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About five hours north of Los Angeles and a few hours south of San Francisco, right along the famed stretch of road known as Highway 1, visitors will find some of the most well-preserved woodlands and rugged coastline in the state. And while there are many worthy hotels and B&Bs to spend an evening in around Big Sur, the best way to see it is to spend your days and nights with Mother Nature by camping.
But hang on a second, we aren’t talking about pitching your own tent, cooking up a can of beans over the fire, and zipping yourself into a frigid sleeping bag at night. Instead, you can tuck yourself into a high-end glamping experience in one of these seven luxury campsites. Just a fair warning: You’ll never want to go home after spending a night under the California stars.
Ventana Big Sur
Ventana is already well-known as one of the most luxurious places to stay in the region, however, its glamping experience truly takes comfort and style to an entirely new level. At Ventana, guests can book a stay at one of its bespoke glamping sites, which includes a safari-style tent complete plush bed covered in premium linens. Each site also comes with its own fire pit and s’mores kit (yes, it’s filled with Hershey’s) as well as full bathrooms available at the campsite’s bathhouse. Those who crave even more solitude can book one of the Canyon Glampsites, which are removed from the rest of the Redwood Glampsites. These sites are only accessible only by foot, however, the small hike is worth it and rewards you with unparalleled views of the surrounding redwoods. This immersive natural experience is exclusive, private, and seemingly a world away. (Book here)
Glen Oaks Big Sur
For a bit more of a rustic vibe check into Glen Oaks Big Sur, a motor lodge dating back to 1957. The lodge comes with several stand-alone cabins sprinkled inside the wooded area. Each one comes with a comfortable bed covered in Pendelton blankets, a private wood-stocked firepit, a modern bath, and even heated tile floors. Each cabin was also thoughtfully designed to minimize its eco-impact with fabricated room furnishings built from European birch plywood, and Kerei board made of pressed sorghum stalks. And, if you absolutely must stay connected to the outside world, each cabin comes with high-speed internet and television as well. While staying at Glen Oaks guests can also head into the Roadhouse, which features fresh and local California cuisine. (Book here)
Treebones is perhaps one of the most unique accommodations available along the entirety of the California coast. The working farm allows guests to come and immerse themselves in the landscape by heading out for guided hikes, kayaking trips, gardening workshops, and more. Then, following a day filled with making memories, guests can retire to one of the hotel’s spectacular lodging options including standalone tents, yurts, and even one known as “the human nest.” The nest is an open-air structure made solely from tree branches that houses a comfortable bed inside. No sound machine needed here as the ocean waves crashing below will lull just about anyone to sleep. Guests are also welcome to simply book a campsite and bring all their own gear as well. Check out the hotel’s website for a complete listing of upcoming events, yoga retreats, and guest speakers. (Book here)
At Fernwood Resorts guests are invited to mix adventure with luxury inside their canvas tents. The hotel’s Adventure Tents come with all the creature comforts one would ever need including an electric tent heater, ultra-soft bed linens, an outdoor picnic table, firepit, and electricity so you can read at night while listening to the sounds of nature outside. Guests looking for a little more structure can also book one of Fernwood’s forest cabins, which come with full kitchens, indoor bathrooms, and full living rooms. The resort also has two shops on site for guests to purchase all of their camping supplies and plenty of coffee to make over the open fire pit in the morning. (Book here)
Post Ranch Inn
A stay at the Post Ranch Inn, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, is far from ordinary. The hotel, which sits high on a cliff above the Pacific Ocean, is home to 100 acres of private Big Sur land. Guests can choose to stay in one of its opulent guest houses or rooms, or, be a bit more in tune with mother nature and stay in one of its treehouses instead. Each treehouse is built on nine-foot stilts housing a bed, fireplace, sitting area, and skylight to check out the stars above. A stay in the treehouse also includes a gourmet breakfast, access to the pool, and complimentary access to activities like daily yoga. (Book here)
After a stay at the Ripplewood Resort guests will walk away with the smell of firepits in their hair, sticky hands from eating too many roasted marshmallows, and massive smiles on their faces from all the fun. The resort consists of fifteen free-standing cabins and one rustic duplex strewn about the woods. Many of the cabins also come with fireplaces and full kitchens, and nine of the cabins even come with views of the Big Sur River. The rest are located in the midst of the resort’s garden and the surrounding hillside. Guests at Ripplewood can dine in the cafe or pick up their own supplies at the on-site grocery store. (Book here)
If camping just doesn’t feel the same without your four-legged friend by your side then book your Big Sur glamping adventure at Edgemere Cottages. The inn is home to three private cottages—the Piccadilly, Rosemont, and Devon. The cottages, all built in the early 1920s, have retained their old-world charm while the owners have masterfully woven in a few modern conveniences including gas-burning fireplaces, kitchenettes, and private garden courtyards. All three of the cottages are located just a few minutes from Carmel’s downtown area, which is filled with restaurants, museums, and shops for guests to explore. (Book here)