Being able to sleep among the beauty of the great outdoors is an incredible experience, and of course, those s’mores aren’t so bad either. But for many, venturing out into the wilderness, pitching a tent and sleeping on the ground is just a little too rugged. That’s where glamping comes in, offering the ideal compromise as a more luxurious way of enjoying nature, along with the comforts of home. In California, these are some of the top spots for enjoying it.
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Located along the Central California coast in Big Sur, where the towering Santa Lucia Mountains are on one side and steep cliffs edged by crashing waves are on the other, Treebones Resort is an ideal place to connect with nature and enjoy plenty of luxuries. Choose from cliff-side yurts or the unique Human Nest and Twig Hut, an unusual piece of wood-art created and built by a local artist for overnight stays. You’ll be able to listen to the sounds of barking sea lions and owls at night in comfort and look forward to fabulous farm-to-table cuisine too. Nearby you can enjoy searching for treasures like jade along the shore and popular places like Sand Dollar Beach, Mill Creek, Willow Beach, Lime Kiln State Park and Pfeiffer Beach State Park, renowned for its gorgeous stretches of purple-hued sands.
Tucked among King Canyon National Park’s giant sequoias is this remote camp, a wilderness site with off-the-grid tent-cabins that provide an exceptional glamping experience that’s accessed via a one-mile hike. Glampers get three meals a day, including five-course dinners prepared by a gourmet chef. The canvas tents come with lavish rugs and cozy beds with wool blankets where you can look forward to breathtaking views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada just outside. After a hot breakfast, enjoy hikes to jewel-like alpine lakes or high summits with panoramic vistas of it all.
El Capitan Canyon offers luxury camping about 15 minutes north of Santa Barbara just steps from El Capitan State Beach. It’s hidden among 350 acres of rolling hills dotted with oak and sycamore trees, with accommodation in furnished cedar cabins, adventure yurts or canvas safari tents that sit atop raised wooden decks with screen windows and doors. All come with willow beds and down-style duvets along with western themed blankets. Camp on a Saturday evening, May through September, and you’ll get to enjoy a free night of music and dancing with live concerts hosted too.
The Trailer Pond, Paso Robles
Ever dreamed about owning your own vintage trailer? The Trailer Pond offers the opportunity to do just that, temporarily anyway, and it’s located right inside of a vineyard. The Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery in Paso Robles paired up with Tinker Tin Trailer Company to make it happen and hosts five retro trailers that sit among the vines. The 1950s and ’60s campers come with perks like fresh linens, towels, and a coffeemaker with local organic coffee.
Wellspring Ranch bills itself as a luxury B&B, but it offers a number of glamping options just a short distance from the coast and Cayucos State Beach. Here accommodations include lodging in an Airstream, high-end yurts or a 4,000-square-foot private straw-bale home. All are fully furnished and include fresh linens, memory foam beds and cozy fireplaces. Guests can also enjoy a wealth of activities, including organized hikes or head out on the hiking and biking trails on your own, yoga lessons with indoor and outdoor yoga facilities, picturesque picnic spots, massage, soaking in the hot tubs and even painting, with supplies available for novice artists.
This upscale campground near the beautiful beach town of Pescadero, famous for its elephant seals that inhabit Ano Nuevo State Park, comes with its own day spa. An eco-adventure resort, it hosts safari-style tents with four-poster beds as well as cabins and lodge rooms. The property includes Costanoa’s Cascade Bar and Grill which serves seasonal, locally sourced fare. Instead of hot dogs on the fire, you’ll get items like prawns and scallops with a balsamic beurre blanc here.
Safari West is a wildlife preserve that’s home to 900 animals, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles and wildebeests among other savanna creatures – and it’s available for overnight stays, allowing guests an African safari experience right in California. Join the safari tour during the day and then stay the night in a comfy canvas safari tent that was imported straight from Africa. You’ll be able to fall asleep to the sounds of wildlife in the distance for an experience you won’t soon forget.
Located in Mendocio’s coastal woodlands, Mendocino Grove hosts safari tents and retrofitted Airstreams that are surrounded by stunning beauty. Just beyond the fully-equipped canvas tents are miles and miles of scenic hikes that wind through the Redwood trees, and some of Northern California’s most spectacular beaches only a five-minute drive away. You’ll be able to cook up breakfast over the campfire and then head to the picturesque Victorian town itself for fine dining at dinner.
The Inn Town Campground offers traditional camping sites, RV hook-ups, retro RVs and glamping tents that come furnished with plush beds, electric blankets and vintage décor. In the camp store, you can pick up Sauvignon Blanc and gourmet marshmallows along with all your other favorite s’mores ingredients. The camp also includes a swimming pool, kitchen, BBQ area, television, foosball and a ping pong table.