Have you been dreaming about going glamping in California?
California is all about outdoor adventures. From hiking, climbing, surfing and kayaking, to name a few, to the more chilled out activities, like soaking in some hot springs, or taking a picnic in one of the many national parks in California.
If you are a lover of the outdoor lifestyle, but you still enjoy some of life’s luxuries while on vacation, glamping is the perfect option.
At Unique Sleeps we love to gather together the unique and the magical. And as you will see, this list of the best glamping spots in California most definitely ticks those boxes.
Related: What is glamping?
1. The Trailer Pond
Image by The Trailer Pond, Paso Robles, California
If you are looking for an adult only glamping spot in California, The Trailer Pond, a 10 minute drive from Paso Robles, is a perfect choice.
The private camp is located on a 130-acre organically farmed Alta Colina Vineyard, making it an ideal base to experience a wine country vacation, having the local hikes, views and of course wine tasting.
The Trailer Pond is a unique adventure, providing the opportunity to experience a snapshot of the simple days of the 1950’s and 60’s. Each of the trailers at the Trailer Pond have been kept true to their roots, all of them are original and promise to provide authenticity and fun without modern day conveniences needed!
With 5 vintage trailers on site, you can book a stay individually – each trailer sleeps 2 guests, or as part of a larger group – whole site rentals are possible with different booking packages an option.
Photo by The Trailer Pond, Paso Robles, California
Although cooking is not permitted inside the vintage trailers, there is a communal cooking area with a cook top, bbq, sink and running water.
Locally you will find farmer’s markets and grocery stores, or, alternatively some awesome restaurants to enjoy.
Activities On Site
There are plenty of on site activities to choose from (some at an additional cost), these include;
- Hiking the vineyard
- Chilling out by the pond with a glass of wine
- Bird watching
- Star gazing
- Wine tasting tours
- Private tastings and wine blending classes
If you can tempt yourself away from the magic of The Trailer Pond, there are plenty of things to do in the Paso Robles’ wine country – local wineries (transport can be recommended), the beach, Hearst Castle and San Luis Obispo.
Photo by Ryuji Morishita
Treebones has been welcoming guests since November 2004, born after years of dreaming, planning and hard work – as well as a sheer love and respect for the land and Big Sur coastline.
The Treebones story is an inspirational one, adding an underlying magic to this very special glamping spot along the California coastline.
The owners of Treebones, and their guests, are incredibly respectful of their surroundings and our impact on them.
The motto and theme of this luxury eco resort is “perching lightly,” with every aspect of the Treebones experience considered to ensure the footprint on the local environment is minimized.
Lodging options include yurts, a glorious one of a kind giant luxury tent and 2 wood structures, the Human Nest and the Twig Hut, created by a local artist. Treebones is not suitable for groups and children under the age of 6 years old.
Onsite there are 2 different dining experiences, The Wild Coast Restaurant and The Sushi Bar, serving fresh produce grown on-site in the organic garden, or sourced locally.
There are 6 yurts available at Treebones, 2 of which are ‘family yurts’ accommodating up to 6 guests – the remaining yurts allow a maximum of 2 guests per yurt.
The yurts all have comfortable beds, some with king sizes beds, others with queen beds.
Photo by Kodiak Greenwood
This glorious tent, in the shape of a giant cocoon, provides over 500 sq ft of indoor living space.
The tent is set in a secluded position on the edge of the resort and comes with a private deck and outdoor fire pit where you can experience some of the dreamy Big Sur sunsets.
Other facilities at the luxury tent include;
- King size bed
- Luxurious cotton linens and comforter
- Gas fireplace
- Leather lounging chairs
- En suite bathoom with claw foot shower and flushable composting toilet
Photo by Megan Handy
Human Nest or Twig Hut
These 2 unique places definitely tick the quirky, one of a kind box.
Spend a couple of nights in a human sized nest, or the hand woven two story hut – both designed by Big Sur artist, Jayson Fann.
You will need to bring your own sleeping bags and pillows, as well as a tent to pitch nearby in case there is wind or rain (neither structure is waterproof).
Image by Aaron Leitz via AutoCamp
Glamping is indeed booming, and AutoCamp leads the way in providing the best alternative lodgings possible.
