Discover the best spots for glamping in California

Don’t tell its neighbours, but California might very well boast the most spectacular natural scenery of anywhere on the West Coast. Blessed with sun-kissed beaches, world-class vineyards, snow-capped mountains, and towering redwood forests, here, epic encounters with the great outdoors abound. So while it’s tempting to hunker down in star-studded Hollywood Hills or misty San Francisco, a few nights soaking in California’s raw, rugged beauty is a veritable tonic for the soul. And there’s no better way to appreciate the Golden State’s captivating beauty than by glamping — aka, glamorous camping. Whether you’re exploring the highlights of a California road trip or setting out for a quick weekend getaway, we’ve whittled down the many California glamping options, so all that’s left to do is go outdoors and get exploring. Now, let’s dive into the 10 best spots for glamping in California.

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Photo: Ventana Big Sur Glamping

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After an adrenaline-pumping day of hiking or climbing, mingle with other guests at the cozy outdoor fire pit or take a refreshing dip in the heated pool

1. Autocamp Yosemite

Perhaps California’s most beloved National Park, Yosemite is undoubtedly a stunner with its soaring Sequoia trees and mammoth granite cliffs. Enjoy the highlights of this marvel at Autocamp Yosemite, a sleek glamping retreat ideally located just a short drive from the park entrance. A range of accommodation options includes glossy Airstream trailers, large wooden cabins, and chic canvas tents — all fully outfitted with a fire pit and grill for mouth-watering camp-inspired concoctions. After an adrenaline-pumping day of hiking or climbing, mingle with other guests at the cozy outdoor fire pit or take a refreshing dip in the heated pool. Round out the activities with a sundowner in the mid-century modern Clubhouse, an architectural masterpiece in its own right.

Photo: Autocamp Yosemite

Photo: Autocamp Yosemite

2. Glamping at Ventana Big Sur

Sandwiched between the misty Santa Lucia Range and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, the craggy stretch of coastal highway that comprises Big Sur is the stuff of screensavers — don’t be surprised if your jaw quite literally drops in awe. Overlooking this dramatic landscape is Ventana Big Sur, a five-star hideaway outfitted with 15 elegant glampsites. Custom-designed plush mattresses ensure you’ll sleep easy beneath a blanket of sparkling stars. What about toilets, you ask? The Bath House features teak-enclosed showers, marble vanities, and heated floors — a far cry from traditional campground facilities. Due to new social distancing measures, glamping guests no longer have access to all resort amenities (as a plus, you don’t pay the resort fee, either.) That said, a fantastic propane fire pit and “glamping enhancement features” like s’more kits and coolers still make this an easy place to lose yourself in the majesty of the striking landscape.

Photo: Ventana Big Sur

3. Mendocino Grove, Mendocino

Long the hide-out of artists and dreamers, Mendocino is as picturesque as could be, a dreamy ocean bluff dotted with saltbox cottages, redwood preserves, and flower-filled meadows. While there are countless boutique properties in town, nothing beats falling asleep to a soundtrack of crashing waves from your luxury safari tent at Mendocino Grove. This lovely retreat for glamping in the Bay Area is perfectly located near to all the highlights of Mendocino, including the sought-out seasonal seafood at Trillium Cafe. Each tent sits on a wooden platform complete with a private deck and comfy seating area. When you’re not dining out, saddle up to a picnic table to breathe in the fresh ocean air; fire rings with grills make cooking and late-night s’mores sessions a breeze.

4. Dome in the Desert, Joshua Tree

There’s nowhere in the United States quite like Joshua Tree. Hidden away in California’s High Desert, this National Park gets its name for the beguiling, bristling Joshua Tree — actually a ‘tree-like’ Yucca. Whether it’s this unique flora or the enchanting hiking trails and curious wildlife, there’s no denying the mystical vibes of this desert haven. Absorb the otherworldliness of it all in style at the Dome in the Desert, a modern-bohemian glamping getaway. With two bedrooms and bathrooms, there’s plenty of space for the whole family. Handcrafted furnishings, geometric designs, and pops of yellow are as inviting as can be, especially when enjoying one of the Dome’s antique games. A natural wood-burning stove is a nice touch on chilly evenings, while AC keeps you cool on sun-drenched desert days. However, as cute as the accommodation, the real highlight here is enjoying spectacular sunsets that transform into twinkling night skies in solitude.

