Stargazing and s'mores without having to sleep on the ground.
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Glamping Accommodations at Ventana Campground in Big Sur, California
Credit: Courtesy of SeeMonterey.com

For many travelers, camping is one of those experiences that sounds better in theory. But when the cover of night comes, not everyone wants to pitch a tent, stoke a fire, and be on bear watch. Some things are just better left for scout troops and Jack London novels. However, that doesn't mean you have to hole up indoors and miss all the natural beauty that exists in the Golden State, from old-growth redwood forests and dramatic coastal cliffs to verdant vineyards and otherworldly desert landscapes.

Thanks to the incredible array of California glamping destinations, sleeping under the stars no longer means attempting to snooze on the ground while rocks dig into your back. It's not necessary to trek to the remote reaches of the wilderness to get immersed in nature either. The many glamping options throughout California make it easy, convenient, and — dare we say — chic to plan an outdoorsy getaway that doesn't skimp on creature comforts.

Another big draw of glamping is the eco-conscious aspect. It's more sustainable than staying at a resort and offers many of the same perks (think: high-thread-count sheets, USB chargers, private decks, yoga classes, saunas, and Wi-Fi). That's enticing if you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint and still enjoy a hot shower and good night's sleep. And, obviously, the appeal of being surrounded by plants rather than throngs of people can't be overstated. Getting out into nature is a great way to relax and recharge.

Whether you want to post up in a solar-powered tent on the coast, an iconic Airstream trailer nestled in a redwood grove, or a tiny cabin in Big Bear, here are the 23 best places to go glamping in California.

Huttopia Paradise Springs — Valyermo

The perfect escape for nature-starved Angelenos, Huttopia Paradise Springs, the glamping company's first West Coast outpost, is located inside Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, just 90 minutes from Los Angeles. The wood and canvas glamping tents are equipped with electricity, private bathrooms, camp kitchens, barbecues, and eco-friendly toiletries, so all you need to pack are your hiking boots and bug spray.

Ventana Campground — Big Sur

Glamping Accommodations at Ventana Campground in Big Sur, California
Credit: Courtesy of SeeMonterey.com

Imagine rising from bed (a custom-designed mattress, no less) after a restful sleep and pulling back the flaps of a sturdy canvas tent to reveal behemoth redwood trees. That's how days begin at Ventana Campground. And though some might scoff at the thought of communal washrooms, when the shared facilities include teak showers, heated floors, and aromatherapy bath products, it's still quite posh by glamping standards.

Costanoa Lodge Tent Bungalows — Pescadero

If you're not into the idea of roughing it, reserve one of the Cypress Village Tent Bungalows at Costanoa Lodge. Each premium accommodation has electricity, heat, a queen-size bed with down bedding, Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping service, and hot tub access. Plus, this is the first time we've heard of a shared bathroom facility that includes indoor hot showers, heated concrete floors, and a dry sauna.

Mendocino Grove — Mendocino

Glamping Accommodations at Mendocino Grove in Mendocino, California
Credit: Courtesy of Mendocino Grove

Mendocino Grove is something of a NorCal glamping institution. Spacious tents have heated beds and private redwood platforms with leather butterfly chairs. There are two communal bathhouses with both indoor and outdoor showers and organic bath products. Guests can also make use of the bocce court, yoga classes, hammocks, and board games.

Vintage Glamping Trailer — Chatsworth

For a private (not to mention incredibly photogenic) glamping getaway, skip the resort and book this vintage 1954 riveted aluminum trailer that's perched on its own platform overlooking San Fernando Valley. The perfect indoor-outdoor living setup, it has plenty of practical amenities (among them air-conditioning, electricity, Wi-Fi, and hot water) and cozy spaces to hang out both inside the camper and on the deck.

Wildhaven Sonoma — Healdsburg

Interior of the accommodations at Wildhaven Sonoma in Healdsburg, California
Credit: Courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism

A short drive from many of the best wineries in the area sits Wildhaven Sonoma, a respite of tranquility where glamping means staying in a tent that's outfitted with a cozy bed and electricity, lounging in a hammock, telling campfire stories, and nightly stargazing. Oh, and there's an on-site shop to buy s'more kits and local vino.

Camp'd Out Joshua Tree Experience — Joshua Tree

La Quinta Resort & Club partnered with Camp'd Out to create an elevated and exclusive glamping overnight in Joshua Tree National Park. In terms of levels of luxury, this outranks the rest courtesy of round-trip transport, butler service, a decked-out tent, and a fireside dinner prepared by a private chef under the stars.

Safari West — Santa Rosa

Glamping Accommodations and deck at Safari West in Santa Rosa, California
Credit: Ray Mabry/Courtesy of Safari West

Situated on a 400-acre wilderness preserve that's home to 90 different animal species, Safari West promises to bring the Serengeti to Sonoma. Overnight guests get to go on game drives with vino (it's wine country, after all) and stay in raised safari tents complete with hardwood floors, ceiling fans, rattan furnishings, en suite bathrooms, and decks for wildlife viewing.

Autonomous Tent at Treebones Resort Big Sur — Big Sur

Love the idea of an unplugged escape, but can never manage to actually turn off your phone? The lack of cell reception and limited Wi-Fi at Treebones Resort Big Sur might actually be the push you need. Spend your time relishing the simple yet posh pleasures of a private solar-powered luxury tent with an en suite bathroom and soaking in the ocean views.

The Castle House Estate — Joshua Tree

Exterior of the accommodations at The Castle House Estate in Joshua Tree, California
Credit: Courtesy of Castle House Estate

The beautifully designed yurts at The Castle House Estate, which look like something you'd see at a luxury Bedouin camp in Morocco, feature electricity, queen-size beds with 1,600-thread-count sheets, hand-loomed carpets, and pools. Sure, the outdoor bathroom may take some getting used to, but we're confident you'll warm up to it quickly.

