Pack the marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers but leave the tent behind! Glamping offers the best of both worlds—the fresh air that you get when you step out of the city without the hassle of gathering all the camping gear and setting it up at your destination. Whether you sleep in a cabin, yurt, Airstream or a fully-outfitted tent that is set up for you, most of these glamping spots include indoor plumbing, actual beds and even WiFi (for those who might not be ready to fully disconnect). You’ll come home relaxed and smelling of campfire—what more could you want?
Mendocino Grove is a newcomer to the glamping scene and they know how to do it right. With 60 fully-outfitted tents with lavish beds, your family will not want to leave once you have arrived. Kids can spend the days enjoying the nearby hiking trails and on-site amenities like cornhole, bocce ball and other games. Campfires and gas barbecues make cooking easy. You can even rent cooking equipment so you don't have to lug your pans with you. Luxurious bathrooms and hot water stations make this a no-brainer for families. Relax on a hammock and enjoy the fresh air. At Mendocino Grove, it's R 'n R at its finest.
9601 California Route 1
Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground
Head south on the 101 and just past San Luis Obispo you'll be in the Santa Ynez Valley, a picturesque spot to plan a weekend getaway. Flying Flags RV Resort and Campground takes glamping to a whole other level with swimming pools, splash park, playground, on-site restaurant, WiFi and even a dog park for Fido. The family-friendly cottages with loft sleep up to six people and include a full kitchen so that you don't have to eat out for every meal. The property also has safari tents, Airstreams and cabins, as well as tent and RV camping spots. Nearby attractions include OstrichLand, wine tasting galore and the adorable town of Solvang.
180 Avenue of the Flags
Come to Santa Rosa for the exotic animals and stay for the one-of-a-kind overnight glamping experience at the Safari West wildlife preserve. The heavy canvas tents—imported from Africa—hardwood floors (albeit polished), and the sounds of wildlife give the feel of camping, while heaters and ceiling fans provide home comforts. While the luxurious bedding is nice, the highlight of the experience for all ages are the more than 800 animals that roam these acres. (Note that the tents are separated from the wildlife for safety reasons.) The on-site Savanna Grill offers indoor and outdoor dining and wines from area vines, as well as Africa.
3115 Porter Creek Rd
Santa Rosa, CA
This off-the-grid spot on the Mendocino Coast offers tranquility like you've never had before. Cabins, yurts and even geodesic domes are scattered around the property to give you privacy and also offer the option of gathering together with multiple families. Some offer kitchenettes for cooking and most are just a short walk to the river. Included in a cabin rental is access to the community house, which is a shared kitchen, living space and bath house for all Oz Farm guests. This working farm also offers a variety of seasonal produce. Request a box for $20 and it will be awaiting your arrival on the farm.
Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Since 1900, guests have made their way to Drakesbad Guest Ranch for some time in nature. Drakesbad's prime location in Lassen Volcanic National Park is only five hours from the Bay Area but a million miles away from the craziness of everyday life. The property offers cabins and bungalows that are perfect for families and all have amazing views of the nearby mountains. There are horses to ride, swings for relaxing, a hot spring-fed pool and nightly campfires. All rooms come with three meals served at the dining hall so you don't have to worry about cooking for the kids. If you are going to be hiking to Boiling Springs Lake to see the bubbling mud pots, you can opt to take a sack lunch with you.
Drakesbad Guest Ranch
14423 Chester Warner Valley Rd, Chester, CA
These 24 tricked-out Airstreams and 10 luxurious canvas tents are all just a 90-minute drive north of San Francisco. The ultimate in retro-luxury, there's no need to bring the sleeping bags as each unit is outfitted with hotel linens that will have you sleeping under the stars in style. In the Airstreams, parents can grab the queen bed while the kids can grab a spot on the sleeper sofa. Need more space? Reserve the Airstream for the parents and a canvas tent for the kids. Relax in the clubhouse next to one of the indoor or outdoor fire pits and grab any essentials you might have forgotten at home. Lawn games, Redwood forest to explore and Wi-Fi are all included in your stay. Grab a Radio Flyer wagon to cart your crew around the property.
