Do you feel like sleeping under the stars is a parenthood prerequisite, but that your family is more suited to the Ritz than roughing it? Fear not—there are plenty of options that can ease you and your broad into an overnight out in nature minus the sleeping on the ground part, from luxe camping services that will pitch your tent complete with a queen bed and kids toys to a spa-meets-eco-escape that even boasts summer camp-like activities for your little campers (so go ahead and schedule that facial).
Pick the spot you want to camp Shelter Co. will take care of the rest. This ingenious company, started by a pair of design-minded Bay Area parents, rents fully furnished canvas tents with all the necessary amenities for your family’s needs. They can also make your camping extravaganza a huge party by accommodating your kids, their friends and family for birthdays, weddings and more.
Need to know: Consider getting an activity tent that’s filled with children’s furnishings and games, a stock library and even lights to brighten up the tent!
Photo courtesy of Shelter Co.
This Russian River Ranch lets you control exactly how much “roughing it” you want to do. Choose from RV or tent sites, where you can get a spectacular views of the river. There’s secluded pockets of heavily wooded areas for exploration too. Every site is by running water and includes picnic tables, a fire pit and hookup spots with electricity. Don’t forget to bring your smartphones and laptops, this truly luxurious camp has various WiFi hotspots!
Need to know: There is a 2 night minimum for weekends between May 1-Sept 30, and a 3 night minimum for national holidays. Check online for the rates.
22855 Moscow Rd
Duncans Mills, Ca
Photo credit: Fer R. via yelp.com
Take a break from the city and rejuvenate in this eco-friendly resort and spa that’ll make everyone happy. Relax and enjoy a massage while the little ones are out having fun at the kids camps (think tie-dye t-shirts, ice-cream-making and tide pool exploration). Feeling energized? Go horseback riding, hiking or kayaking and finish the day with a wine tasting at the Cascade Bar and Grille, before crashing in one of their simple yet comfortable lodges.
Need to know: The only ensuite bathrooms are in the Lodge, those in Comfort Stations have shared bathroom facilities. And don’t forget to check the calendar for awesome family events!
2001 Rossi Road at Hwy 1
Pigeon Point Lighthouse
This hostel sits atop a cliff and offers stunning views of the lighthouse and the water. Stay in one of their family rooms (for 4 to 6 people) and meet people from all around the world. Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a hub for international travelers. Whether you’re looking to bike, hike or tour around the area, this hostel has all the maps laid out for you.
Need to know: At night, reserve a spot in the hot tub and enjoy a beautiful sky of stars.
210 Pigeon Point Rd.
Photo: Anita Ritenour via creativecommons flickr
If you want complete serenity with your family, spend the night in one of their fully furnished yurts — tent-like circular fabric structures with wood lattice frames– which offer spectacular views of the coast. Experience the area through hiking or kayaking and treat yourself to fresh, local, organic food at the Wild Coast Restaurant and Sushi bar.
Need to know: The Human Nest has the most spectacular views at Treebones, but it’s not waterproof, so check the weather or bring a tent to set up nearby just in case!
71895 Hwy 1
Big Sur, Ca
Hidden away in the heart of wine country is a little piece of Africa. Spend a night on the Serengeti in their authentic African style tents. The heavy canvas and hardwood floors give the feel of camping, while still boasting essentials like heaters and ceiling fans. A Cottage is also available which has further amenities like a private bathroom, kitchenette, and outdoor seating area (but tents really are the way to go). The highlight of your stay far and away is the abundance of wildlife wandering the safari area.
Need to know: For the parents, since you’re located right in California wine country, a visit to their tasting room for Wine on the Wild Side is a must-try activity.
3115 Porter Creek Rd
Santa Rosa, Ca 95404
Photo: Ashley W. via yelp.com
Big Basin Tent Cabins
Located in the middle of redwood trees in Big Basin State Park, this is as close to camping as you can get without being cold at night. With over 80 miles of trails, the park is a perfect place for little hikers. Picture savvy families will also close to the ocean. Grill up some burgers at night and gather the family around the fire ring for some s’mores.
Need to know: The Camp Store and Gift Shop has an expresso bar that’s open daily for parents who need the extra kick for the day.
Windsong Cottage Guest Yurt
Pick between a guesthouse or a yurt, both with fireplaces and hot tubs for a magical family bonding experience. This unique glamping spot also features cable TV, free wifi and build-in electrical heat for the true relaxers. Don’t forget to start your day right with the complimentary welcome basket filled with fruit, muffins and eggs before hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore.
Need to know: There is a 2 night minimum stay, although one night weekday stays can be arranged for special occasions. This place books fast, so check their calendar in advance!
Where does your family set up camp?
—Sabrina Blardone, Christal Yuen and Erin Feher