California Camping and Glamping

Doctors, nature-lovers and wellness lifestyle influencers have shared the same battle cry — and in the case of the latter, hashtag — for years, “get outside.” Well, thanks to our still ongoing global pandemic, as a people this is likely the most “outside” we have been since before the Industrial Revolution.

We eat outside, we drink outside, we watch movies outside, we take classes outside, work out outside, and sleep outside, too. Even in the pre-Covid world, interest in camping had been ramping up as our attachment to electronic devices grew increasingly worrisome. Ironically, the very thing we were trying to escape from is the same thing helping us achieve our outdoors goal.

Are you looking to kind of get away from it all? It’s a mere tap away. Here are the top booking sites for your next camping adventure.

Featured Photo: Scott Goodwill
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Photo: Rock formations outside Joshua Tree NPS by John Ko

Bewilder

From challenging and rewarding excursions to chill and relaxing trips, Bewilder publishes tons of free and comprehensive camping and backpacking trip itineraries. Looking for a camping spot blooming with wildflowers, alpine lakes, and pine forests? Take a trip to Jennie Lakes Wilderness and enjoy 10,500 acres and 26 miles of hiking trails, with four of those routes venturing south to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Trails will get busy on warm, summer weekends, but plan a visit during the spring and you’ll get to experience a classic Sierra landscape, a high-altitude adventure and tranquil getaway all in one trip.

In addition to itineraries, the site also offers checklists and important info about how to reserve campgrounds, snag permits, and offers group trips. In late October, they are hosting a family group outing at an exclusive campground in Joshua Tree National Park. It’s happening October 29 – 31, 2021 and the event is specially designed for families who are new to the outdoors. bewilder.camp

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Photo: Glamping Hub Cabin in Cazadero

Glamping Hub

Founded in the Bay Area, Glamping Hub is another site that helps facilitate the campout of your dreams. Started in San Francisco by David Troya and Ruben Martinez, the site skews more toward glamour than camping and lets potential guests narrow their search in three ways: types of glamping, destinations, and collections. “Families’ ideas of vacation are changing and traditional camping is a big investment,” says Martinez. “This way you get to enjoy Mother Nature and be comfortable.”

After playing around with the features for a few minutes you come to a conclusion, and it’s that you can basically glamp anywhere. Destinations can be booked in over 80 countries, with more than 400 opportunities in California alone. Some of the collections are larger and all encompassing like best luxury camping in the United States, or very niche like unique yurt rentals near Monument Valley. Looking for a pet or family-friendly cabin? There’s an entire portal dedicated to that. glampinghub.com

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Photo: Mosquito Flats by Joss Woodhead

Hipcamp

Hipcamp offers campsites at all National, State, Regional and Army Corps of Engineer sites in all 50 States. An easy-to-use website lets prospective campers browse by location, view user photos, and get a concise rundown of activities and features available at each site. Think TripAdvisor, but prettier. It even provides unorthodox guides for the truly adventurous that explore topics like the best leaves to use if you have no toilet paper and how to get it on outdoors. Additionally, if you’re fortunate enough to be sitting on scenic parcel, or having problems affording said parcel, the Hipcamp people are always looking for great new properties and encourage you to list your land, or refer a friend for a nice credit.

This year the company teamed up with REI to make booking and enjoying outdoor stays even easier for everyone. This collaboration does a lot more than help people book their next outdoor adventure. With Hipcamp’s unique access to more than 1.7 million acres of private land across the nation, and REI’s gear guides and expertise, more people can try camping for the first time. REI members can also access special pricing on rentals for their next trip with Hipcamp. hipcamp.com

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Photo: Tommy Lisbin

Ready to get outside? Listen to a local expert.

Today, Hipcamp has over 420,000 listings of tiny houses, RVs, yurts and campsites. Here are founder Alyssa Ravasio’s tips for your best Bay Area getaway yet.

Escape the crowds.

Find your zen with mid-week microadventures. Mare Island Preserve, Kirby Cove, Angel Island… there are lots of camps that are accessible by public transportation or even a short bike ride.

Work from nature.

Find a spot with WiFi (you can filter by this on Hipcamp!) Search for small cabins, unique structures with amenities and treat yourself to working from nature one or multiple days if you can.

No tent, no problem.

Find camps that have amenities provided aka glamping (you can filter by this as well), and don’t let having gear be a barrier to getting outside. There are also local companies that make gear rental so simple, and affordable. 

That applies to National Parks, too.

You can still enjoy Yosemite for the weekend and other National Parks without a campsite in the park! Find best camping near national parks here

Go to lesser known places.

New Cuyama just 4 hours south of the Bay Area has incredible camping and outdoor access. Create a nature or camping goals list to push yourself to get outside more.

Traffic sucks.

Leave before 3pm on Friday or before 7am Saturday.

Be mindful of the heat.

Driving simply an hour outside of the Bay Area might bring temps of 80-100+. Find water, and camp near it!

Don’t overthink or over plan.

Find last-minute camping options on Hipcamp. Thousands of new acres for camping are added every month across the US. 

Additionally, check out the Comprehensive List of Camping Hacks on the Hipcamp Journal.

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

You so deserve a vacation. 

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