Get the starry nights, the campfire stories, the cozy sleeping bag, and all the best parts of camping in some of California’s most beautiful settings—but without the hassle of hauling loads of gear into the backcountry. These glamping (short for “glamour camping”) destinations give you the best of both worlds—a back-to-nature break from everyday life, but enough comfort that you won’t wake up with a sore back and covered in mosquito bites. And the settings? The hardest part will be choosing which one to head out for first.
There’s Treebones Resort, for instance, which boasts alternative accommodations perched on wind-swept bluffs overlooking the Pacific. Or, head to an overnight safari trip amidst African wildlife at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, or spend a night under desert stars at the Living Desert near Palm Springs. If you are looking to spend time further north, try a stay under sequoias with five-course meals included at Sequoia High Sierra Camp, or maybe a few nights in one of the eco-friendly tent-cabins of Costanoa Lodge?
For the uber-active, there are the zip-lines and climbing walls offered at KOA Ventura Ranch. For the nostalgic, there’s the all-Airstream hotel AutoCamp, with locations currently in Santa Barbara and Sonoma County, and another opening in 2019 in Yosemite. And finally, the coastline-kissing campground at El Capitan Canyon, where you can choose between cedar cabins and safari tents on wooden platforms.
For most locations, everything, including bedding and meals, are included, though some sites require you to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow.