Glamping in Southern California

Glamping in Southern CaliforniaI love camping, as in, I love being out in nature. But I actually don’t really love setting up a tent, sleeping on a half inflated air mattress (I mean they never stay inflated for the whole night right?) or cooking on a one pot stove or an open flame (anything besides a s’more that is!).

What I like to do instead these days is go glamping California style.  What is glamping you ask? Basically, glamping is the combination of a natural experience of the outdoors with more glamorous amenities (aka having a bed!). This can be as simple as a canvas tent in nature with a real bed tucked away inside or it can go a few steps further and include things like prepared meals, spa treatments and more. What all glamping experiences seem to have in common however, is a getaway in nature with some comforts of home.

Our family loves being outdoors and experiencing nature in as many ways as we can, but not always roughing it! Here are our some of our top picks for glamping in Southern California with (or without!) children.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

El Capitan Canyon

Glamping California is one of the best ways to see the state especially at El Capitan

Photo via El Capitan Canyon

El Capitan Canyon is the granddaddy of California glamping. Everyone has heard of it and knows someone who has been. It is the perfect glamping option for families in that it offers everything from regular tent camping, safari style tents and wood cabins. They also have yurts which your kids will think are super cool!

You can do as much or as little in the way of traditional camping here. It is recommended to bring your own charcoal and/or firewood for your personal fire pit, however it is sold at the Canyon Market as are s’more and full meal kits. Or better yet, forget cooking dinner over the fire, just head down to the Canyon Market & Deli for your breakfast, lunch and dinner! The little wooden shack sports organic groceries, wines, entertainment items, locally created clothes and jewelry as well as your must have latte and packed lunches. As you can imagine, it serves as the social hub for the canyon.

This is the place to go if you are interested in getting a bit more into nature, but not so interested in all that goes with it. Prices start from $145 in low season and $170 in summer.

Glamping California Style at Joshua Tree

Glamping in Southern California is amazing in the desert of Joshua TreeThe desert is the perfect place to go glamping and due to the wonderfully artistic community that resides in the Joshua Tree area, there are a ton of amazing options for glamping. Most of the available options are one off places listed on Airbnb.com, but here are a few to help your search along.

We love Lisa’s adobe brick huts at Bonita Domes. While this may not be for everyone, it’s a great adventure in getting off the grid and experiencing life like it would have been way back when. These are conveniently located near Joshua Tree National Park so that you don’t waste any time driving to and from the park if that is your destination.

Glamping in Southern CaliforniaWant something a little more luxurious? Check out this totally off the grid Joshua Tree retreat near Pioneertown. Guests say they hear the coyotes howling amid the Joshua Tree forest. Cultus Camp as it’s called offers total privacy with only the 1 tent. It is glamping at it’s finest with is a modern bathhouse and a kitchen stocked with a variety of teas and coffee. In addition, there are two private bathrooms and an outdoor shower with a view. What more can you ask for?

Want to do a little stargazing on your adventure? These amazing tents in Yucca Valley at the Lazy Sky Boutique Retreat might be right up your alley. Here you will be joined by campers in the other 4 tents which makes it a great place for several families to go together. While you won’t have running water in your tent, there is a kitchen house and bathhouse for all you need to do. This is true glamping California style.

Keough’s Hot Springs

Glamping in Southern California

Photo via Flickr

Take a step back in time at Keough’s Hot Springs. This wonderful hidden gem is located outside Bishop off scenic Hwy 395. The main draw here for visitors and locals alike are the hot spring pools. These pools were built in 1919 and are the same ones used today.  The large pool is kept at 86-89 degrees in the summer and 90-92 in the winter, while the hot pool is kept at 104 degrees year round.  Both of these get their water from an actual hot springs flowing from the ground that is fed into a spray system that looks like a waterfall in the larger pool, cooling as it comes down. The water is loaded with minerals which they say is great for the body.

Apart from the pools, Keough’s Hot Springs is a perfect stop on a road trip along Hwy 395 or as it’s own destination. There is space for tent and RV camping as well as canvas tents available for those looking to spend some time here. Each tent cabin is equipped with a mini-fridge, heater, outdoor fire pit and of course beds with down comforters. This is definitely not a luxury destination and the reasonable prices reflect that. Note – during the Fall when leaves are changing colors, rooms are sold out quickly.

Flying Flags in BuelltonFlying flags in Buellton is one of the best spots for glamping in Southern California

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground in Buellton is a fun place to glamp with vintage trailers, airstreams, cabins, cottages and luxury tents to rent. You can also pitch your own tent or park your RV here for some time to unwind in the surrounding area. On-site amenities include a heated swimming pool, hot tub, splash zones, playground, fire pits, picnic tables, BBQ grills and much more. There is even free Wi-Fi throughout the park for those of you who cannot unplug.

