The 14,400-acre seaside tract north of Santa Barbara, Calif. known as Hollister Ranch has been a ranch since the tail end of the 18th century, and was acquired by the Hollister family in 1869. In 1971, a developer subdivided the coveted property into 136 parcels, each measuring 100-acres. With 8.5 miles of pristine shared beach, a beach club complex, 24-hour security, a 500-head shared herd of cattle, and strict community guest policy make for a unique blend of celebrity-level privacy and rustic Old West ranching. The focus on limited access has made the gated community a villain to local surfers, who now boat in and anchor off the coast to access Hollister's legendary breaks. And yes, in case you were wondering, the Abercrombie & Fitch spinoff Hollister Co. takes its name from the ranch. That sounds like strike two for, er, real surfers. One way around all the access b.s. is to buy or rent a place, but you'll need to be a millionaire beach bum for that.
Offering spectacular canyon vistas and a rustic but luxurious pair of houses, Parcel 114 (top) is listed for $6.7M. The land includes more than 40 apricot trees, a rose garden, irrigation system, and countless old-growth oaks. The wood frame houses are accented with numerous stone fireplaces, outdoor showers, and hot tubs, while the "barn" has been turned over to a man cave-type entertaining space, complete with bar, pool table, and neon signs.
? With 105 acres under its umbrella, Parcel 129 is a surprisingly cheap alternative to 114. The spread is asking $1.85M, but includes more basic accommodations than the last place. There's just the one log house, but it still has elevated views of the Pacific and is just a short distance from the massive ranch's main gate.
? Given the spectacular coastline and the fact that only 30 of the ranch's lots lie on the waterfront, it's no wonder that Parcel 27 is listed as "price upon request." This desirable lot is coupled with a 4,300-square-foot Mediterranean-style manse that includes five bedrooms. In one of the ranch's more confusing eccentricities, only a 1/3 interest in the land is up for sale, but that interest includes exclusive use of the main house. Good luck finding a comp for that!
? In another strange Hollister Ranch twist, there are houses listed for rent, but according to the ranch's policy, only landowners and their guests are permitted on the property. Does that mean this casual two-story spread, Parcel 19, is off-limits to visitors? That'd be a shame, considering its glorious hillside views, huge wall of windows, and laid-back appeal.
? Lacking in decent exterior photography, the rental listing for Parcel 76 says it's available for either short- or long-term rental, though doesn't disclose a price. Yet another 100-acre lot, 76 has a substantial Mediterranean-style home with more of the not-so-rustic luxury features that might lure renters and those are on top of the 180° ocean views. Potential renters might not be so pleased with the interior design and would be well served by bringing their own furnishings.