The Ultimate Guide to Glamping in California: Top Destinations and Experiences

Glamping in California 

Glamping, a combination of “glamourous” and “camping”, is for everyone. The luxurious method of residing in the outdoors without rustic discomfort entices naturalists and hotel dwellers alike. Glamping accommodations range from canvas tents to renovated tiny homes. What really separates glamping from camping, is access to lavish amenities such as hot water and stoves. These perks allow you to feel tranquil in nature without leaving luxury and style out of the picture. When deciding on a destination for glamping, California reigns supreme in both accommodations and experiences.  

Although you won’t feel like you’re sleeping in a tent, glamping invites vacationers to retreat under eco-friendly and sustainable conditions. You’ll still have access to wifi in most cases, but a reduction in your carbon footprint will draw you closer to the natural world. California’s state-wide beauty and perfect glamping destinations create ideal conditions for anyone needing an outdoor getaway. Though with the abundance of picturesque outdoor environments, glampers are posed with one not-so-small question: Where to begin?

Tips for Planning a Glamping Trip in California 

The glamping options in California are extensive, so prepping for your trip is largely dependent on the destination of choice. First, be prepared for the weather. Northern regions’ outdoors are most enjoyable in the warmer months and early fall, so expect cozy nights by the fire and brisk mornings. Southern California, however, is blessed with mild temperatures all year long drawing in nature lovers from all corners. Yet, another key element for glamping in California is the journey itself. Book your ride here to fully immerse yourself in California’s panoramic roads and savor the balance between exploring and relaxing.   

One of the many joys of glamping is the minimal preparation in contrast with camping. Ideally, you won’t need to pack much more than your usual weekend bag and additional hiking boots. However, sites vary in accommodations. You can choose to be equipped with your own food, or indulge at local restaurants and on-site glamping dining options. No matter your choice, glamping offers accessibility to necessities that won’t leave you stressed. Before starting your drive, check out this guide to glamping and experiences in California to plan your trip. 

Glamping in Northern California 

Glamping in Northern California
Lassen National Park

Northern California’s ancient Redwood Forests and mountain roads make for a dreamy glamping oasis. Nature enthusiasts will relish in the beauty of the ecological diversity and endless opportunities for activity, offering an array of both scenery and adventure. This is the place to take a scenic drive along the winding roads of California’s coast to stop and admire the greenery. While taking in the best views of the gigantic redwoods, ponder our small place in this world among the ferns. If you’re headed inland, use this guide to plan must-sees along the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

Mendocino Grove 

Just minutes from state parks and beaches, Mendocino Grove possesses the ultimate Northern California glamping experience. The site extends across 37 acres with safari-style 2-person, accessible, and family sites. All tents are equipped with necessary amenities for cozy sleeping situations and ample relaxation, not to mention the down comforters and leather butterfly chairs on the deck. Fully stocked indoor, outdoor, and dog showers let you recharge comfortably after a day outdoors. BYO, or pack light and utilize their bath products while pampering. Get the best of both worlds at this site and stroll the 5-mile Fern Canyon Trail, then head to Mendocino village for local and wild-caught dinner at Café Beaujolais. 

While glamping in NorCal, don’t skip a day trip to the vineyard for wine tasting. Barra of Mendocino produces organic grapes located next to the Russian River. Taste their wines anytime from 10-5 pm before heading back to the site. 

Mill Creek Resort 

Indulge in a mountain getaway at Mill Creek Resort located just near Lassen Volcanic National Park. Their Queen and Twin bed Glamping Tents are perfect for a duo’s getaway, but a third guest can accompany you for a cheap fee each night. Hosts will provide an exceptional sleeping situation, lanterns, towels, and yoga mats. Fireside seating, private showers, and the option to rent any other camping necessities make this a true glamping affair. 

Connection to nature is the primary focal point of Mill Creek, whose hosts recognize Lassen as a stolen land from the existing, and diverse, population of Natives. To wholly appreciate the surrounding natural world, download Mill Creek’s adventure guide to plan your excursions or get familiar with the abundance of wildlife you’ll be cohabitating with. 

Glamping in the Bay Area

California’s Bay Area, known for bustling city life and San Francisco's historical attractions, is often overlooked for its varied terrains and charming outdoor escapes. Glampers will find beauty residing in coastal reserves and sweeping views, all within a drive away from the city. Before checking into your glampsite, take in the lay of the land with a scenic 49-mile drive and an iconic picnic lunch at Mission Dolores Park.  

North of San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore is a must-see when glamping in the Bay Area. Its most famous attraction, elephant seals, makes for an eye-catching stop between meandering the trails.  Don’t skip the winding road down to the historical Point Reyes Lighthouse before leaving. 

Farther east, Mount Diablo offers captivating scenes with beginner to expert-level hikes. Trailblazer enthusiasts may want to check out Save Mount Diablo, a free public outings program offering naturalist-led outdoor activities promoting land awareness. No matter your pace, admire the shady oaks and wildflower-lined hills, as Mount Diablo possesses serious natural beauty. Here are two eco-friendly campgrounds to perfect your glamping experience in the Bay Area: 

  • Near Point Reyes, this private campground will satisfy all of your inner-child’s dreams. The Eagle’s Nest Treehouse provides a tranquil wilderness experience, residing on a sustainable, organic farm among the redwoods. Sleep peacefully between two Douglas Firs, complete with a heater and queen-sized bed. 

Wander off into the forest, or stay to learn hands-on farming practices and Coho Salmon restoration efforts. Come hungry, as the hosts produce 100% grass-fed, dry-aged beef available for purchase during your stay. 