This area of the Central Coast (OK so not technically Southern California!) offers so much for visitors with access to Lake Cachuma, Los Padres National Forest, Solvang, wine tasting and more. This is also a great place to stop en route to Northern California.

Yurts at Lake Cachuma

Glamping in Southern CaliforniaThe ultimate in family camping fun will be had in the yurts at Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County. The yurts are a cross between a tent and a tepee, featuring beds to sleep 3-6, a lockable door, lights and electrical outlets. It is recommended to bring all the necessities of tent camping, just not the tent.

When booking your yurt pay special attention to how close or far your yurt is to the bathroom and/or playground. If you go with kids, try to stay near to the playground to avoid having to trek back and forth (because you know that’s what will happen!).

In addition to the yurts, Lake Cachuma also offers 8 wooden cabins including bathrooms and kitchenettes for an even better glamping experience. Prices are quite reasonable for both the yurts and cabins, which means they book up quickly. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance. For summer months and holiday weekends, book well in advance.

Looking for a tech free, rejuvenating couples getaway, check out the exclusive yurts and Airstream at Wellspring Ranch

Cabins at Jalama Beach

Glamping California Style - on the beach!The cabins at Jalama Beach, located just north of Santa Barbara are booked through the same site as the Lake Cachuma cabins and yurts listed above. There are three large cabins (sleep 6) and four medium cabins (sleep 4) perched on a hill with spectacular views over the ocean from the porch. The wooden cabins all have electricity, bathrooms, kitchenettes, living rooms, private porches and fire pits. All you need to provide is your sleeping bags, pillows and groceries. If you don’t feel like cooking, there is an on site cafe that has good basic food on offer. As noted above, cabins book up quickly, so plan well in advance!

KOA Ventura Ranch

Glamping in Southern CaliforniaKOA Ventura Ranch, nestled at the foot of Ventura County’s highest mountain provides a range of camping and glamping opportunities for families looking to get out into nature without all of the work. Guests can go rustic (tent camping) to Indian styled teepees with beds to the deluxe cabin with electricity, all while enjoying a forest setting close to a creek with plenty of wildlife, beautiful views and only 15 miles to the beach.

One of the main draws of KOA camping sites are the vast amount of family friendly amenities available. With arts and crafts, a huge jumping pillow, playground, zip lining and organized nature walks, your family will be busy enjoying time together in a beautiful setting. We love this location as well since it’s a great option for glamping near Los Angeles and there is a ton to do in Ventura County.

Hicksville

Glamping in Southern California

Photo courtesy of Hicksville

Hicksville has two wonderful locations for people looking to get out into nature – one just outside of Joshua Tree National Park and one in the beautiful hills of Idyllwild. The “secret” Joshua Tree location consists of an amazingly awesome set-up of themed trailers, ranging from western themes (The Pioneer), sci-fi (The Integratrailor) and of course the downright crazy (the Pony Stall or glowing wig heads in the Fifi). The trailers are all centered around a small pool and hot tub area with lots of cool activities for everyone. Read the descriptions on the trailers carefully as some have shared bathrooms and/or no AC.

Glamping in Southern CaliforniaIn Idyllwild, the Hicksville Pines Chalet & Motel also provides unique accommodation options ranging from 3 bedroom apartments to unique rooms like the Christmas Tree room and the Nerds place with bunk beds for the kids! Just like at the Joshua Tree location, there is an abundance of cool things to do such as the tipi with a firepit, a rec room for game time and of course a hot tub for those cold nights.

While these accommodation options may not include all of the luxury some of the other options here may provide, it will undoubtably lead to a very fun weekend away with lots of stories to share. Another great option for glamping near Los Angeles and San Diego.

AutoCamp

Glamping in Southern CaliforniaNot quite what you might be thinking, no tents necessary here. AutoCamp is a unique type of lodging experience.  Instead of car camping with a tent, your home will be a modern, luxuriously outfitted Airstream minutes from downtown Santa Barbara. The Santa Barbara location is not as nature inspired as some of the other glamping recommendations, however it is inspired by camping on a great American road trip.

First established in 1922, this camping location was where old world travelers stopped for an overnight while traveling up and down the Pacific Coast Highway. This is a perfect stop for your own modern day family road trip along the PCH. Each Airstream sleeps up to 4 comfortably with prices starting at $200 a night. If you happen to be in Northern California, check out their awesome location on the Russian River.