14120 Old Cazadero Road
Retreat into the Redwoods at Camp Navarro where your whole crew can enjoy bonfires, archery, hammocks, games and water activities on the Navarro River. Camp Navarro is available to be rented out by groups and offers a variety of sleeping accommodations including teepee tents, cabins and Adriondacks (open air cabins). Just 2 1/2 hours north of San Francisco, the gorgeous Anderson Valley home to Camp Navarro welcomes your group to enjoy the outdoors like you never have before.
901 Masonite Industrial Road
Cloverdale KOA Camping Resort
These cabins right near wine country are perfect for families looking to explore this area without having to shell out the big bucks for a hotel. This KOA offers tons of amenities for those with kids - fire pits, barbecues, swimming pool, ping pong table and even a video arcade. Choose from one and two-bedroom cabins that sleep up to six. Grab a cup of coffee from the on-site coffee stand before you head out on your morning hike.
1166 Asti Ridge Road
Inn Town Campground
Are you a tent, trailer or pillow-top mattress kind of family? Whatever your camping style, the new Inn Town Campground has an option for you, from woodsy tent sites, to spacious RV sites with full hook-ups to the prime glamping sites. There are 15 glamping sites available, and each features a large canvas tent erected on an elevated platform and includes perks like private decks, electric lighting (and outlets) and of course, cozy, fully-made up beds—configurations range from 1 (queen) to 4 (twin) beds. There will even be a stack of fluffy towels waiting for you! Each glamping tent is decorated with an individual theme and unique furnishings, and some are even designated dog friendly. The back decks feature camp chairs and electric lanterns. There are even extra cots available to accommodate bigger broods. Read all about it here.
Inn Town Campground
9 Kidder Ct., Nevada City, CA
Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
This beautiful 1,900-acre state park in the heart of Napa Valley was slated for closure during the state's 2011 budget crisis, and is now managed by the nonprofit organizations that helped save it. It boasts 10 trails that run through coastal redwoods, Douglas firs, big-leaf maples (gorgeous in the fall) and oaks; a spring-fed swimming pool for cooling off on steamy summer days; and an easy bike ride to award-winning wineries. And yurts! The year-round campground has three reservable yurts that sleep up to six people and seven smaller ones that can accommodate a family of four. All include skylights, lockable doors, an outdoor fire pit and picnic table, with bathrooms and showers nearby. Keep your eyes (and ears) out for the six different woodpeckers that call this park home.
3801 St. Helena Hwy
Venture up to Amador County for some glamping along the shore of Lake Camanche. With both cottages and vacation homes available to rent, there's something for families of all sizes. The cottages include fully-equipped kitchens and a large deck for enjoying the outdoors. The vacation homes can accommodate up to 12 people and include a kitchen, washer/dryer, outdoor dining area and even a TV. Lake Camanche offers swimming, watersports, fishing, summer movie nights and more.
North Shore: 2000 Camanche Road, Ione, CA
South Shore: 11700 Wade Lane, Valley Springs, CA
Windsong Guest Yurt
This secluded glamping spot in Point Reyes Station comes with a California king bed and pull-out couch, full kitchen, a wood burning stove and electric heat, and Wi-Fi. With the gorgeous views, abundant nature and nearby attractions, you won't even notice the cable TV. Start your day right with your complimentary welcome basket filled with fruit, muffins and eggs before hiking around Point Reyes National Seashore. At night after the kiddos are off in dreamland, you can stargaze from the hot tub in your private garden. There is a two-night minimum stay, although one night weekday stays can be arranged for special occasions. This place books fast, so check their calendar in advance. If the yurt is booked, ask about the guest house on the same four-acre site.
25 McDonald Lane
Point Reyes Station, CA
Rob Hill Campground
You will have to sleep on the ground in a tent here (unless you bring your double-decker AirBed), but there is something luxurious about camping in a national park without having to leave San Francisco. Take-out for dinner, anyone? There are two group campsites for up to 30 people available at the Presidio's Rob Hill campground above Baker Beach, with its unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and stunning sunsets (and moon sets, if you time it right). Each site includes a stand-up grill and a large fire pit that's perfect for s’mores and campfire songs. The campground is open from April through October, and reservations are available on a rolling basis. Weekends are snapped up fast, but there are still weekday sites available for a summer staycation. Rob Hill’s clean and well-lighted bathrooms and city location make it ideal for first-time campers. If you don’t have your own camping supplies, Sports Basement Presidio has tents, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, camp stoves and more for rent. Read more.
