten things out a bit. We love rv parks with a few locals they make our stay a bit more interesting and lively and personal.

      We will return to FF for the cycling and we’ve found our friends but I still miss Bubba not sure what happened to him. He was a magnificent Bassett.

      Thanks a bunch
      MB & Jim

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Hey, no worries. Of course we’ll publish it.
        We should have suspected there was some back story to the place. Those few rigs didn’t really seem to “go” with the flavor they’re going for there.
        I wondered how anyone could afford to be a permanent resident with the prices they were charging.
        That said – all those amenities do require $$ to develop and upkeep. So I guess there’s good and bad with any kind of change.
        Also, we had a Bassett hound when I was a kid. Haven’t thought of her in a while. 🙂

        Reply

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