Camping is the ultimate getaway for those looking to escape the rigors of everyday life and rejuvenate themselves in nature. Some people like to sleep in a tent and cook over a campfire, while others prefer to enjoy the great outdoors without giving up creature comforts. If you fall for the latter camp, there is no better weekend than California glamping.
Glamping is an increasing trend lately. If you’re still not in the know, this is glamorous camping and the West Coast is a stellar place for it. Home to 840 miles of coastline, redwood forests, towering mountain ranges and austere desert landscapes, California glamping is the cream of the crop. Here, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite glamping experiences in the Golden State.
7 scenic California glamping destinations for luxury campers
1. Canyon El Capitan
Or: Santa Barbara
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Canyon El Capitan is home to 350 acres of hiking trails. Accommodation in the historic canyon includes cedar cabins, adventure yurts, and safari tents, so there is certainly something for everyone. Cedar cabins come in a variety of sizes and have private bathrooms and kitchenettes. Adventure yurts include a queen-size bed, a double trundle bed, and a basic kitchenette. The safari tents (12’x14 ‘) are furnished with a queen bed or two double beds. All sites have a private picnic table and fire pit, perfect for cooking meals or roasting s’mores under the stars.
Besides the hikes, El Capitan Canyon offers free cruise bike rentals, a pool, a full-service spa, market / deli, seasonal wine tasting, and a summer concert series, making it perfect for families. In addition to the canyon activities, a short bike ride will drop you off at El Cap, famous surf spot on the right.
2. The caravan pond
Or: Paso Robles
Located in the heart of Paso Robles, aka wine country, The caravan pond is located on a 130 acre organic vineyard. The central coast gem is home to five vintage trailers, but additional bell tents, Sioux tipis, and trailers can be added to accommodate larger groups. Dating from the 50s and 60s, each caravan is unique and features boutique decor. All include a double bed and a fully equipped kitchen. Although the trailers do not offer a private bathroom, there are two public baths on-site, with plumbing and shower.
When booking a stay at Trailer Pond, you will have full access to the property. Go for a hike, bird watch, stargazing, or picnic on the Sundowner Bridge. Wine tasting tours, vineyard massages, yoga, and private tastings are also available at an additional cost.
3. The Mendocino Grove
Located on the scenic Northern California Coast, The Mendocino Grove is a modern camping experience with a variety of luxury safari-style tents, ideal for couples or families. The pet-friendly destination is home to 37 acres of redwood forest overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are 60 luxury tents located on wooden platforms. Each has a heated bed, down duvets, woolen blankets and cotton sheets. Sit around a ring of fire or a picnic table for a drink under the stars. Unlike the traditional campsite, the campsite offers complete bathrooms with hot showers.
Mendocino Grove offers a number of common areas, guided nature hikes, yoga (for a small fee), and a collection of outdoor games, including bocce and horseshoes. The property is also a short walk from the village of Mendocino for easy access to hiking trails, beaches and nearby rivers.
4. Ventana Big Sur
Or: Big On
The sea, mountains and redwoods line up to Ventana Big Sur, creating a beautiful and tranquil outdoor environment. In Ventana, guests have the option of staying in a guesthouse at the resort, camping, or glamping. If you take the luxury route, choose to sleep under the redwoods or hike the canyon for glamping. The tents have a soft bed, electric blankets, electric lights, hand lanterns, power outlets and a s’mores kit. Each campsite also provides instant hot and cold drinking water, a wood-burning fireplace with free bundles of firewood, a cooler, Adirondack chairs, a picnic table and a welcome basket (plus s’mores, tea and a cutting board / cheese knife).
By booking a glampsite, guests get full access to the resort, which features a heated pool, infinity hot tub, Japanese hot tubs, fitness center, ocean view restaurant, and a happy hour in the evening. The adult dog-friendly destination includes daily guided hikes, yoga, and meditation. For those looking for a more unique experience, art classes, foraging treks, photography workshops, garden tours, and a falconry experience are available for an additional fee.
5. AutoCamp Yosemite
A short drive from the famous Yosemite National Park, AutoCamp Yosemite is located in Midpines, just outside the historic town of Mariposa. The largest of all AutoCamp properties, opt for converted Airstream trailers, classic cabins and luxury tents. Modern Airstream is what it’s most famous for: Suites include a queen-size bed with plush linens, full kitchens, flat-screen TVs, and spa-inspired private bathrooms. There is also a convertible sofa and a private deck with a fireplace and grill.
A family-friendly destination, the property features a clubhouse, community fire pit, outdoor games, freshwater pool, and free bikes. Daily YARTS shuttles are available to transport guests to Yosemite National Park, where they can spot towering rock faces and waterfalls.
6. Treebones Resort
Or: Big On
Located at the southern end of Big Sur, Treebones Resort sits atop a hill overlooking Highway 1, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific. Glamping offers a number of different accommodation options. The unique freestanding tents offer 500 square feet of indoor living space: a king bed with luxurious cotton linens, a gas fireplace, an en-suite bathroom, a private deck and an outdoor fireplace. The yurts have a more bohemian vibe with comfy beds and a deck overlooking the redwood with Adirondack chairs. The most unique accommodation is what is called the human nest (pictured above). The hand-woven structure was constructed by Big Sur artist Jayson Fann; relax in a futon or grill something on the outdoor kitchen station.
The resort welcomes families and offers easy access to nearby beaches and trails. For guests who wish to stay on the property, there is a pool / hot tub, yoga, hikes, and massages available for a fee.
7. Joshua Tree Acres
Or: Joshua tree
Located just outside the national park, Joshua Tree Acres is a desert oasis. The property is home to four Vintage Airstreams, a 1970s Shasta, and an original 1947 home. Of the four Vintage Airstreams, two have been completely gutted and remodeled to suit modern tastes; the other two have an original style with some updates for more comfort. The Vintage Airstreams and Shasta feature a luxurious Casper bed, as well as a private deck and swivel chairs. The JT Villager is an original 1947 house with retro, modern and local artistic touches. The one-bedroom house includes a queen-size bed, kitchen, and private hot tub.
Common areas on the property include a saltwater pool and hot tub. Plus, there’s a clubhouse where guests can come together to cook, relax, and listen to vintage vinyl. Joshua Tree National Park is a short drive away with plenty of hiking and climbing adventures.
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