Today many campgrounds have added alternative ways to camp to accommodate families without an RV. Here are some of my favorite options and where you can find them.
Campgrounds with Trailer Rentals On-Property
This is another super simple way to give camping a try. Keep in mind that there are only a few SoCal campgrounds that offer this, however, you will find it more prevalent in Northern California campgrounds. The benefit of choosing this option? One call gets you your campsite and a trailer! You roll up and you are ready to get down to relaxing.
Highway West Vacations owns a group of RV Resorts in California, Utah, and Oregon. Each of their properties rent refurbished vintage Airstream trailers (the metal looking trailers you see on the road) that will sleep up to 4. Each trailer has it’s own unique flair so make sure to check out all the different trailers online before you choose one. The So Cal locations where you can rent one of these babies include: Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground in Buellton, CA (hello wine-tasting), and Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort in Borrego Springs, CA (Named 2nd Dark City in the Nation). Pricing ranges from $99-$169 a night based on resort, season and day of the week. You can find pricing online at each resorts individual website.
The Springs at Borrego RV Resort near Anza Borrego State Park also offers fully furnished travel trailers. Their modern 32′ 5th wheel trailers are located in a permanent spot and includes everything you would need (yes, towels and linens included)! You bring your food, clothes, toiletries, and outdoor chairs and voila, you are camping! There is a 2-night minimum and the price range is from $125 to $175 a night with their pet-friendly trailer running about $10 more a night. Prices here also are based on season and day of the week. Check their website for current pricing and more details.
Pirate Cove Resort (Needles, CA – on the river), sets up the rental trailer you select on the campsite you choose. The campsites on the river are amazing! All campers sleep 6 and come with a 37” super slide out for additional space and comfort. Stocked with bed linens, towels, a fully equipped kitchen, heating/air-conditioning, and a 17” LED TV / DVD player. Call them directly for pricing information and special offers.
There are two types of rentals in this category: Deluxe Cabins/Cottages which usually means they offer amenities such as TV, kitchens and heating/air conditioning. The second type of rental is called a Camping Cabin/Cottage. These type of units may or may not include a private bathroom, a kitchen or other special amenities. Think of the Camping Cabin similar to tent camping but with a roof and beds. What I love about the Cabin/Cottage option is that your family can decide if you want to go rustic and cook outdoors, or stay in a more modern setting. Either way, you will still be enjoying a camping adventure. Cabins/Cottages are plentiful and you can find them in state parks, county parks and private campgrounds everywhere. Here are a few local options to get you started.
Newport Dunes in Newport Beach has three cottage options. First, they have a beachfront one bedroom unit with a loft. If you want to go luxury, this is it. Located right by the outdoor movie screen, you have a view of the bay and plenty of sand to play in. Bring your friends as there is a private queen bedroom, sofa beds in living room and a huge loft for kids. Also included is a full size kitchen, TV with satellite, and bathroom with shower (some with tubs). You can opt for the One Bedroom with loft without the beachfront location as well. Camping Cottages are a little more rustic but you are not roughing it. They come with a futon sofa, bunk beds, a bathroom with shower/sink, microwave and refrigerator. You will need to bring your own towels and linens. Prices for all cottage types are based on season and days of the week. You can expect prices to be between $90 – $345 a night. Check their website for Special Package information.
Santa Barbara County has two camping parks within it’s borders: Jalama Beach & Cachuma Lake. My family and I actually stayed at Jalama Beach in our trailer two years ago and LOVED it! There is an extraordinary stretch of beach that is pretty much all yours. And the bonus? Cabins have an awesome ocean view! You won’t be roughing it much here either. Cabins include all kitchen items as well as a stove, refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot. There is a queen sleeper sofa, satellite TV/DVD player, bathroom with shower, charcoal BBQ, fire ring and a porch with chairs! You must bring your own linens and towels as well as food, toiletries, etc. If you don’t feel like cooking, Jalama Beach Grill is a quick stroll from the cabins.
Cachuma Lake cabins have the exact same layout as the ones at Jalama Beach with a few offering lake access. Prices for cabins at either location will run you from $90 – $185 based on season and days of the week. Reservations can be made online.
KOA Campgrounds are my families favorite place to stay and most of them offer cabins! The KOA cabins are pretty much the same layout anywhere you go but some campgrounds may have only one option, while others may have all three. The choices are: Camping Cabins, Deluxe Cabins and Deluxe Cabin with linen service. Barstow/Calico KOA offers Deluxe Cabins which is perfect for a small family. Deluxe Cabins come with a double bed plus 3 bunk beds, microwave,TV, and a small refrigerator. You will need to bring your own bedding and towels. Pricing for Barstow/Calico KOA Deluxe Cabins will run around $100 a night based on season and day of the week. All KOA locations are priced differently so refer to the KOA website for more information.
Other SoCal KOA’s with Cabins: Avila/Pismo Beach, Banning/Stagecoach, Lake Isabella/Kern River, Needles, San Diego and Ventura Ranch/Santa Paula
So Cal State/County Locations: Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and William Heise County Park – both in Julian, CA
More: Flying Flags, Buellton, CA, Palm Canyon RV Resort, Borrego Springs, CA, El Capitan Canyon, Goleta, CA, Pirate Cove Resort, Needles, CA
This can also be another option for those who want to give camping a try or if they want to join friends at a campground. It is more like tent camping than anything else, however, you have four sturdy walls, a roof and beds! At Barstow/Calico KOA, their Safari Tents sleep up to 8 people, and comes with Wi-Fi, charging station, light switches, charcoal grill and picnic table. Restrooms are close by. Pricing is roughly $90/night.
Other SoCal KOA’s with Safari Tents: Ventura Ranch/Santa Paula, San Diego
Luxury Safari Tents: El Capitan Canyon, Goleta, CA
This is one option I really want to try. One place locally that you can rent a Yurt is at Lake Cachuma, located in Santa Barbara County. This beautiful lake is surrounded by mountains and close to Solvang and the Santa Barbara wine area. So, what is a Yurt? It is a cross between a tent and a tee-pee. The Yurts here include bunk beds (there are no linens – they recommend bringing sleeping bags), electrical outlet, heater, porch, BBQ, fire ring, and water spigot. As you can see, it is a little more like tent camping but hey, with a heater, I would call it glamping! There are a total of 6 Yurts for rent (one is ADA) and all can sleep 3-6 people. They also allow tents on these sites so there could be additional room. Don’t forget your fishing poles; it’s said the lake has perfect fishing conditions.
Prices range from $60 – $85 a night with an additional $20 reservation fee. Reserve Lupine, Poppy or Sage for shore access. Plan early! Reservations can be made at: https://www.countyofsb.org/parks/parks01.aspx?id=9402
Other: El Capitan Canyon, Goleta, CA
One of the only places you can sleep locally in a tee-pee is at Ventura Ranch KOA located in Santa Paula, CA. Their Sioux replica tee-pees options are: “Sleep 4” size (One queen/one single), “Sleep 6” size (One Queen/Full Bed Under Bunk), and the largest “Sleep 8” size which offers One Queen/One Single/Full Bed Under Bunk. Bring your own linens (I recommend sleeping bags) or they do rent them as well. All tee-pees are close to bathrooms and activities. None have kitchens so you will be cooking outdoors and no pets are allowed. Pricing ranges from $69 – $120 a night based on season and size.
With so many choices of camping accommodations from rustic to luxury, it’s time to just make a reservation and have your own adventure! Send a comment if you do… would love to hear from you.
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