WRITTEN BY Rachael Medina
Rachael Medina is the staff writer and content manager for California.com. She was born and raised just outside the Mojave Desert in Southern California and moved to the redwood forests of Humboldt C…See full bio
As communities across the world and in California mitigate health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are shifting our content focus and not encouraging any travel or social activities during this time. We will, however, continue to shine a light on and celebrate the many beautiful aspects of our State with the intention of being a source of inspiration and joy during this difficult period. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.
Tall trees stretch up toward the starry night sky while crickets chirp in the distance, lulling you to sleep as you cuddle up with a cozy blanket. In the morning, a hot cup of coffee accompanies the crisp, dewy air, and the whole world seems open to exploration from the deck of your very own glampgrounds. Indeed, there’s something magical about glamping (also known as luxury camping).
When the hustle and bustle of daily life becomes overwhelming, a burning desire to get away often settles in. This is when many of us must choose between treating ourselves to a luxurious five-star hotel stay or allowing ourselves to return to nature on a camping trip. While these two alternatives seemingly lie in opposition, the wonderful world of glamping allows us to experience the best of both without sacrifice.
Whether you seek a miniature cabin, a cozy yurt, or a furnished tent with many of the comforts of a hotel, the expansion of the luxury glamping industry allows us to enjoy an entire range of lodging opportunities.
With luxury camping on the rise, many campgrounds have increased their amenities in recent years, adding everything from electricity and Wi-Fi to bedding options and hyper-local meals to the price of the stay. And, in response to our society’s continued obsession with technology—and our ensuing desire to escape from it—many campsites across the state advertise the ability to unplug as an additional amenity.
Whether or not you forgo technology, these camping trips give you the unusual ability to step back and enjoy nature; to admire the Joshua trees that grow in only a handful of locations worldwide; to gaze upon the expanse of white sands that make up one of the country’s longest coastlines; to appreciate all of the biodiversity held within a single day’s travels; and to get away from the stresses of daily life.
This desire to reconnect with our natural surroundings is shaping the way we travel and leading many new campers to choose non-traditional camping accommodations throughout California.
California’s coastline offers a plethora of less-traditional camping options, from cozy cabins in Big Sur and treehouse glamping in Monterey to traditional glamping in Yosemite and luxury camping tents in Mendocino. These types of accommodations not only provide creative new adventures for avid travelers, but also offer alternatives to sleeping on the ground—making camping more accessible to a larger number of people. Here are a few of the best glamping destinations in the Golden State.
Glamping in Joshua Tree is a more approachable way to appreciate the desert landscape. While beautiful and adventurous, Joshua Tree National Park shows off plenty of extremes given its erratic weather, otherworldly sunsets, and groves of rare trees—leaving many to admire it from afar. But the creative camping options available in and around the park are set to change that for good.
Between sleeping in a dome, overnighting in an airstream, and going yurt glamping, there’s always another memory to be made in this Southern California national park.
Ventana Big Sur is perhaps the best-known glampsite in California. Comprised of both rustic-chic suites and fancy camping tents, this glamping resort is unlike any other. Once you set foot on the property, you’ll likely never want to leave; lounge on premium linens while charging your devices before another day of exploring, make s’mores around your wood-burning firepit, and enjoy nature from the comfort of your own private safari tent. This site is all but assured to change your perspective on the Golden State’s natural wonders as it illuminates the beauty of the great outdoors.
If you desire a bit more connection to the modern world, visit the nearby eateries and spa to unwind and indulge in the finer things in life. You’ll never think of camping the same again after glamping under the stars of Big Sur.
Mendocino Grove is so synonymous with glamping that it’s hard to think of one without the other. Platform tents sit between the woods and the ocean, creating an idyllic escape many have only dreamt of. Between the hammocks, bocce ball court, and barbecue grills, you’ll want for nothing here. Plus, the beachside glamping site boasts a convenient location over the river from downtown, making it a homey place to stay during any Mendocino getaway.
Get cozy at Sequoia High Sierra Camp to fully immerse yourself in Kings Canyon National Park. Here, the glamping tents are more akin to cabins, providing a spacious camping option for groups of up to four individuals. With two twin beds or one king-sized bed in each tent, hot-shower facilities, and three meals per day (including a mountain breakfast buffet; a picnic lunch you get to pack yourself; and a seasonal, five-course alfresco dinner), this hike-in glampsite is easy to fall for.
Don’t let the trek required to get there discourage you from going. The mile-long hike from the parking lot to the luxury tents helps guests connect with nature and appreciate the essence of roughing it—without actually having to worry about losing the creature comforts of home.
The temperate weather in California makes camping available and enjoyable nearly year-round, and the volume of campgrounds across the state means there’s no end to potential adventures. From glamping near Yosemite to spending the night in a yurt along the coast, nature is closer than you might think. But if you’re trying to stay local, backyard glamping is always a viable option. San Francisco’s Shelter Co. offers some of the best glamping tents for sale and rental, so grab your favorite California-made snacks, pack up your best outdoor gear, and prepare for a new adventure on your own property.
If you’ve been glamping in California, share your favorite destinations in the comments below.
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