Photo: Gus Tu Njana

Photo: Michael Oxendine

5. Forest Camping Hut, Elk

Looking for the ultimate escape to disconnect with technology so you can reconnect with nature? Forest Camping Hut is a secluded hut far removed from WiFi and even cell service, nestled in the middle of a lush redwood forest. While you’re just a few miles from ever-popular Mendocino, you’ll feel worlds away in this eco-friendly abode. Expect a queen bed, snug wooden deck, and swoon-worthy private outdoor bathtub. There’s no kitchen, but a wide range of nearby restaurants offer well-earned fuel after a day of exploring the nearby forest paths. It’s simple yet refined, allowing the monumental redwoods to take center stage.

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You’ll wake to the sound of barking sea lions, robust coffee in hand, before heading out to enjoy any number of nearby golden-sand beaches

6. Treebones Resort, Big Sur

Continuing our list of the best California glamping spots, we head back to the world-famous Big Sur to stay at the Treebones Resort. These Mongolian-style cliff-side glamping yurts are arresting, with incredible ocean views and plush linens. Here, you’ll wake to the sound of barking sea lions, robust coffee in hand, before heading out to enjoy any number of nearby golden-sand beaches (or even the incredible purple-hued sands of Pfeiffer Beach State Park.) Come nightfall, cuddle up under a blanket on your private redwood deck beneath the glittering night sky. For the splurge of a lifetime, upgrade from a Yurt to an Autonomous Tent, one-of-a-kind accommodation built to resemble a giant cocoon. With over 500 sq ft of indoor living space, a gas fireplace, and an en suite bathroom, you might never want to stop glamping Big Sur.

Photo: Aldeen Li

Photo: Jonnas Duarte

7. Wellspring Ranch, Cayucos

Tucked away on California’s central coast is one of the state’s top couple’s retreats: Wellspring Ranch. This luxury B&B is an ideal choice to connect deeper with your special someone while enjoying restorative yoga, couple’s massages, bird watching, and hiking. There’s a smattering of traditional rooms alongside well-equipped yurts and a decked-out airstream, all with private bathrooms, king beds, and luxury linens. When you’re not enjoying the many activities set on Wellspring Ranch’s 160 acres, the tiny town of Cayucos is a historic California beach town with opportunities for surfing, tide pool exploring, and antique hunting.

8. boon hotel + spa, Guerneville

Delivered-to-your-room breakfast biscuits that made Oprah’s Favorites list — need we say more? Yet that’s only a snippet of the thoughtful details that await at boon hotel + spa. This vineyard glamping locale is squirrelled away amongst Redwoods and Douglas firs outside Guerneville. Think custom platform beds, a solar-heated saline pool, a well-equipped honor bar, and organic linens. The number one priority here is relaxation, but there’s plenty of activities, should inspiration to explore so strike. Touring local wineries or exploring Armstrong Woods via one of the property’s famed orange cruisers are two top ideas. An award-winning spa rounds out the offerings — don’t miss it.

boon hotel + spa | Photo: Kelly Puleio

boon hotel + spa | Photo: Kelly Puleio

9. Wylder Hotel, Hope Valley

Rounding out our list of epic California glamping spots is the one and only Wylder Hotel located just south of Lake Tahoe. Recently remodeled and under new ownership, these glamping in Northern California accommodations are brimming with character, seamlessly merging sophisticated luxury with down-to-earth comfort. Choose from camping, yurts, cabins, or even a vintage spartan; each option is kitted out with luxury amenities. Created with explorers in mind, expect year-round adventures. Hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and hot spring soaking are a few of the most popular. When hunger strikes, hit up Sorensen’s Cafe. The name pays tribute to the property’s original owners, who’ve welcomed guests to magical Hope Valley since 1926. Many of the recipes are steeped in tradition — and they’re all downright delicious.

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