The company has partnered with Airstream USA to create modern, custom-designed chrome trailers that not only look great but feel fantastic as well.
AutoCamp has two glamping sites in California – one in a private nook in the majestic Sonoma Redwoods, the other in the middle of bustling Santa Barbara, close to the beach.
If you’re driving along California’s Central Coast, AutoCamp Santa Barbara might be a good stop for you. It’ll place you within an 8-minute drive from several beaches along the Coast but keeps you within a 5-min. bike ride from the heart of the city – and 2 bikes are included with every trailer rental.
But if you’re up in Sonoma County, you’ll find a cool, quiet riverside retreat not far from the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.
AutoCamp Russian River, near the rustic little town of Guerneville, is often on the list of top accommodations favored by both alternative and traditional travelers.
Just 90 minutes north of San Francisco, this lodge is close to dozens of Sonoma wineries producing excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
On-site, it offers 25 new Airstream trailers, 10 luxury tents and 1 ADA-accessible suite.
Each is equipped with:
– a fireplace
– a safe
– a queen-sized bed with premium bedding
– 30-inch TV with satellite channels and pay movies
– Bathrobes, towels and hairdryer; and
– Complimentary wireless Internet access.
Each Airstream has a roomy, en-suite bathroom with a marble shower, full-sized vanity, and designer toiletries. It also has a well-equipped kitchenette, with a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, utensils, dishware, and glassware. In the living room is a full-sized futon-sofa.
Air-conditioning, heating, and a multi-charging station are also provided.
Trailers are parked about 25 feet from each other and have a small deck, fire pit, barbecue grill and dining table each.
Image by Aaron Leitz via AutoCamp
If you favor the safari tent, instead, you’d have to schedule your stay from April to October though, the only months they’re available.
Each tent is furnished with a queen-sized bed, lights, electrical outlets, a patio, a fire pit, and an ice chest. A comforter, heavy throw, and heated blankets are provided on chilly nights.
For this type of accommodation, you’d have to go to the Clubhouse for toilet and bathing. But no worries, the facilities there are luxurious – with classy, marble showers and spa-smelling private toilets. The pleasurable experience will more than compensate for your short walk.
Guests at both trailers and tents receive a S’mores kit containing marshmallows, graham crackers and bars of Hershey’s chocolate.
In the morning, freshly brewed coffee, tea, and orange juice await everyone at the Clubhouse. (There are vending machines selling snacks, local wine and beer, and souvenirs.)
Image by Aaron Leitz via AutoCamp
The Clubhouse is where you’ll also find the Concierge, a big, beautiful lobby, and an elegant fire pit in the middle. There are plenty of cushy seats and lounge areas to relax in. Board games are available for whiling away rainy afternoons.
Outside, on-site activities include yoga, lawn games, and hiking. Walk to the River and enjoy an afternoon of kayaking, river-trailing, or tubing.
Bicycles can be rented for free.
The camp is just an easy bike to downtown Guerneville where shops, restaurants, and a large grocery store are located.
Johnson’s Beach is a short 3-min. drive and Goat Rock Beach is 23-mins. away. Bring your sunscreen!
4. El Capitan
Image by El Capitan Canyon
“Minimalism without deprivation” and “comfort without over-indulgence” are two of the mantras at this serene, picturesque retreat.
El Capitan Canyon, which lies on the Gaviota Coast of Santa Barbara along the Pacific Ocean, boasts 350 acres of peaceful and remote natural beauty. It’s an ideal location for weddings, nature camps, company off-site activities, wellness retreats, and quiet family reunions – with the scenic Santa Ynez Mountains and the beautiful Pacific Coast as the stunning backdrop. El Capitan is consistently a favorite pick among California glampers.
Enjoy a slew of outdoor adventures: docent-led hikes, cruises around the Canyon, ocean kayaking, visits at the llama and goat farm, horseback riding, and cruiser bike trips along the beach.
There’s something for everyone in this family-oriented resort, with seasonal activities such as beach runs, live concerts, and wine-tasting for the adults.
Storytelling and astronomy by the campfire appeal to the younger guests.
Leaning towards the slow and serene? Take a relaxing dip in the heated pool, join a yoga session or head to the spa for a rejuvenating massage.
