From luxe airstreams in Joshua Tree National Park to ocean-view bungalows—outdoor adventure is calling
Commune with the great outdoors in total comfort when family “camping” becomes family “glamping.” We’ve rounded up the cushiest, coziest, most luxe places to glamp in SoCal that offer all the fresh air and scenic views you want from a camping trip without the stress and mess of pitching a tent. From Airstream trailers and tiny houses to lovely yurts and waterside cabins, these spots have amenities galore!
AutoCamp: Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree is one of our favorite national parks to visit with kiddos. Not only is it a short drive from San Diego, but it also has some of the best hiking trails around, stunning scenery, and stargazing that would make even Neil DeGrasse Tyson envious. If you want to camp out with family but aren’t really feeling the tent experience, AutoCamp Joshua Tree is the next best thing. Located just 10 min. outside the park, this is glamping at its finest. With 47 custom Airstream trailers and 8 rectangular units across 25 acres, this luxe oasis in the desert offers a comfortable and chic respite filled with amenities for those who don’t exactly want to “rough it” in the great outdoors. The mid-century modern clubhouse on the property features a counter where guests can order a curated selection of food and beverages, a large patio with heated furniture, a communal firepit for some serious s’mores making, and a swimming pool—perfect after a long day of exploring.
San Diego Metro KOA Cabins
The San Diego Metro KOA Resort is beloved for its many family-friendly amenities. If you’d rather forgo bringing your own tent or RV, you can stay in one of the deluxe cabins onsite. Cabins include partial kitchens, bathrooms, showers, and all the comforts of home. But the real benefit of camping here is the long list of swell activities to entertain kids. Check out the pool that’s open year-round, jump to your heart’s content on 3,500 sq. ft. jumping pillows, scale the climbing wall, rent a bicycle and go for a ride, stop by the playground for endless fun, or shoot hoops at the campground’s basketball facilities. With all that excitement, you’ll definitely work up an appetite so pop into the Sand Castle Café for a bite while littles show off their sand castle-building skills on the boardwalk.
Bluebird Tiny House
Set on an 85-acre private nature retreat in a secluded forest meadow, the Bluebird Tiny House is a vintage horse trailer that’s been completely reimagined. This tiny house that sleeps 3-4 people features beautiful natural materials, old-fashioned wood cabinetry, handmade ceramic tiles, a fully equipped kitchen, luxurious linens, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a smart TV, and even a fireplace. Other amenities include a spa-inspired bathroom, a large deck overlooking the forest, a hot tub, and a firepit for cozying up under the stars. When you’re ready to get out and about, there are miles of wonderful trails, a monumental boulders maze, and unforgettable sunset vistas to enjoy with your family. We’re zen just thinking about it!
Lion’s Den Mt. Laguna
Joshua Tree Dome in the Desert
Talk about a magical place to stay—Joshua Tree’s Dome in the Desert is truly one of a kind. This modern-bohemian space is designed with handcrafted natural wood and stone elements that reenergize your mind and spirit. The dome features a full kitchen, full bathroom, and two bedrooms—one with a king-size memory foam bed and the other with a daybed. If you visit when the weather is chilly, snuggle up by the wood-burning stove or if you're there in the summer, air conditioning will keep you nice and cool. The primo part of this unique getaway is the breathtaking desert mountain views and the twinkling starlit sky. You’re also in a perfect location—just a few miles from the town center and entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.
Vintage Airstreams at Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort
Designated as an International Dark Sky Park, Anza-Borrego Desert is one of our favorite places to visit for some out-of-this-world stargazing. But for all that star peeping, you’ll need a great place to stay and there’s nothing better than the vintage Airstream trailers at Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort. These luxurious trailers feature super comfortable beds for a solid night’s slumber, a shaded outdoor patio with a propane grill and fire pit, a fully stocked kitchen, access to the pools and gym, Big Horn Burgers and Shakes restaurant, and close proximity to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park less than a mile away.
Santee Lakes Cabins
If the idea of “roughing it” makes you cringe, the lakefront and floating cabins at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve may be much more your style. Lakefront cabins feature a fire ring that’s perfect for family cookouts and ghost stories, as well as pedal boats to use during your stay. The floating cabins also feature a pedal boat and a large front porch where you can kick back and take in the majestic views. Other cabin amenities include a kitchen, bathroom, barbecue grill, air conditioning and heating, TV, and Wi-Fi. When you’re done playing at the lake, there are two swimming pools on the property and a renovated playground.
Keep in Mind: Weekend reservations tend to go quickly, so don’t sleep on making plans!
San Diego Safari Park: Roar & Snore
Lions and rhinos and deer, oh my! If you can’t swing a trip to Africa, the Roar & Snore sleepover at the San Diego Safari Park may be the next best thing. Campers of all ages are invited to join an overnight tent-camping experience overlooking the East African savanna habitat inside the park. Activities include dinner, breakfast, and s’mores, as well as walking tours to observe the nighttime activities of wildlife and morning wildlife presentations. If you upgrade to a Supreme Roar & Snore Safari package, you get to experience the Flightline Safari zip line, a Night Vision Safari, and VIP viewing of wildlife ambassador encounters.
Crystal Pier Cottages
Skip the ocean waves sound machine at bedtime and trade it in for the real deal. Sleep over the ocean (literally) at the Crystal Pier Cottages in San Diego. Originally built in 1930, these charming Cape Cod-style cottages on the Crystal Pier include fully equipped kitchenettes, a separate bedroom and living room, private decks over the beach, and room to park one car. For safety, the property also features gated entry and night security.
Keep in Mind: Advance booking is highly recommended—4 to 6 months ahead for winter and 11 months ahead for summer.
Huttopia Paradise Springs
If you don’t mind a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego, Huttopia Paradise Springs is well worth the journey. As the first Huttopia resort on the West Coast, Huttopia Paradise Springs is located in the San Gabriel Mountains inside the Angeles National Forest. Thoughtfully constructed wood frame and canvas tents featuring all the comforts of home make for a relaxing stay. Tents feature electricity, beds, private bathrooms, camp kitchens, linens, large outdoor decks, and more. There are two camping experiences to choose from—Red Rock or Coulter Pine depending on what you’re looking for in your getaway. There’s also a swimming pool, an artesian spring that runs through the campgrounds, hiking excursions, outdoor movies, and yoga sessions for families to enjoy.
Additional reporting by Beth Shea and Aimee della Bitta