  • An hour from San Jose, Costanoa is an eco-adventure haven made to rediscover the pace of nature. Wellness is the priority here, and their own garden and on-site spa deliver just that. Their Glamping Bungalows come in a variety of layouts, but all include beds, electricity, wifi, and seating. Some models even offer bathrobes and hot tub access for those needing total relaxation. You won’t need to head far, as Costanoa is connected to four state parks and offers bike rentals for mountain trails. For a unique adventure, check out professionally-guided kayak tours exploring the marshes and estuaries. 

Glamping in Big Sur 

Glamping in Big Sur
Big Sur

Up Highway 1 on California’s Central Coast, Big Sur’s rugged cliffs and enchanting beaches create prime conditions for a glamping getaway. Read about 7 Things to Do in 7 Days on Highway 1 to ensure your drive up the highway is full of beautiful pit stops. 

Through its winding roads, you’ll encounter both Redwoods and Coastal Scrub, a testament to Big Sur’s vast biodiversity. Protected species such as the California Condor and Northern Elephant Seal flourish in California's unspoiled coastline, so include these sights as part of your stay. Although the breathtaking things to see and do are endless, here’s what you really shouldn’t miss in Big Sur:

Bixby Creek Bridge 

Though Big Sur stretches across miles, you’ll really feel there after crossing Bixby Creek Bridge. Stop for an iconic photo-op next to the blue waters and mist-covered cliffs. 


Near the end of Big Sur’s stretch, this coastal town’s allure is not hard to find. White sands, tide pools, and foodie-approved eateries require a visit. 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park 

Accompany your drive with waterfalls, forests, and hidden coves. This state park’s most popular trails, Waterfall Overlook and Partington Cove, are easy-rated without sacrificing any views. After the trek, picnic at one of the many viewpoints while gazing at wildlife. 

Ventana Big Sur

Ventana Big Sur offers luxury-style glamping experiences in a 20-acre canyon. The safari-style accommodation features custom mattresses, hot and cold water, and a wood-burning fire pit. Guests will have access to a bathhouse, providing both privacy and comfort in the forest. The tents are lined along the stream, whose ambient sounds will ensure a good night’s rest. 

Details were not left out when curating these sites, as lanterns and space heaters will thoughtfully enhance your experience. Ventana explicitly mentions the inclusion of dogs at their sites, who are treated with beds, treats, and their own bowl. This is the perfect excuse to bring your companion along and check out this dog friendly beach during your trip. 

Treebones Resort 

Farther south on the 1, Treebones is a yurt eco-resort pledging to “perch lightly”. They put this concept into practice by recycling, composting, buying local, and conserving energy. A yurt is a circular fabric structure with wooden frames, allowing for more spacious glamping stays than a simple canvas tent. Treebones’ yurts specifically are furnished with queen beds, electric lighting, a table and chairs, and heat sources. 

Open up the French doors and step onto the deck to an ocean-facing view. If planning isn’t your forte, the hosts guide you to naturalist-led hiking and kayaking tours. Both of which include water, picnic lunches, and transportation. You can book your environmentally-friendly tour on their website

Glamping in Southern California 

Glamping in Southern California
Joshua Tree National Park

Differing from the towering redwoods and rugged cliffs up north, Southern California offers unique outdoor experiences and glamping spots available all year long in its warmer climate.  Just a short drive in every direction, experience desert, snow, and beaches in one region.

Los Angeles 

Beginning in LA, a stimulating entertainment hub, rejoice in its lesser-known outdoor escapes. Topanga Canyon’s mysterious vibe will leave you feeling back in time. Its fame was born in the 1960s, when artists flocked for weekend getaways. While they may have left, their vintage feel stayed behind. The canyon’s roads veer off into a variety of trails, funky shops, and organic eateries. 

Start your day at Topanga Living Cafe for a nourishing breakfast before hitting the state park. The hikes are endless, but feel confident in the likelihood of experiencing light foot traffic and friendly fellow hikers. Coastal Sage Scrub dominates the land here, and its diversity in textures and colors makes for an unforgettable view. Wind down after the day at Topangatipi, a glamping site on a farmhouse property. The tipi is located in Topanga State Park, ensuring perfect access to the trails without leaving the comfort of their hot tub and a complimentary bottle of wine. The sites can accommodate up to 10 people, so grab your friends for an LA staycation. 

Joshua Tree 

Glamping in SoCal wouldn’t be complete without visiting Joshua Tree, a high desert national park. After driving into the desert, begin your trip with a stop in Pioneertown, made famous for its Wild West aesthetic founded by actors like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Stop for a drink at Pappy + Harriet’s, or time your trip right to see your favorite artist perform at their venue. Before heading to your glampsite, check out the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum for eerie sculptures and eclectic folk art. 

Stay in this airstream to peacefully disconnect during your desert getaway. You might be sleeping in the airstream, but the site includes a kitchen, hot tub, and AC. Before stargazing on the balcony, drive to Joshua Tree’s Cholla Cactus Garden to see them glow at sunset. 

San Diego 

Farther down south, take your glamping trip to the beach with San Diego’s warmer waters and rolling hills. If you’re feeling adventurous, book a surf lesson at San Onofre State Beach, where beginner and experienced surfers share the water and beach hangs. Next, head down to Oceanside to walk along the pier and relax at Tyson Street Beach and Park. 

After enjoying the city’s activities, escape into the hills of Fallbrook, the “Avocado Capital of the World”. Glamp in this tiny home with hot showers, beds, and a stove. Wake up and explore the host’s network of trails guaranteed to make you break a sweat. 

Final Thoughts: Glamping in California

Whether you’re heading north or south, the glamping opportunities in California won’t disappoint. Each destination offers extraordinary natural wonders and experiences with charming sites to end that day at. If you’re hitting the road or staying local, use our trip planner for the best glamping trip in California.

Latest Posts