Five Private California Campgrounds for a Stress-Free Getaway
Fresh air, no lines (and maybe a kayak or two)
With many public campgrounds underfunded and overcapacity, summer 2020 might be the year private campgrounds well and fully take off: They’re a reliable way to get some breathing space outside, without worrying about the vagaries of a maxed-out reservation sœystem or super-narrow sign-up windows.
Here, a selection of five of our favorites, ranging from backcountry access (bring your own tent) to a full-on glamp complete with a velvet sofa (and petting access to horses).
“Sagenite Lakefront,” Lower Scotts Flat Lake
Why here? Get off grid at this lakeside glamp spot, with paddle boards and kayaks included.
Natural setting: You’re within sight of Lower Scotts Flat Lake.
You’ll be sleeping in … A 20’X13′ glamp tent, with a queen-size bed, memory-foam mattress, and couch. There’s only one site available to rent here due to covid, but a second site, which was due to become available this summer, is available to friends and family of renters on the primary site — they’ll just need to BYOT (and pay $40 per person, per night).
Owner’s advisory: “This is a hidden lake away from it all, very quiet, with cool water for non-motorized water sports only.”
“Animal Land,” Somes Bar
Why here? It’ll be hard to beat Animal Land for ideal population density: Take 27 acres and divide it by however many people fit in your car.
Natural setting: Equally covetable: Just south of the Oregon border, you’ll have private access to Klamath River, with the Snake and Trinity rivers nearby.
You’ll be sleeping in … A tent that you also brought, in that car.
Owner’s advisory: “LOOK out for bears, skunks, scorpions and beware of snakes.”
“Cozy Campervan Rental,” Eureka
Why here? Get a taste for #vanlife with this converted camper near the Elk River.
Natural setting: Meadows galore, plus you’re about a 30-minute drive to the Pacific beaches
You’ll be sleeping in … A 10-foot-by-12-foot campervan with a queen-size bed, plus two-burner propane stove, sink, and French press.
Owner’s advisory: “Guests will also receive a complimentary bottle of wine.”
“Animal Interaction Ranch,” Ramona
Why here? Extreme-level privacy isn’t the point — rather, take advantage of a chance to let your kids pet horses, goats, and potentially Mr. Pigglesworth. (Cannot swear this last inclusion is a pig, but we’re betting on it.)
Natural setting: On the property of a working ranch, with other residences within sight.
You’ll be sleeping in… Imagine a fairly fancy hotel room (complete with velvet sofa) under a tent, and you got it.
Owner’s advisory: “There are animals and with that is animal noise and animal smells. It’s happy noise and smell, but if you are super sensitive this is probably not the place for you.”
“Starry Night Meadows,” Squaw Valley
Why here? Get into the Sierras while staying just an hour’s drive from Fresno: maximum sequoia exposure, with a little less time on the road.
Natural setting: In the foothills of the Sierras: Think golden hills, lakes, and rivers.
You’ll be sleeping in … A canvas tent, with access to a one-acre pond and a shared pool (for an extra fee, along with bedding, grill, and an indoor half-bathroom).
Owner’s advisory: “Starry Night keeps a summer/fall garden that campers are welcome to wander through and pick anything that looks appetizing.”
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