Nearby, there’s a meditation garden where the Spa grows its own botanicals – calming lavenders, healing sage, and a host of herbs and flowers used in their customized body and aromatherapy treatments.
Image by El Capitan Canyon
At night, unwind at fireside gatherings, or quietly retire to your private accommodation – your choice of a luxurious cedar cabin, a comfortable adventure yurt, or a romantic safari tent.
All types of accommodations come with willow beds, down-style duvets, Western-style blankets, casual furnishings, and outdoor picnic table, fire pit, and grill.
Dining options are endless here. There’s The Market and Deli which provides hot meals all day, from hearty breakfasts to fire you up for your outdoor adventures, to light salads, sandwiches, and soup du jour for dine-in or take-out, to slow, hand-crafted pizzas and full-meal entrees – available for lunch and dinner.
But don’t miss their “grill dining” experience, a trademark and long-standing tradition at El Capitan. They carry “signature” barbecue kits that provide ingredients for a camp-style fireside dinner: chili beans, garlic bread, salad, and side dishes along with utensils, napkins and S’mores – all to be relished with live music amidst oak and sycamore trees along El Capitan Creek.
There’s also a campground store that carries outdoor gear, organic provisions, candles, award-winning wines, and just about anything a happy camper may wish.
5. Strawhouse Resorts
Located along the Trinity River near Junction City and surrounded by wilderness area is the popular Strawhouse Resorts.
It boasts cozy cottages, RV sites, and of course the popular glamping site, The Yurt.
Overlooking the river and park, the Strawhouse Yurt is spacious and clean. It’s fitted with bamboo flooring, heating, air conditioning, a large deck area, a charcoal grill and large picnic table.
Sleeping facilities include:
– an electric fireplace in the bedroom
– a queen bed in the loft
– a queen bed downstairs
– a fold-out twin bed, a clawfoot tub; and
– a shower
The kitchen has a small refrigerator, a microwave oven, induction plate, toaster oven, and a coffee pot.
While it is not located right along the riverside, The Yurt provides guests a private and stunning access to the river located next to the Strawhouse Café.
The Café serves up organic speciality coffees, hearty breakfast and lunches daily from 7 am to 6 pm, and gourmet dinner for cottage and RV guests.
Local beers, wines, and hard ciders are available on tap, and the wood-fired oven pizzas are squisito!
While there is free wireless internet access at the Café, there is no TV service in any of the rooms since the resort was designed for relaxation, family connections and romance.
Outdoor activities at the Strawhouse includes swimming, hiking, kayaking, fishing, whitewater rafting, bird watching, and mountain biking.
The neighboring town of Weaverville offers golfing opportunities, museums, music, art and theater, while other parts of Trinity County host beautiful vineyards and wineries.
Whether you’re just passing through, looking for a good meal, or eyeing a perfect weekend getaway for you and your partner or family, this place is worthy of your serious consideration.
6. Oz Farm
Sunset Yurt, Oz Farm – Image by Christopher Berger
Oz Farm is a gem of a glamping site, hidden in a private valley along the scenic Mendocino County coast, 130 miles north of San Francisco.
It is bordered by redwood and fir forest and sits on the traditional land of the Pomo people.
With the Garcia River running through its 240 acres of pristine environment, Oz Farm boasts of fresh air, clean water and priceless tranquility.
It offers rustic facilities and an idyllic setting for family reunions, weddings, corporate retreats, and yoga, artist, and cooking workshops.
Around 17 acres of the Farm is dedicated to growing organic apples and pears, fresh flowers and a full range of vegetables. A seasonal produce box is offered to guests for $30, as well as an option to either purchase or donate a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share of organic vegetables or cut flowers every week from June to November.
Tower Cabin, Oz Farm – by Christopher Berger
On Fridays and Saturdays, The Farm participates in a farmer’s market at nearby Point Arena and Gualala communities, where guests can sample freshly baked bread and pastries, locally roasted coffee, medicinal herb teas, fruit jams, pickles, kombucha, artisan cheese, gelato, locally harvested seaweed, and lots of other fresh, hand-crafted goodies.
Longing for some rare, old-fashioned cider?
