Oodles of sunny days each year, sparkling beaches, palm-lined promenades, rolling deserts with some of the clearest night skies going – there are countless reasons to choose glamping in Southern California over more conventional types of stays. This guide can help you get to grips with what to expect from this off-beat accommodation type, all while offering some inspiration on the top SoCal spots for getting out and about.
Unforgettable locations for glamping in Southern California
Cacti-sprouting deserts, carved canyons, dust-billowing plains, craggy mountains, and – of course – some of the most stunning coastline in the United States all converge on the lower reaches of the Golden State. The result? Some truly awesome spots to go glamping in Southern California…
Joshua Tree National Park
Behind the sierras that encircle LA and past the festival grounds of Coachella, you can discover one of SoCal's real wildernesses with a glamping tent that puts you in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park. It's a wonderous place, awash with anthropomorphic boulders, rock arches, and some of the best stargazing this side of Hawaii.
Surf-side spots in Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a mix of elegant Spanish missions from centuries gone by, rising mountains that hide vineyards and chaparral ridges, and simply awesome beaches washed by equally awesome surf. It's also a haven for glamping in Southern California, what with retro RVs, campervans, and yurts dotting its cliffs and state parks.
Opt for glamping in Los Angeles
One sure way to keep the cost of a trip to the City of Angels nice and low is to switch out a hotel or villa for glamping. There are all sorts of cool and curious options dotting the metropolis. Most hide out in the breezy pines of the Angeles National Forest and the San Bernardino Mountains, where you'll be close to natural draws like the Hollywood Sign and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
Planning different glamping trips to Southern California
Glamping in California can cater to a whole load of backpackers and globetrotters. Infusing a jaunt to the wild deserts and stunning coasts, the sierras and even buzzing cities, with a touch of style and class, it could just be the sort of vacation escape you've been looking for…
Glamping in Southern California for couples
One thing that helps glamping in Southern California stand out from all those surf-side villas and sleek condos is how easy it is to find real seclusion and privacy in these stays. On top of that, glamorous camping sometimes means enticing luxuries are included – think hot tubs and panoramic deck areas with fire pits. The upshot? These rentals are a doozy for couples wanting to get the romance going.
A surfer's escape to SoCal
From the pier-side peaks of Ocean Beach in San Diego to the glitzy coves of Malibu, Southern California packs in some of the most iconic surf spots known to humankind. Glamping spots in the region offer a chance to sleep just a stone's throw from some of them, so you can be the first in the line up come morning. Seek out yours in places like El Capitan and Santa Barbara for top picks.
There's plenty for adventurers
Glamping in Southern California is a great cure for the city blues. If you're pining after a getaway that's all about mother nature and the wilds, you might just have found what you're looking for. Even close to Los Angeles there are oodles of glamp options that have walking routes on the doorstep, like those near the San Gorgonio Wilderness or the spear-like fir trees of Morton Peak.
What glamping in Southern California is there?
One of the great things about glamping in California is that you never quite know what to expect from your accommodation. One rental could be a long-lost yurt up with the sequoia groves of the Santa Ynez peaks, another might be a salt-washed surf shack perched on the sandy hills of San Diego. A taster of just a few glamping choices is below.
Yurts are a great way to ensure you get all the creature comforts of a hotel room while still being immersed in the backcountry of Southern California. Inspired by the homes of Central Asian nomads, they are warm and sturdy, with loads of square footage to fit in king-sized beds and log-fired stoves.
Don't worry – glamping in a tent isn't going to be your usual pitch up. Expect plusher tentalows with high ceilings and even fitted kitchens, or creative big tops brimming with sofas and sprawling bedspreads, that are the norm here.
Glamping pods with a difference
A glamping pod is a version of a cabin, only they tend to be more compact, easier to set up, and convenient for tucking into the nooks and crannies of Southern California's sierras and forests. Consider one of these stays if you want to have the security of four walls and a roof, but also want to be out in the middle of nowhere.