We’re all in agreement that San Francisco is one of the very best urban spots you could ever choose to live in. But ever now and then, we have to admit that these city mice have to get out into the country. Need a break from late buses, brunch lines, and your rent? Here are five gorgeous spots to camp out this weekend.
If you’re looking for solitude, there’s no more out-of-the-way place to stay in Big Sur than the Prewitt Ridge, where the camping spots will have you above the clouds and overlooking the ocean.
Part of Los Padres National Forest, the camping up here is “dispersed,” which means there are no reservations, no bathrooms, and no running water. But don’t let that deter you — or the winding fire road you have to drive up to get there — since when you arrive you’ll have access to so many trails and unparalleled views that you’ll never want to leave. Learn more.
Insider Tip: Remember what we said about there being no running water? If you don’t bring enough, you’ll have to drive back down the mountain to replenish your stores, so make sure you plan and pack ahead. The rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day.
Stay in Rustic Cabins at Steep Ravine
If you think there’d be no better spot to watch the sun set over the Pacific than from your front porch, reserve a night or two in a rustic coastline cabin at Steep Ravine.
If it’s luxury you’re after, we suggest you look elsewhere — without water or electricity, these cabins are fairly bare-boned, but that’s all the better to get crafty and have fun. Pack all the gear you’d bring on a regular camping trip minus the tent — sleeping bag, pad, stove, etc — and get ready to feel like you’re on the frontier. Learn more.
Insider Tip: The Steep Ravine cabins are close to some of the best hikes Marin has to offer. Try this 7.5-mile loop that takes you from the Matt Davis Trail to Steep Ravine to the Dipsea Trail.
Stay in a Yurt in Napa Valley
What’s better than camping in a tent? Camping in a yurt. Stay in one of these brand new ones at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, where your lodging comes with queen size beds, tables, chairs, and keyed access — not to mention the campground’s showers, outdoor fire pits, and picnic tables.
If you’re feeling adventurous, bring a bathing suit and go for a brisk February swim in the park’s spring-fed pool. Learn more.
Insider Tip: There’s no shortage of daytime activities in Napa — see: wineries — but if you’re looking for a more strenuous way to pass the time, hike the 1,170 feet up to Coyote Peak and check out the views of Napa Valley and Mount Saint Helena.
Ocean View Camping in Pt. Reyes
There’s a reason why Wildcat Campground is one of the most sought-after sites in Pt. Reyes. And lucky for you, seeing as how it’s February, the odds that you can snag a spot are pretty high.
After you park in Bolinas at the Palomarin Trailhead, you’ll make the 5.5-mile hike into Wildcat, which is in an open meadow perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. There are vault toilets and running water at the camp — although it never hurts to bring some of your own — and the campground is also home to picnic tables, charcoal grills, and food lockers. Learn more.
Insider Tip: You’ll need a backcountry permit for this one. Pick it up at the Bear Valley Visitor Center.
Backpack the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail (for the more adventurous)
This 29-mile, 3-day hike is a local favorite for backpacking and probably the best way to take in everything that the Santa Cruz Mountains have to offer. Bonus? It’s just about an hour’s drive south of San Francisco.
From redwoods to waterfalls, the trip is generally broken up into three manageable chunks of roughly ten miles per day. Just remember to recruit a friend to pick you up at Waddell Beach when you’re done. Learn more.
Insider Tip: Still have some energy to spare? The seven-mile detour to see the 70-foot tall Berry Creek Falls is well worth it.