Taste the Farm’s unique handcrafted blend, traditionally pressed and fermented from 50 heirloom varieties of European cider apples. Oz runs a state-of-the-art cidery that produces only small batches, blending the juice of various choice apples. (Ciders contain 7.2% alcohol; one must be 21 years or older to purchase.) The cider press master, Dean Fernandez, gives tours of the cider mill upon schedule.
Faithfully committed to its tenet of sustainability, Oz Farm is 100% off-the-grid and uses only solar and wind power for all its operations.
A big, refurbished barn serves as the centerpiece of the farm and a charming venue for weddings and special events. Constant upgrades and expansion has allowed it to hold the Farm’s cider mill and bar, a library, a solarium, and plenty of loft space.
Tai-Chi Yurt, Oz Farm – Image by Abby Stoner
Accommodations at Oz includes cabins and yurts that can house up to 10 people. Each is equipped with:
– a wood stove
– a single burner stove
– running potable water
– basic kitchenware
– an outhouse
– guests also get free access to the garden, forest and river
The Farm recommends that guests bring hiking boots, a walking stick, binoculars and sturdy walking sandals for wading in the river during the summer, and warm clothes, rain gear, and waterproof footwear during the rainy season.
Towels, warm clothes, flashlights would come in handy, too, as would a sleeping bag or extra blankets if they’re prone to being cold at night.
Dogs are allowed for a surcharge of $50, and they should be leashed.
7. Hicksville Palace
Image by Hicksville Trailer Palace
If you’re looking for something offbeat and unconventional in the middle of nowhere, then head for Hicksville Trailer Palace in the Mojave Desert.
This is another adult-only glamping spot in California, but this one is right in the middle of the desert.
What started out as an artists’ retreat in 2010, Hicksville grew to be California’s first-ever trailer motel and only the second in the United States.
It is owned by Los Angeles movie writer-director Morgan Night who wanted to provide people from all walks of life with a place to stop by, relax and sink in the scenery of the surrounding Joshua Tree National Park. After all, the rugged mountains and the yucca trees dotting the plains of the Mojave is a spectacular sight to behold.
Hicksville has a distinct artist’s vibe – casual, funky, and quirky.
The Skipper – Image by Hicksville Trailer Palace
You’ll find vintage AirStream trailers decked out in cinematic themes, from Old West-inspired “The Pioneer”, a frontier-style trailer with cowboy-printed curtains, to a circus-themed gypsy wagon called “The Pee-Wee” which was used as a prop in the 1988 film Big Top Pee-wee.
One of the more popular trailers, “The Lux”, is a Cramps-themed cabin with a blend of punk rock, tiki, and horror. It has a totem structure outside and a black-and-white TV inside that only shows horror movies.
On-site is an outdoor jukebox that plays music all day, so be ready to hear some loud rock n’ roll and random revelry.
This is definitely a place to consider if you’re with a group of friends looking for some fun, goofy R and R. There’s also a good chance you’ll meet a bunch of interesting people.
The Saltwater Pool – Image by Hicksville Trailer Palace
Other things you can expect at Hicksville are:
– Saltwater pool
– Two fire pits
– Archery and BB gun range
– Mini-golf and corn hole
– Pingpong table and darts
– Pinball and multi-cade games in a Weiner wagon
– Lounging areas (including hammocks)
– A vape room (Note: legal marijuana is also allowed at Hicksville)
– Vending machines
– A “fort” for dogs
Image by Hicksville Trailer Palace
Each trailer at Hicksville has a kitchen equipped with a microwave, a toaster, kitchenware, filtered water and a charcoal barbecue grill. There’s a communal teepee where guests can also cook and eat together.
While trailers have their own bath, there’s a community bathroom that’s also available. Towels, toilet paper, hand soaps, and sanitizer are on the house.
What you wouldn’t want to miss is the hot tub on one of the trailers’ rooftop, perfect for dipping in as you gaze at the sunset and the dazzling desert stars.
In this place, privacy is paramount. Guests are requested not to geo-tag their location on social media while they’re in the property. The Palace has come to be known as “Joshua Tree’s Best Kept Secret”, and Mr. Night probably wants to keep it that way as much as possible.
As stated above, minors aren’t allowed here (the minimum age is 21) unless the whole property is rented exclusively. The gates are also closed to non-guests.
