ISO: Easy Camping/Glamping Ideas

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I’d like to take my two-year-old camping this summer but my husband would need a hot shower and plug for the hairdryer. Years ago, we went to a beautiful place called TreeBone Resort in Big Sur that would fit all these criteria (plus free breakfast and pool!) but they don’t allow young kids. Does anyone know of other campground that has really nice facilities? Any suggestions in the Bay Area or even Southern California would be appreciated.

  • A friend recommended this place though we have never been: http://elcapitancanyon.com/
  • I was thinking of El Capitan too. I hate camping and my husband loves camping but we have not been there yet. What we ended up doing last year was renting a VW camper van ($100 per night) with two full beds and a kitchen with a fridge and a stove, and we went to the Sunset Beach State Park. I liked this campground a lot—the spaces are big, they have hot showers, and it’s just south of Santa Cruz. There’s no pool but it is just a short hike down to the beach. You can make reservations online. Try to get a south loop spot (1-37).
  • Also take a look at Costanoa—it’s close and easy. We stayed there, pre-kids, but there were kids all over the place having fun: http://www.costanoa.com/ El Capitan is really beautiful too.
  • I second Costanoa. It’s one of my favorite places on earth. The sleeping accommodations range from pitch-your-own-tents to boutique hotel-type rooms, and everything in between. My preference is the family tent bungalows: two tents side-by-side with a picnic table, fire pit, and Adirondack chairs (if you want your own fire pit, this is your only option). Kids go to bed early in one tent and the adults stay up late roasting marshmallows and drinking wine under the stars. The downside is that the kids’ tent offers only 2 bunk beds and you have to bring your own linens, sleeping bags, and/or pack-and-play. The adult tent has
    a queen bed with a mattress pad heater, linens, and two electric bed-side lamps. Very nice comfort stations are a short walk away and offer hairdryers, clean bathrooms, and hot showers. The restaurant serves nice food and is kid-tolerant but is kind of expensive. They also have a “general store” that sells packaged foods (i.e. a Whole Foods version of a mini 7-11). There’s a small play area for kids. Bring the kids’ trikes, bikes, and/or scooters for the wide, open paved roads. The beach is across the road (Hwy 1). The most remote (quiet) family tents are at the far end (away from the main lodge).
  • We stayed at El Capitan last fall for a wedding—there were about 150 people from the wedding staying there in the various types of accommodations. We ended up using one of the cabins and it could not have been more lovely or luxe right up against the woods with a porch and fire pit. We were there for several days and never even got to the beach (we’re regulars to Santa Barbara and love the beaches down there) because it’s plenty big with tons of place for the kids to play and roam. They have a pool and a small playground, and they also rent bikes at the general store. It’s definitely on the upscale end of things. It would be a great destination for a family gathering.
  • I’ll add a recommendation for the Big Sur Lodge. It is right next to the camping area at Pfeiffer Big Sur state park, which is fantastically beautiful. We camped there last spring and ate our meals at the Lodge but next time I might stay at the Lodge. Camping without actually camping: http://www.bigsurlodge. com/accommodations-amenities
  • Costanoa, between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz
  • Thanks for all the recommendations! I got another six private responses for Costanoa, two for El Capitan, and one for Safari West. I’m looking forward to some great outdoor trips this summer!
  • The above places look amazing, but none accept pets. Anyone know similar spots where dogs are allowed?
  • Costanoa accepts dogs (at least on the camp site, I am not sure about the bungalows).
  • How about Big Basin Cabins: http://www.bigbasintentcabins. com/index.php. They allow dogs and it’s close but you feel a million miles away. They also have showers. I would pick that place over Costanoa any day!
  • KOA (www.koa.com) campgrounds have sites for tents and RVs plus small cabin-like structures. There are ones near Santa Cruz, Petaluma, Yosemite, Tahoe, and all over the country! Each camp- ground has extensive activities for kids and electrical hookups (plus Wi-Fi!)

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