After months of sheltering in place, the idea of hitting the open road to go camping could not be more appealing. These days, camping doesn’t have to mean roughing it. Our great Golden State is home to some seriously cool and stunningly beautiful glamping spots. For the uninitiated, glamping is a hybrid of camping—with all its outdoorsy magic and simple pleasures—combined with some of the essential creature comforts of a hotel. From stylishly-appointed airstream trailers tucked amid towering redwoods and yurts with sweeping ocean views, to overlanding off-roading adventures, the following five outfitters deliver the perfect mix of grit and glam.
The California-headquartered mini-chain AutoCamp (autocamp.com) elevated what it means to glamp. They’ve created magical, mid-century modern wilderness oases in stunning places like the redwood-lined Russian River in Sonoma wine country, as well as just outside of Yosemite National Park. Deluxe accommodation options include stylish airstream trailers, cabins, and tents, and all sites have private patios and firepits. The communal spaces are equally inviting between the clubhouses, indoor and outdoor firepits, and hammocks. Daily breakfast and coffee service are included in the room rates, and gourmet rations available for sale include craft beer and local wines.
In the charming bohemian town of Ojai, Caravan Outpost (caravanoutpostojai.com) is a collection of 11 airstream trailers in an idyllic garden setting. One of the trailers is actually a “tiny house” that can sleep up to five people—great for small families. Most trailers can accommodate four people and a few are even dog-friendly. Caravan partners with REI Experiences to offer nearby excursions like starry night hikes, an introduction to rock climbing, and a farm-to-table bike tour.
Just north of Santa Barbara, El Capitan Canyon (elcapitancanyon.com) is nestled on 350 acres in a canyon above the beautifully rugged El Capitan State Beach. Accommodations range from cedar cabins (complete with your own private bathroom) and adventure yurts to safari tents, so you can choose your level of “roughing it.” The yurts and tents have raised wooden floors and proper beds, but you’ll still get the grounding benefits of Mother Nature. The Canyon Market offers local food and libations, along with barbecue kits, and a full menu of made-to-order breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. You can even get a massage at the serene Canyon Spa.
Treebones Resort Big Sur (treebonesresort.com) feels like heaven on earth. You can’t go wrong with any of their rustic-chic lodging options, between their signature ocean view yurts, human nest, and dreamy “autonomous tent.” They also offer a limited number of campsites if you want to sleep in your own tent. It will still be glamping because you’ll have access to their immaculate restrooms, swimming pool, and on-site dining. All Treebones guests receive complimentary breakfast daily in the Wild Coast Restaurant, where lunch and dinner are also available. But nothing tops dinner at The Sushi Bar, an intimate spot where you can watch the sun set over the Pacific.
For something more bespoke, Four Points Adventures (fourpointsadventures.com) and their expert wilderness guides can take you into the deepest depths of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. Their glamping-on-the-go overlanding trips journey off the beaten path through epic scenery to reach “secret” camping spots. The multi-day, guided adventures are fully equipped with top-of-the-line gear such as Tepui rooftop tents and gourmet camp cuisine prepared by a professionally trained chef. Trips typically range from three to five days, and include all meals and essential overlanding gear, plus plenty of fun and games. Their most popular trips include Death Valley, Mono Lake, and Mendocino’s Lost Coast. What’s particularly appealing about their trips during this time of social distancing is they avoid the sort of campsites that tend to have crowded environments—and they have their own pop-up bathroom facilities, which is always key!