Skip the Tent! Go Glamping in Southern California at These Luxury Camping Spots

Family Glamping in Joshua Tree National Park Outside an AutoCamp Luxury Airstream AutoCamp

Your family loves soaking up nature, but you’re not keen on pitching a tent to brave the elements on a family camping trip. Well, hang on to your canteens because we’ve found luxurious places to go glamping in Southern California at unique locations that put you in the heart of the wild while providing the creature comforts of home. From lakefront cabins and yurts to fully equipped airstream trailers and even cottages overlooking the ocean, read on for where to go have a camping adventure with your kids complete with beds, WiFi, kitchens and bathrooms.

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AutoCamp: Joshua Tree

Family roasting marshmallows in Joshua Tree at AutoCamp

If you want to take the family to a national park this summer, Joshua Tree is a drivable distance from San Diego and offers plenty of hiking and stargazing for the whole family. And now you have another unique option for nearby lodging at airstream hotel AutoCamp’s newest location, which officially opened at the end of Dec. 2021. Set in the Southern California desert less than 10 minutes outside of the national park, AutoCamp Joshua Tree welcomes guests for an experience that feels simultaneously like a boutique hotel and a glamping outpost. The 25-acre property features 47 Airstreams, four Accessible Suites, and four X Suites — all equipped with updated HVAC systems for all-season weather, as well as unique outdoor showers available in some premium units. 



Huttopia Paradise Springs

best glamping in southern california

A nature-filled escape awaits you and your brood at Huttopia Paradise Springs. The glamping company’s first West Coast outpost is located inside Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, just 90 minutes from Los Angeles and about a 2.5-hour drive for San Diegans. The wood and canvas glamping tents are equipped with electricity, private bathrooms, camp kitchens, barbecues, and eco-friendly toiletries, so all you need to pack are your hiking boots and bug spray. At Huttopia Paradise Springs, you’re not only going to get a better night’s sleep and a sink to brush your teeth but there are also activities to keep everyone entertained and happy throughout your stay. Watch an outdoor movie, take in a concert on the terrace and eat s’mores around the communal campfire while taking in the desert night sky. 


Bluebird Tiny House

Family glamping spot near San Diego
Bluebird Tiny House

You needn’t leave San Diego County to feel a world away in this adorable tiny house made out of a vintage horse trailer. It’s set on an 85-acre private nature reserve in a remote forest meadow. Here you’ll enjoy a full kitchen, spa-inspired bathroom, a deck the length of the “house,” a hot tub under the stars, a fire pit and even a fenced area for your pets to roam. This clever little above sleeps 3-4 people. Spend the day hiking, biking and exploring nature and then unwind in a camping atmosphere that’s full of comfort.




Lions Den Mt. Laguna


Nestled in the Cleveland National Forest at Laguna Mountain, the Lions Den retreat offers outdoor sleeping quarters with all of the comfort of being indoors. The bell tent features a queen mattress & sofa bed, a bell tent lounge with two additional sofa beds, a double tree tent and a two-story triple tree tent. Two trillium hammocks are also included. You’ll also be able to take hot showers and make use of the camp kitchen for meals. Escape to the serenity and nature of the forest without having to rough it!



Joshua Tree Dome in the Desert

Joshua Tree Glamping Dome in The Desert

No it’s not a mirage, this Dome in the Desert really is a dreamy reality. Joshua Tree is a must-visit scenic destination for families and this bohemian dwelling will make your stay a memorable one. The bright and cheery interior decor is welcoming and cozy and the abode features a full kitchen, full bathroom and two bedrooms. The natural wood burning stove and space heaters warm the home in chilly weather and air conditioning keeps the dome cool on hot desert days. Going off-grid never looked so stylish. The best part: the view of the stars in the night sky and the silent solace of the desert at night.


Glam Trailers at Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort

Glam trailers aren’t just for celebrities on movie sets. You and the fam can go camping in a super cozy Airstream situated in the Anza-Borrego Desert. In addition to being a shelter from the wild, these luxe trailers include amenities like WiFi, a soaking spa, luxury linens and hammocks. Extra bonus, you’ll have access to pools, hot tubs, Big Horn Burners & Shakes, gym, and saloon. 


Santee Lakes Cabins

Cabins at Santee Lakes Family Glamping San Diego
Santee Lakes

Book a lakefront or floating cabin for the ultimate glam getaway in nature. Floating cabins boast a deck and your own pedal boat. Other perks include equipped kitchens with a full-size refrigerator, microwave, TV, DVD player, Queen bed and sleeping mattresses. The grounds have an abundance of playgrounds and a splash pad as an added benefit for kids.  

Good to know: Cabin reservations for weekends go fast.


San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

What could be more memorable than cozying up amidst the animal kingdom for a magical campout? Reserve a Premium Tent for Roar & Snore at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and you’ll enjoy camp activities, a campfire, rare after-hours observation of animals, guided walks, dinner, evening snack, breakfast and a souvenir to remember your adventure. The Premium Tent is the most luxurious of the cabin options and it has a queen-bed and two cots, electric outlets, bed linens and pillows and wood floors with an area rug. Fall asleep to the sounds of majestic creatures like elephants right outside your door.

Read what is new at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park to get the lay of the land.


Crystal Pier Cottages

Glamping over the ocean? You needn’t set sail to sleep atop the water if you book a stay at Crystal Pier Cottages and fall asleep to the sound of waves slapping the shore. These family-friendly, Cape-Cod style cottages were built in 1930 and include kitchenettes, bedroom and living room and a private deck with an unbeatable view of the ocean. Another perk: cottages have gated key entry and night security. Cruise on down to the shoreline for this adventure ASAP.


––Beth Shea and Aimee Della Bitta


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