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Places to “Camp” Near the Bay Area When You Don’t Actually Want to Camp

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Because outdoors-ing can be superhard

Ahh, camping: the back-to-basics weekend hobby we now-urban creatures willingly subject ourselves to in hopes of “reconnecting to real life” by “digitally disconnecting.” The idea often sounds peaceful and relaxing, but let’s face it—some of us just aren’t cut out for the whole situation. Some of us hate insidious mosquitos and creepy-crawlies. Some of us like sleeping in real beds.

So, then, how’s a hopeless city dweller supposed to embrace the outdoors overnight? It’s simple, really: glamping — a.k.a. a way to camp but not really camp. Luckily, there’s plenty of these hashtag-millennial takes within driving distance of the Bay Area. Here are some of our favorite bastions for all things nature with all things 21-first-century convenience. Feel free to go and glamp unashamedly.

Safari West in Santa Rosa

Safari West

Safari West is quite possibly the closest experience you can get to going on a true safari in Northern California. Tucked away in northern wine country, the 30 tents imported from Botswana simultaneously cradle you in comfort while perching you close to the wildlife sounds of what’s now cheekily called the “Sonoma Serengeti.” They each sport a private viewing deck of the surrounding wildlife, an en suite bathroom, polished hardwood floors and—because it’s camping—open access to good ol’ Mother Nature to your left and right. If you fancy being extra, opt for the “Wild Nights in Wine Country” package, which comes complete with a one night’s stay in a double or hillside king luxurious Safari West Tent, a tour of the grounds, reservation for two at the Savannah Café, the resort’s on-site ultra-luxe eatery and a select bottle of Francis Ford Coppola wine to complement dinner.

From $299+/night

AutoCamp on the Russian River

Photo courtesy of AutoCamp

Repurposed Airstreams and high-brow outdoorsing go together like $100 champagne and white-sturgeon caviar. Ninety minutes to the east of the Bay Bridge, each of AutoCamp’s Airstream suites comes generously equipped with a queen-size bed (with plush silk linens), a flat-screen television (with cable, because Westworld) and a full kitchen complete with basic cooking utensils, wine glasses and silverware. A modern bathroom with a walk-in shower, custom vanity sink and an in-shower steaming unit along with a spacious living room make you feel like you’re truly getting your money’s worth. Pre- or post-hike, be sure to stop by the on-site midcentury-inspired clubhouse, stocked with local wines, beers, snacks and camping essentials.

From $170+/night

Treebones Resort in Big Sur

Treebones Resort is, really, the Disney World of glamping: an expansive compound south of the Bay in Big Sur that pedestals an au naturel form of relaxation above all else, wafting all those who enter any of one of its beach-hugging properties with an air of accessible, living ease. Their yurts—featured in Vogue — include plush beds and cozy comforters, a table and chairs, reading lights and plenty of hooks for hanging your hiking gear. Regardless of which cardinal direction your yurt’s entrance faces, expect your not-so-humble abode to come with generous decks with views of the redwoods and the ocean, which you can take in while reclining on Adirondack chairs. Treebones Resort also offers a unique omakase-inspired dining adventure — just be sure to reserve far in advance, as the sushi masters on hand roll for only two seatings a night, Wednesday through Saturday.

From $160–$320/night

Flipjack Ranch’s Cowboy Room in Santa Cruz

Photo courtesy of Karen Grubb

The Cowboy Room is one of the more bare-bones glamped-out rooms on Flipjack Ranch — but you’re still by no means roughing it. With a queen-size bed and wood-burning fireplace, en suite warm-water bath and shower, lavish living room and private deck (equipped with all the lawn furniture you’d ever need), this room allows you to unwind and unplug, sacrificing little in the way to do so. The fully stocked kitchen, accessible through the dining room below it, can be used to cook and store any sustenance you wish to bring or prepare on-site. A “wake-up tray” is delivered to your room each morning complete with compliments like French-pressed coffee and pastries. A “full farm breakfast” is included with each night’s stay, served along a 20-foot-plank dining table or outside in the sun (weather permitting).

From $254/night

Terra Glamping’s Safari Tents in Annapolis

Campfires, great wine, soft beds and fully catered meals? We’re here for it. Two and a half hours north of San Francisco on Highway 1, Terra Glamping is a Brooklyn-based glamping pop-up that now has a semi-permanent pop-up in Annapolis. Perched above the Pacific Ocean, the accommodations offer unobstructed ocean views and modern design, including a queen-size memory-foam bed, dressers and rugs. Comfortable heated showers and restrooms are just a few yards away from each tent. Every morning of your stay, you’ll get a continental breakfast that includes espresso drinks, and gourmet s’mores are cooked up every evening. Terra Glamping is an “unplugged experience” — except it’s not, because cell-phone charging is available, and cellular reception through Verizon and AT&T is (usually) available. Very nice.

From $300+/night

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