Short for glamorous camping, the term glamping refers to resort-style accommodations in scenic destinations that provide guests easy access to the outdoors. Also known as “boutique camping”, glamping combines all the amenities and creature comforts of the indoors (gourmet meals, cozy beds, heat and AC, and of course, proper bathrooms) with an opportunity to immerse yourself in the outdoors’ restorative effects or go off and seek adventure. Canvas tents, bell tents, and yurts for glamping are most common, though the Golden State has so much more to offer. Visitors can also stay in an Airstream trailer or a treehouse—both valid glamping accommodations if you stretch the definition just a bit.
Whatever your prerogative, glamping is ideal for your brunch-loving, camp-curious crew or even new outdoorists who aren’t ready to make the jump from soft, cozy bed to cold, hard ground—no judgement here!—but still crave a proper adventure. It’s the perfect compromise that comes with the added benefit of experiencing unique design and the great outdoors all at once.
Over the years, this more deluxe mode of escapism has graduated from a popular trend to a mainstay of adventure travel, but a little known fact reveals that today’s form of glamping is really just a modern take on something that is centuries-old. In the early 1920s, wealthy travelers from Britain and the US would go on an African safari in the classic canvas tents that are still commonly used in glamping today. Go even further back in time and you’ll find historical records of royalty who galavanted all over the globe in lavish, palatial tents.
With colonizers and monarchs (mostly) behind us, glamping today is a popular and more inclusive way to travel to destinations like California, a world-class outdoor adventure hub with a glamping option for everyone. From its sun-drenched southern beaches, rocky high-desert landscapes, dramatic coastlines, and ancient redwood forests, the best glamping in California has something to suit everyone no matter their flavor of adventure. Skip the crowds and any chance of heat by visiting from September through October when it’s pleasantly warm, sunny, and conveniently, harvest season at its many wineries.
If glamping isn’t for you, there’s no shortage of well-designed rental cabins in California, whether along the coast or in the mountains; but if you’re ready for an open-air escape, here are 15 of the best California glamping sites, divided by region.
Best Northern California Glamping
Vibe: Refuge in the Redwoods
Minutes away from Mendocino proper, these safari-style canvas tents are built for unparalleled comfort in the woods. Inside, each roomy abode has heated beds (?!?!) while outside, guests can enjoy a more authentic camping experience with their own fire pit and grill. This spot also earns bonus points for offering wheelchair accessible canvas tents to keep the outdoors open to all.
Vibe: Group Camping Trip
Just two hours outside of San Francisco, this luxury camping site includes a two-person canvas tent with space for sleeping bags, an extra five-person pop-up dome tent, and campsites for additional glampers. The property includes a 6-ft picnic table, outdoor fire pit, Coleman Sun Shower for hot showers even off-grid, and over 100 acres to explore.
Vibe: Peaceful Retreat
Tucked amongst the Redwood trees of NorCal, this secluded glamping getaway is located on the grounds of a small family farm. Amenities include a queen-sized bed with comfortable linens, furnishings, an outdoor kitchenette, and a shared hot tub and outdoor shower with other glampers on-site.
Vibe: Camp Coachella
Get comfy and cozy in the heart of Sonoma County’s beautiful wine country. Their classic luxury glamping tent doesn’t only provide a cushy, fully-furnished place to stay, but morning yoga classes, live music, and stargazing events nearby the Bay Area.
Vibe: Like a Fine Wine
Have yourself a vacation in this treehouse by the sea. Located on Lago Lomita Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this elevated glamping site has minimal decor but comes with electricity, a queen-sized bed, and a deck to enjoy your meals with a side of endless views.
Vibe: Home Sweet Home
Get cozy in a rustic custom glamping yurt from Wylder near the idyllic Lake Tahoe. This all-season campground keeps the feel-good vibes high with little touches like a cafe that serves up three home cooked meals and a private soaking hot tub.
Best California Coast Glamping Spots
Vibe: Back to Nature
Ventana offers nature lovers a picturesque retreat among the Redwoods and the rugged California coast. Although you’ll be tempted to stay in one of their beautiful luxury hotel rooms, its glamping experience doesn’t fall short, thanks to 20 acres of property with 15 glamping spot options that sit on the creekside.
Vibe: Hippie Campers
These bohemian-style bell tents have a deluxe setup that comes with a memory foam mattress, pillows and rugs, a french press, plus, poufs for lounging, because chairs are boring. Explore the stunning San Jacinto mountains around the glamping site and pull up a pouf to roast s’mores around the campfire at night.
Vibe: Nice Curves
Perched on a cliff with views of the Pacific Ocean, this extra fancy campground uses solar power to keep the 600+ square-foot interior comfy and cozy when a chilly sea breeze blows in. Make a fire indoors or out on the spacious deck, to watch an especially epic sunset over the horizon.
Vibe: California Coast Luxury
Whether you’re choosing an adventure yurt or a canvas safari tent, this little slice of glamping paradise provides all the perks of camping with hotel-style amenities. Enjoy stargazing through the clear roof of the glamping yurt, cooking up a camp dinner outside the tent, or an expansive network of hiking trails on the Central Coast.
Best Southern California Glamping
Vibe: Super RV
Outside of Los Angeles and San Diego, and in the middle of Joshua Tree, this converted, off-grid RV is glamping at its finest. Outfitted with contemporary Southwest decor, the interior is thoughtfully renovated with sleeping and living areas, and a food prep station. A spacious deck outside provides additional seating and a small pool, and a bath house hosts a composting toilet and outdoor shower.
Vibe: Wild Wild West
Located in the Santa Monica Mountains outside of Los Angeles, this covered wagon includes space for the whole family, outfitted with a lush queen-sized bed, bunk beds, and a small dining table. The surrounding area includes hiking, biking, horseback riding, beaches, wine-tasting, and oh, an authentic saloon just next door.
Vibe: Recharge Along the River
Located along a river bank with private swimming holes and waterfalls to explore, this secluded glamping site includes a unique mixture of bell tents and small mirrored cabins. Each site comes equipped with a Casper mattress, solar panels for power, a hand made Estonian wooden bed, wifi, and access to a shared outdoor kitchen, bath house, sauna, and meditation deck.
Vibe: Starry Night Sky
The rugged, rocky landscape of Joshua Tree’s desert landscape is balanced out by the sleek, minimal design and comfy amenities of these glamping yurts. Take a dip in the pool, explore the surrounding area, or kick back under a never-ending dark, starry night sky.
Vibe: Glamping on Wheels
Only two hours from Los Angeles, Blue Sky offers glampers the chance to stay in a unique canvas hut in the Cayuma Valley. The no-frills interior doesn’t have electricity or heating and cooling, but features pops of color in its decor. Keep to yourself or enjoy the more communal feels of this one-a-kind retreat.
Vibe: Choose Your Own Adventure
This is glamping two ways: pitch your own tent on this vast property, or stay in the secluded yurt, named Songdog Glampout that’s a short distance from the main lodge. Cook up a camp feast to enjoy at the family-style dining area that brings together fellow glampers for a totally unique stay.