The Big Six: Cool camps in California


Treebones, Monterey

This retreat sits halfway down the roving coastal road near Big Sur. It has a cluster of 16 yurts with queen-size beds and cosy patchwork spreads, sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Saint Lucia mountains. Run by the Handy family, whose ethos is to "reuse and recycle", Treebones has a turbine-powered pool and hot tub, and a garden where guests can help to harvest the produce served in the Wild Coast restaurant.

Treebones, 71895 Highway 1, Big Sur, Monterey (001 805 927 2390; Yurts start at $179 (£119), including breakfast.

The Sequoia High, Sierra Sequoia

This secluded mountain hideaway is pitched in the wilderness of the Sequoia National Park. Here 30 luxurious canvas tents are decorated with earthy furnishings, woven rugs and large wooden beds. The site's secluded location means dining out isn't an option: all meals are included and served in the large open-air pavilion, which acts as the camp's main hub. Guests can pack a picnic for a day's hiking and return by night for wild king salmon or Sequoia river trout.

The Sequoia High Sierra, 65745 Big Meadow Road, Sequoia (001 901 486 4523; Canvas tents from $500 (£333), full board. Opens 15 June.

Curry Village, Yosemite

This tented camp was set up by David and Jenny Curry in 1899 as an affordable base in Yosemite. It's now the national park's largest lodging, with simple canvas tents, a dining pavilion, pool and rental shops for bikes, rafts and outdoor gear.

Curry Village, 9010 Curry Village Drive, Yosemite (001 801 559 5000; Tents start at $66 (£44), room only.

Costanoa, San Mateo

Located on a windswept stretch of Highway 1 near Santa Cruz is this camp of cabins and tents. Music and barbecues are on offer, plus activities from foraging to guitar lessons. Nearby, spot elephant seals in Año Nuevo state park.

Costanoa, 2001 Rossi Road, Hwy 1, Pescadero (001 650 879 1100; Tents start at $79 (£53), room only.

El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara

This camp overlooks the pristine sands and soaring surf of El Capitan State Beach near Santa Barbara. It has a collection of cedar cabins, safari-style canvas tents and yurts, united by outdoor picnic tables, grills and firepits. The sound of blues, country and soul music pierces the pastoral silence during summer concerts and barbecues. Activities range from kayaking and whale-watching offshore, to wine tasting in the local vineyards and hiking in the rose-tinted Santa Ynez Mountains.

El Capitan Canyon, Calle Real, Santa Barbara (001 805 685 3887; Canvas tents start at $150 (£100); yurts from $194 (£129), room only.

Safari West, Sonoma

A sprawling ranch in Sonoma wine country is the unlikely home to cheetahs, lions and wildebeest. Here, in this wildlife park, a group of 31 safari-style cabins with African-inspired decor, stand poised around a large watering hole.

Safari West, 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa (001 707 579 2551; Cabins start at $200 (£133), including breakfast.