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground — Buellton

Traveling with the kids or a crew who requires constant entertainment? Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground in the Santa Ynez Valley is a great pick. On the property, you'll discover three outdoor pools, hot tubs, a splash pad, a playground, bocce courts, cabins, glamping tents, and refurbished vintage trailers. It's also in proximity to tons of wineries, fruit orchards, and hiking trails.

AutoCamp Joshua Tree — Joshua Tree

Autocamp Joshua Tree site rendering
Credit: Courtesy of Autocamp

Besides the awesome tent and Airstream accommodations, a huge round of applause goes out to AutoCamp Joshua Tree for having some of the coolest amenities around. Learn about local flora and fauna from a desert ecologist or zen out with yoga and mindful meditation in the Mojave Dome. How great do golden hour, sommelier-led wine tastings, and live music under the stars sound?

Getaway Big Bear — Running Springs

Tucked away on 60 acres of Southern California wilderness, Getaway Big Bear boasts sleek, minimally minded, tiny cabins with heaps of contemporary touches — a cellphone lockbox, minifridge, two-burner stovetop, shower, toilet, queen-size bed, air-conditioning, and heat. It's an ideal choice if you're still wary of tents, no matter how structurally sound. (It's a baby-friendly setup, too.)

Boon Glamping — Guerneville

Glamping Accommodations at Boon Glamping in Guerneville, California
Credit: Courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism

The only problem with glamping at Boon is having to decide between a luxury tent and vintage "lovebug" camper. Both come with platform beds, firm mattresses, organic Coyuchi linens and towels, a yummy breakfast delivered to your door, and Malin+Goetz toiletries to use in the shared outdoor bathroom. Either way, you can't go wrong. Plus, it's a 21+ property, so leave the kiddos at home.

Oceanside RV Resort — Oceanside

You don't need an RV to stay at Oceanside RV Resort. Fresh off the heels of a massive refresh, the solar-powered property has a sparkling new pool, hot tub, laundry room facilities, and bathhouses, plus glamping tent sites with modern beds, Wi-Fi, minifridges, Keurig coffee machines, and large decks. Plus, it's within walking distance of the beach.

Sonoma Treehouse Adventures — Occidental

The treehouse accommodations at Sonoma Treehouse Adventure in Occidental, California
Credit: Courtesy of Sonoma County Tourism

If your childhood fantasy was to live in a tree house, your adult self can easily turn that into a reality — at least for one night. For adventure enthusiasts, the prospect of zip lining through soaring redwoods is just too good to pass up. To calm your nerves after all that high-flying fun? Slumbering in a tranquil tree house with panoramic forest views.

The Pioneer's Penthouse — Temecula

You certainly won't be roughing it a la pioneers of the past, but The Pioneer's Penthouse does still have plenty of rugged charm mixed in with bohemian flair. Set on 10 acres of pine trees and wide-open space, the canvas tent site is tricked out with a comfy bed, cozy throw blankets, a cast-iron cooking stove, fire pit, and wooden ice chest.

Inn Town Campground — Nevada City

Glamping Accommodations at the Inn Town Campground in Nevada City, California
Credit: Erin Thiem/Courtesy of Inn Town Campground

Don't let the name turn you off — Inn Town Campground isn't just for real-deal rugged types. It also has glamping accommodations. Are the furnished canvas tents the most glamorous of the bunch? No, but they're comfortable, equipped with queen-size beds, nice linens, electricity, and private porches. Plus, they come with access to the common camp store, kitchen, showers, laundry, and barbecue area.

Safari Sunset Eco Glamping — Vista

When luxury, sustainability, and unwinding are of equal importance, it can be hard to find a place that checks all the boxes. There's no need to compromise when staying in this free-standing safari eco tent, which features solar-powered electric and hot water, a compostable toilet, sumptuous bedding, and a hammock. Peering out at South African sugarbushes and fruit trees is a beautifully transportive bonus.

AutoCamp Russian River — Guerneville

Airstream campsite
Credit: Courtesy of Autocamp

AutoCamp Russian River guests get to snooze in a luxury tent, classic Airstream, or miniature Happier Camper, ride around on complimentary Linus bicycles, and suds it up with Ursa Major bath products (there are communal bathrooms in the clubhouse). Need provisions? The on-site general store sells local cheeses and other nibbles, beer, and wine.

El Capitan Canyon — Santa Barbara

El Capitan Canyon adventure yurt exterior
Credit: Courtesy of El Capitan Canyon

Hugged by 2,500 acres of protected parkland, El Capitan Canyon is home to a trio of awesome glamping accommodations, plus a solar-heating pool and miles of hiking trails. We're particularly partial to the yurts, which feature electricity, picnic tables handmade from fallen trees, and domed skylights that allow for stargazing without leaving your queen-size bed.

Wylder Hotel Hope Valley — Hope Valley

Wylder Hope Valley Airstream trailer
Credit: Ren Fuller

Lodgings options at Wylder Hotel Hope Valley's riverside campground range from cabins to Scandinavian-inspired yurts to 28-foot restored vintage Spartans. Can't decide? Split your time between the three — all of which give off glamping vibes, but with a bit more emphasis on the glamor side of things.

The Camp at Carmel Valley — Carmel Valley

Interior of the accommodations at The Camp at Carmel Valley in Carmel Valley, California
Credit: Courtesy of The Camp at Carmel Valley

The Camp at Carmel Valley is basically a summer camp vacation for the entire family. Campers of all ages shack up in rustic cabins with queen or twin beds sans power (for reference, the bathhouses have electricity and hot water), chow down on canteen cuisine, and participate in activities like tennis, hiking, swimming, archery, and campfire singalongs.