Glamping combines the best of outdoor adventure travel with modern-day comfort in resort-like accommodations that come ready-made with cozy king-size beds, modern furnishings, and complimentary organic bath products, just to name a few. An abbreviated term for “glamorous camping”, this boutique style of camping in sought-out, scenic destinations has spiked in popularity over the years for its ability to provide an immersive outdoor experience without the need for expensive camping gear, making the outdoors more accessible, and way comfier.
The glamping experience can be traced back to a time when monarchs traveled the globe in lavish, palatial tents and wealthy Brits and Americans stayed in the classic canvas tent while on safaris in Africa. Today, the safari-style canvas tent is still just as popular along with bell tents, yurts, treehouses, and even converted Airstreams or tiny homes. Some glampsites have established “glampgrounds” that offer on-site dining, activities, and all the creature comforts you could need for a relaxing vacation in some of the most beautiful places.
Although California’s San Francisco Bay Area is home to over seven million people, it’s not hard to find plenty of pristine outdoor places to explore and find adventure. It’s most famous for the giant redwood trees, dramatic coastline and stunning beaches, and of course, the world-famous vineyards of Sonoma and Napa Valley (not to mention the Eastern Sierra). There’s hiking and biking, surfing and sunbathing, climbing, paddling, and so much more when it comes to outdoor activities, however, the natural beauty alone makes for the perfect spot to recharge for a long weekend. Surrounded by National Forests and a 3 three-hour drive from the world-famous Yosemite National Park, there's plenty to do just outside the area, too.
Skip the crowds and the heat by visiting the California Bay Area from September through October when it’s pleasantly warm and sunny—most importantly, this is also harvest season at its many vineyards, wink, wink. Scroll through our list of the best glamping options within reach of the Bay Area to find your perfect place for a weekend getaway.
[Prefer more guaranteed sunshine? Check out our top picks for the Best SoCal Glamping Spots.]
8 Best Bay Area Glamping Spots Within Reach of San Francisco
Vibe: Now That’s a Vista
Glamp out in an (almost) brand new 2020 Airstream trailer that’s fully-stocked with modern-day conveniences so nothing takes away from that view. Enjoy having 9 scenic acres all to yourself with 180-degree views of the glimmering waters of Half Moon Bay. There’s a kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor living area with a hammock and fire pit for cooking s'mores so you have everything you need to settle in and stay awhile. And if you're feeling adventurous, San Jose, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, and the coastal town of Pescadero are all within an hour road-trip.
Vibe: Refuge in the Redwoods
A quick drive from the scenic Big River Beach, Russian Gulf State Park, and downtown Mendocino, Mendocino Grove’s canvas tents offer a cozy shelter after a day of exploring complete with crisp cotton linens, heated beds, fire-pits, and a lovely bathhouse with hot showers. This spot also earns bonus points for offering wheelchair accessible canvas tents so the outdoors are open to all.
Vibe: Backyard Bliss
Not all glamping takes place in remote stretches of land. In fact, glamping can take place in a backyard, as demonstrated by this hand-crafted tiny house with glorious views of the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond. Made of reclaimed wood from a pre-existing carriage house that once stood in the same place, the interior is cozy and unique and you sure can't beat the commute to downtown SF.
Vibe: MCM Campout
Hidden away in a peaceful spot surrounded by sky-high redwood trees, AutoCamp’s Russian River location (they have six properties from coast to coast, including newly opened Joshua Tree & Cape Cod), provides a boutique hotel experience in mid-century style lodging a 5-minute drive from Guerneville. Stay in one of their glamping tents, Airstream campers, or roomy accessible suites outfitted with queen-sized beds, private bathrooms, and in some-a private outdoor area including a fire-pit and picnic table.
Rate: Starts at $149/Night
Perched on a cliff with wide-open ocean views of the Pacific Ocean, at Treebones guests can rent a yurt, off-grid autonomous tent, or a human-sized twig nest crafted by a local artist. The posh campground uses solar power to keep the 600+ square-foot interior cozy when a chilly sea breeze blows in. Don’t forget to take advantage of the spacious redwood decks and outdoor space to catch an epic West Coast sunset.
Vibe: Back to Nature
Although you’ll be tempted to stay in one of their beautiful luxury hotel rooms, Ventana Big Sur also has 15 canvas safari tents on 20 acres of picturesque Redwood forest not far from the rugged Northern California coastline. Indulge in the resort-style amenities at the glampsite including a sauna and pool, or get out and experience the area’s hiking trails, biking, climbing, kayaking, and surfing for some adventure.
Vibe: Sculptural Aerie
This site is not for the faint of heart (or anyone with a fear of heights). At its highest point, this sky-high treehouse sits 60 feet above the ground in a grove of redwood trees. Outside, the architecture resembles a giant pinecone, while the interior is made up of a single room with views of the treetop canopy in nearly every direction. Surrounded by the Santa Cruz mountains, outdoor exploring is easily accessible or explore the artsy, lavender-farm filled town of Bonny Doon.
Vibe: Will Vacay for Vino
Yes, Wildhaven’s safari inspired luxury tent cabins are a clean, well-designed place to rest your head at night, however, the real draw is its close proximity to over 425 local wineries in Sonoma County's wine country. If wine tasting isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of outdoor activities: horseback riding, paddling, and swimming on Lake Sonoma and the Russian River, cycling, and hiking through the redwood groves or venture to nearby Santa Rosa and Guerneville.
Rate: Starts at $99/Night