Treebones

Glamping in Southern California

Photo courtesy of Treebones Resort

The Treebones Resort is a premier exclusive glamping resort located in the Central Coast of California (so not quite southern California!). Located in one of the most beautiful sections of California, this is the ideal glamping retreat for couples and small families with children over 6 years old. With only 2 family yurts, families need to book well in advance. In addition to the yurts, there are also campsites for your own tent camping as well as the unique ‘human nest’ campsites.

If you really want a special experience, treat yourself to the luxurious 500 square foot cocoon tent perched on the edge of the property with out of this world sunset views. All stays at the resort include a buffet breakfast, use of the pool and hot tub as well as the 24 hour shower and restroom facilities. Treebones is a real treat and one of the top notch resorts for a luxurious glamping experience.

Glamping Hub

Glamping in Southern California

Photo courtesy of Glamping Hub

None of the above options meet your needs? Head over to Glamping Hub to search for some of the best, most unique accommodation options throughout California. Glamping Hub has accommodation options ranging from the rustic tepee and yurts to Airstream trailers, to luxurious cabins nestled high in the mountains. Think of this as your nature inspired home away from home with the added bonus that each of the listings were handpicked for their amazingness. Glamping Hub provides beautiful accommodation options located across the globe, with a great number of extraordinary properties located right here in California.

Do you have a favorite glamping site that we have not included? Please share it with us below. We are always on the hunt for unique places to stay and share with you all!

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GLAMPING in Southern California

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13 Responses to “Glamping in Southern California”

  1. TriskPatrick Says:

    I always love accounts of some great camping places in my home state. I still remember the fun we had in a group of 7 at the El Capitan. I didn’t know much about the Ventura Ranch. Got to add it to the list.
    TriskPatrick recently posted…Best canister stoves for camping and backpacking in 2017My Profile

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  2. Fabian Keresztfalvi Says:

    Very useful info! Thanks for sharing!
    Fabian Keresztfalvi recently posted…Montreal | 6 months in Canada | Part IIIMy Profile

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  3. George Ashley Says:

    What a great list.. Thank you for sharing.

    I loved a few of these places but the one I like the most is the Glamping Hub and hopefully, I will get to travel there one day. But reading about it definitely made me want to check it out so thank you for adding in your list 🙂
    George Ashley recently posted…Best Binoculars For Hunting [Top 5 Choices For 2017]My Profile

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  4. GiGi Eats Says:

    Ha! Never even knew these existed! They look like something even I could be down with – and I HATE camping! lol

    Reply

  5. Anna Says:

    I live in Sweden and I dream of visiting California during the summer (that might be all year, I’m not sure). There is so much I’d like to see: The architecture, theme parks, LA and much, much more. I’m thinking of renting a car and drive along the coast and see where I land. Great post btw 😉

    Reply

  6. Heather Says:

    Wow, these accommodations are lovely! I would definitely like to visit those hot springs, and the autumn crowd might be worth it just for the views. Thanks for this list!

    Reply

  7. Jason Says:

    We gave up tent camping after 2 years and started glamping in an RV. I love the time away while still having some of the conveniences of home. Some of these places like the Treebones yurts look amazing for someone without an RV.
    Jason recently posted…Best wireless rear view camera for travel trailer or 5th wheelMy Profile

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  8. Tony Says:

    Saw your blog because me and my wife were researching where to spend our 21st Wedding Anniversary. Sadly Napa is still smoldering and alot of the smoke is still in the valley and along the coast. We decided on Hicksville. The cabins look fun and adventurous!

    Reply

    • kkowen Says:

      So sad about everything happening in Napa and Sonoma. Such amazing places up there. Hicksville is great though. Hope you have a great trip.

      Reply

  9. Porter Says:

    Really wonderful! Very nice place to spend with a lot of entertainment.

    Reply

  10. Sharon Says:

    Hi Karilyn, thanks for the great tips, reviews, and hints, including your article on Glamping in Southern California.

    Pictures are really excellent also.

    It certainly helps when we can read a blog such as yours, and be guided by it. Many adventures to be had by all.

    Cheers Sharon…
    Sharon recently posted…Best Beach Towels – Do you like absorbent & oversized? You’ll love theseMy Profile

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  11. Gayle Says:

    We have a Glamping tent of our own. Do you by chance have space for putting up your own tent.

    Reply

  12. Pop up canopies Says:

    Having these items would definitely make it a glamping trip! I bet you’d feel like Tom Haverford if you had all of them. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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