1475 Central Magazine Road
San Francisco, CA
With words like “spa” and “eco-adventure” in the description, you might think Costanoa was a retreat for grown-ups. And you'd be right, but this place understands that kids need a break from the daily grind, too. They’ve even figured out how adults and kids can find their own bliss simultaneously. Drop your kids in a two-hour nature-themed camp on weekends and Wednesdays (ages 6-12), then check into the spa for a massage, head out on the adjacent trails on bike or horse (rentals of both available on site), or just crawl back in bed with a good book (or iPad: even the tent cabins are equipped with free Wi-Fi). There are many levels of "roughing it" here. Tent cabins are perfect for families of three (double bed and twin), with larger cabins to suit larger families, with kitchenettes and showers. There's also a KOA campground on site, for tent and RVs. Shared Comfort Stations throughout the campground offer clean bathrooms, showers and dry saunas. If ensuite bathrooms are a must, book a room in the lodge. Check their activity schedule for fun family-friendly events, like the open-air live music and BBQ on Saturday nights throughout the summer. Follow that up on Sunday morning with a cooked-for-you breakfast and group yoga and head home refreshed and ready for what the week has in store.
2001 Rossi Road at Hwy 1
Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel
Overnighting in a hostel may not seem like "glamping" to some, but the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel does it right. Grab one of the rooms that sleep six and you can bunk together with the kids. The communal kitchen provides ample opportunity to meet other travelers. The on-site hot tub can be reserved for 30 minute increments upon check-in but guests must be at least 7 years old to use it. Walk just north of the hostel and there are some easily-accessible tide pools—perfect for exploring. Swing by downtown Pescadero or Pie Ranch for some tasty grub.
210 Pigeon Point Rd.
Big Basin Tent Cabins
While the tourists still flock en masse to Marin to see the old-growth redwoods, locals know that Big Basin—California's first state park—gives Muir Woods a run for its money in the "Wow!" department. And while Muir Woods is day use only, overnight campers get Big Basin's trees and the 80 miles (!) of trails all to themselves in the "off hours." Their tent cabins are as close to camping you can get without being cold at night, thanks to wood-burning stoves and raised beds with mattress pads. Outside is a traditional camp set-up with a picnic table, fire ring, and space to pitch a tent for older, more adventurous kids. Deluxe Tent Cabins include made beds, bath towels and curtains. Specific cabins can be reserved online up to six months in advance. The well-stocked camp store carries camping supplies, groceries, beer & wine, ice and firewood. Can’t live without your freshly brewed morning espresso? They’ve got that, too. Plus picnic supplies for your afternoon hike (or marathon reading session).
21600 Big Basin Way
Boulder Creek, CA
Big Sur's heavenly mix of forested mountains, rugged coastline and lack of cell service make it the ideal locale for getting away. But even if you wanted to sleep on the ground in a tent, scoring a summer spot in the popular Pfieffer Big Sur State Park can feel like trying to win the lottery. Just up the road, and with access to the same trees and beautiful coastal amentinies, is the Fernwood Resort. Their tent cabins run alongside the Big Sur river, and come with raised beds, picnic tables and fire pits, and access to the camp store and the Fernwood Bar & Grill (which has Wi-Fi), for when you don't feel like grilling. Their Adventure Tents are a step up from the more basic Tent Cabins, and include electric heat and linens. They accommodate only two "glampers," so you'll need to stash the kids with the grandparents for the weekend. Tent and RV sites, cabins and a motel round out the offerings here.
It's hard to top a stay in one of the fully furnished yurts at Big Sur's Treebones Resort. These circular fabric-covered structures with wood lattice frames offer private decks, breathtaking ocean and mountain vistas and an ideal jumping off point for coastal exploration, on foot or by kayak. The Wild Coast Restaurant and Sushi bar offers fresh, local, organic food. Yurts large enough to host a family are booked well in advance—weekends are especially scarce—so do plan ahead. Also, kids must be over age 6 to stay at Treebones.
71895 Hwy 1
Big Sur, CA
Where’s your favorite glamping spot? Let us know below!
—Kate Loweth & Sarah Orody