About 15 minutes away is a downtown area with a grocery store where guests can pick up local produce, steaks, snacks and anything else they might need during their stay.
8. Ventana Big Sur
Resort company Ventana, famous for its 5-star, first-class hospitality, has been offering glamping accommodations at its 20-acre redwood and canyon property in
the Big Sur for several years now.
It offers 15 plush, stylish tents that let guests camp out in the middle of the Redwoods or venture deeper into the canyon, accessible only by foot.
Sleep to the gentle rustling of a nearby creek and wake up to misty, romantic mornings. Ventana’s version of luxury camping delivers an intimate and immersive experience in the Big Sur wilderness that no other glamping outfitters can.
It’s central location is convenient, too. It’s just off the main highway, giving you quick access to the rugged, majestic sea-cape of the Coastline.
Their 2-person safari tents include the following amenities:
– queen bed with heated blankets and a water bottle
– electric lamps, handheld lanters, and power outlets with USB ports
for charging devices
– a sink with instant hot and cold potable water
– 2 Adirondack chairs with pads
– a picnic table and ice chest
– 2 fire pits: one propane pit on the covered deck and an open, wood-fired one a few feet away (plus a make-your-own S’mores kit)
– morning tea, coffee, and pastries at the Welcome Center
– basic kitchen/dining supplies
– hand and bath towels
– daily housekeeping service
– access to the SurStream, a café in the forest that serves snacks and drinks (open 12-8pm)
– access to the Big Sur Smokehouse for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and
– use of Zingle, a convenient communication system for guests
The shared bathroom and toilet facilities are clean and well-kept. The flooring is even heated.
9. Base Camp Tahoe
This hotel embodies the spirit of exploration. Serving as your stylish “springboard” to the lakes, trails and mountains of the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Base Camp Tahoe South has a hip camping theme, rustic yet modern.
Owner and founder Christian Strobel wanted to establish a stylish but affordable lodging place that reflected the ideals of an actual base camp – a place where people could come together, share stories and learn from other like-minded explorers.
Basecamp has accomplished just that and continues to be a fun, friendly hotel that inspires adventure and camaraderie.
Conveniently located on the California-Nevada border, the boutique hotel is just a 5-minute walk to the lake and an even shorter 4-minute stroll to the Heavenly Gondola.
It has 74 spacious rooms designed for both adventure and relaxation-seekers.
Each provides the comfort and convenience of a modern resort, but at a more affordable motel or inn-like prices.
The Basecamp Hotel brings camping indoors. Quirky items such as camping lanterns, camp coolers, and hand-drawn maps decorate each room.
Furnishings are made out of vintage wood and repurposed materials. Color themes are gray and brown with pops of bright orange or green. It’s that hip, 20th century look with a rustic outdoorsy vibe that appeals to young couples, solo travelers, and families alike.
Two kinds of rooms will particularly cater to glampers.
The Great Indoors features:
– a tent pitched over a king-sized bed (with luxurious beddings)
– a walk-in shower
– camping chairs
– picnic table
– high-speed wireless internet
– faux fire pit
– faux glowing stars in the ceilings
The Explorer’s Club comes with:
– 4 bunk beds to sleep a group of 8
– A mini-fridge
– 2 fire pits
– Intimate lobby bar
– Is ski/board-friendly
Rooms are not air-conditioned but do have ceiling fans.
Many of them are bike and ski/board-friendly and have gear racks for storing and drying equipment.
All provide free WiFi, iPod docks, and flat-screen TVs with cable.
The front lobby of the 3-story hotel has leather sofas, large picture windows, and a fireplace.
Outside there are fire pits, colorful chairs, a terrace built around a tree, and a rooftop hot tub with scenic mountain views.
There’s also a small rustic restaurant and beer garden that serves craft beers, gourmet hot cocoa, house food, and live music each night.
Occasionally, communal dinners are held at a long wooden dinner table to encourage “explorer” guests to socialize.
Free breakfast, outdoor parking, and on-site bike rentals are provided. Pet-friendly rooms are available for an additional charge.
No matter what your vacation style is, if you love the outdoors, you will love going glamping in California – which is your favorite place? Let us know in the comments!
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