Top Outdoor Summer Getaways in California
With the summer camping season in full swing, our minds have started to drift toward getting out of town and out of doors. Here are few places we're hoping to check off our bucket list before Labor Day comes around.
The Site: Treebones, Big Sur
The Details: Treebones offers the full spectrum of outdoor accommodations, including bluff-side tent sites, wood-flooded canvas yurts, and even a one-of-a-kind human-sized nest made from interwoven branches. Take in the great Pacific horizon at the Oceanview Sushi Bar or settle in for a cozy meal at the Wild Coast restaurant lodge, both located on-site.
Activities: Spend the day hiking through towering redwoods or explore the ragged coastline by kayak before coming back to unwind with a yoga class or massage.
The View: Perched high upon the seaside bluffs, Treebones has an unobstructed view of the ocean that offers spectacular sunset vistas.
The Draw: What Big Sur lacks in developed attractions it makes up for in natural beauty, making it the perfect place to sit back, relax, and do absolutely nothing.
Location: 71895 Hwy 1, Big Sur, California 93920
The Site: El Capitan, Santa Barbara
The Details: With a diverse array of coastal camping accommodations, El Capitan offers beach-front tent sites, canvas safari tents, and quaint cedar cabins. Fully relax and unwind at this beachside getaway while enjoying a few choice creature comforts (read: hot showers).
Activities: A yoga class or massage is a great way to kick-start a cool, overcast morning. As the clouds break, and it starts to warm up in the afternoon, hit El Capitan State Beach to relax on the sand or rent a cruiser to get into the summertime groove. In the evenings, enjoy one El Capitan's many summer concert series or take a guided stargazing class.
The View: With rolling hills in the background and rolling waves in foreground, the beaches of the Central California coast are some of the best.
The Draw: El Capitan is close enough to civilization (20 miles from Santa Barbara) that if you discover you forgot a key piece of camping gear you can run into town and get it. But it’s more than likely that you can get everything you need on-site at the Canyon Market & Deli, where you can grab everything from an extra bottle of vino to one more bag of marshmallows.
Location: 11560 Calle Real, Santa Barbara CA 93117
The Site: High Sierra Camps, Yosemite National Park
The Details: Experience the sights of the High Sierras without having to lug all your gear into the backcountry. High Sierras Camps are spaced along a multi-day loop in Yosemite National Park and offer dormitory-style canvas tents with steel-frame beds. Each camp also serves family-style breakfasts and dinners so you can start and end your day with a full stomach. All you need to carry with you is a day pack.
Activities: There are a variety of organized tours that visit the High Sierra camps, including a five-to-seven day ranger-guided trip or a four-to-six day guided horseback trip (for those really opposed to walking). The Yosemite Mountaineering School also offers guided trips when the former two are booked up for the season.
The View: Nothing can compare with the jaw-dropping, 360-degree panoramas of the High Sierras. Point your camera in literally any direction, and the result is guaranteed to be breathtaking.
The Draw: This is the only way to experience the High Sierras without having to go full Bear Grylls, so if you want to go beyond the tourist-filled Yosemite Valley but don't want haul seven days worth of food on your back, this is the option for you.
Location: Tuolumne Meadows Lodge, California 95389