While there are plenty of people out there who are just fine pitching a tent and roasting some marshmallows over a batch of smoldering twigs, there are just as many who want a little luxury mixed in with their camping experience. These people prefer comfy sleeping quarters to zip-up sleeping bags and they’d definitely choose genuine heaters over a smoky campfire. Who is this population of discriminating outdoor vacationers? Across the nation, they’re affectionately known as glampers—(that translates to glamorous campers)—and glamping (yep, you guessed it: glamorous camping) is now big business.
You’ll find great spots to glamp from coast to coast, but it should come as no surprise that the “left coast” (California, of course) has some of the most beautiful glamp destinations in the world. From Santa Barbara all the way to Trinity National Forest, those looking for upscale camping will be far from disappointed. Take a look at our picks for the five top glamping spots in the state—you just may decide that vacationing in a mountain treehouse is just what you’ve been craving.
El Capitan Canyon—Santa Barbara, CA
El Capitan Canyon is consistently a favorite pick for California glampers. Guests can choose the “Coastal Beach Camping” option or “Southern California Coastal Lodging,” both of which offer a choice of luxury cedar cabins or—for those looking for a slightly more authentic camping experience—safari tents. El Capitan also features a brand new accommodation option: The Adventure Yurt, which is built on a unique, circular wooden platform with walls of canvas and a raised roof complete with skylight. Bonus Info: Visitors have access to massages, yoga, stargazing nights, movies and more. For rates and reservations, call 866.352.2729
Strawhouse Resorts—Trinity National Forest
Strawhouse Resorts features one of the best glamping spots in the nation with an incredible location right on the Trinity River. Choose from an adorable cottage or the beautiful new yurt—a round, tented 30-foot structure, which is equipped with bamboo floors, heat and air conditioning, a queen-sized bed and even an electric fireplace. The resort also features a café and their own signature Strawhouse organic coffee. Cottage prices and Yurt prices vary, but generally range between $200 and $235 a night for cottages and $175 to $225 for The Yurt. As far as activities go, you are right on the Trinity River, which means opportunities for rafting, fly fishing, kayaking and canoeing are all in your backyard. And for those looking for non-water action, there’s fantastic bird watching, hiking, biking and more.
Mountains Treehouse—Santa Cruz
If you’re looking for a truly magical getaway, the Santa Cruz Mountains Treehouse is it. Set in the midst of the lush forest is a glamper’s dream—a gorgeous treehouse with two live trees growing right through the home. The structure includes a plush high-bed, a kitchen, full bathroom and a soothing hot tub, all at your disposal. There is a also a treehouse cat named “Grey” who adds a little personality and affection to the place, but if you’re an allergy sufferer, no worries—he lives outside. The price to rent this gem is only $825/week with an additional $60 cleaning fee—or you can inquire about weekend-only stays.
Tree Bones Resort—Big Sur
Tree Bones in Big Sur is a fantastic glamper’s spot with five campsites, 16 yurts, an ocean-view pool, an outdoor sushi bar and a resort restaurant. The ever-popular circular yurts feature polished pine floors and French doors that open onto beautiful private decks. Each yurt has queen-sized beds, electric lighting, heat and sinks with hot and cold water. Showers and restrooms are just a short distance away at the lodge. Prices are based on date and availability—email for more information. Bonus: Massages, yoga, hiking and more are available at Tree Bones—inquire for more information.
Are you a camper or a glamper? Let us know what you think about this offbeat-glam vacation trend!