Fall at the Preserve means cool evenings and nights, yet likely warm and even hot days. Crazy clouds commonly contribute to pretty magnificent sunsets from our hilltop vista point. And, the coolish weather makes that campfire at the visitor center feel sooo great. We won't deny that mosquitoes are likely present, so do prepare and take them seriously. Please note that while the number in your party can be up to 4 for this site, there is just ONE full sized bed. That means the rest of you will be sleeping on the small floor space left or possibly in a tent.
Join us for a natural season of wildness and gathering at one of our yurts or tent campsites. Come stay in our 12-foot camping yurt with its full sized bed and maybe room for an additional twin blow up on the floor, snuggled on the hill overlooking the Napa River/Mare Island Strait and the Carquinez Bridges with Mt. Diablo, the Napa Valley and Mt. St. Helena in the distance. You will be enchanted by the magic and majesty of the beautiful setting and delighted with the cozy, interior with a full size bed made-up with colorful cotton linens and darling furnishings, floor coverings and lighting. Owls are night visitors. Our portable restrooms are always the freshest. A campfire is allowed only at our visitor center a lovely half-mile walk past the Navy’s oldest cemetery in the Pacific. Parking is adjacent to the campsite, BUT PLEASE DO NOT PARK UNDER THE OLD Oak Tree. There is tons of parking area below it. Beginning February 20, 2018 we will change our policy on the number of cars allowed at the campsite. We now allow only two total. Additionally, due to drivers overwhelming our Preserve users driving too fast and running over our snakes sunning on the trail access road, we will require that once you arrive at your campsite in your vehicle, that you basically think of it as a walk-in site from then on through your stay. If you do plan to leave to go out to dinner for example, please let us know ahead of time.
BE PREPARED: this time of year the temps dip to around 50 degrees at night. An adjacent outdoor cooking spot includes all your cooking supplies, a camp stove, small BBQ, ice chest, drinking water, tables and seating and a mosquito-proof gathering tent. Please note that there is a lot of additional seating for our Preserve users for their potlucks and picnics. Please be respectful of them. In other words, the entire picnic spot isn't really for your use, so be sure to welcome other Preserve users.
GETTING HERE: The Mare Island Preserve is 1.5 miles from the Mare Island ferry terminal with daily service from San Francisco. Direct bus service from the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station to the Vallejo Transit Center lands you a little over 4 miles away from the Preserve. Catch your favorite taxi service or call/text us for a lift. Once settled in, hop on one of our bikes for a jaunt around the strangely quirky and kinda abandoned, sort of not, former Naval shipyard, the Navy’s oldest installation in the Pacific, founded in 1854. You will stop often to photograph both the beauty and the decay of a 160 years of maritime and marine industrial history. Hike and jog our 4-mile roundtrip San Pablo Bay Trail and even golf or visit Vino Godfather tasting room, a WWII landing craft support gunboat, St. Peter's Chapel (by appt) or a museum of Navy history.
HISTORY: The yurt is in the Rowser Garden, one of the historic sites in the Mare Island Preserve. Our volunteer team pulled towering french broom from the Garden to discover the remnants of its once lovely grounds perched on the leeward side of the hill. Our hearts quickened with each new find. A fish pond, and another and another. An 88-foot clothesline. An old-time water tank. The ruins of the house, a duplex home to two Navy civilian families for more than 45 years. The over-the-top 20 ft. high swing. Throughout the lower garden and house ruins a network of concrete walkways, retaining walls and staircases encircles the house and leads to the upper garden accented with rocks gathered on trips to town, loaded in the trunk of the family Buick, as much as it could hold. While our policy for the historic garden is to “do no harm before you do good”, making a valiant effort to leave the precious spot as we found it, we have restrung the clothesline, pruned the native oaks and cultural landscape trees and hung a tire swing in an oak.
HELP US LOVE ̄AND KEEP OUR PARKWhile the Preserve is a a vibrant and spectacular natural, scenic, historic and cultural land, it is not protected forever as parkland. Your stay helps us make a strong case for a permanent park on the 300 acres of wildlands of the Navy’s now closed oldest ammunition depot in the West, with 7-county panoramic views of the Bay Area. The Preserve is grassroots and volunteer-run with no funding from the City of Vallejo. We are so excited to introduce our first yurt camp and to invite you to stay with a more friends at our 16-foot Old Tennis Court yurt and check out our caravan style tiny house and tent camp sites, too. Your stay helps us protect and share our park with you. Your enthusiastic response inspired us to add the Old Tennis Court yurt in the Fall of 2016 and the caravan style tiny house in December 2017.
- Check in: After 2PM
- Check out: Before 12PM
- Cancellation policy: Moderate
- On arrival: Meet and greet
- Minimum nights: 1 night
- Accepts bookings: 12 months out Weeknight discount: 20% off
The vibe at Vista History Garden Yurt
If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
This is one of my favorite Hipcamp properties, hands-down. It's perfect for a midweek adventure, being a 45 minute drive or ferry ride from San Francisco (and dog friendly!) Myrna is an incredibly thoughtful host, providing a full kitchen and nicely made-up bed in the yurt (she even left us some tomatoes and fennel from her garden!) She also knows a ton about the property and will tell you all kinds of interesting stories if you ask--Mare Island Preserve used to be an ammo depot and naval shipyard decades ago, so it's got a rich history. Today, it offers 300 acres of grassy and forested wildlands, plus 360 degree views of the Bay. History buffs will love the Mare Island Preserve museum Myrna has set up in the Visitors Center. Pro tip: make sure you pick up some of the honey and fennel pollen Myrna sells at the Visitors Center (your purchase helps support this amazing place and they're both DELICIOUS!) Do yourself a favor and book a night at this unique property asap.
What a great yurt! This is really a unique place. The preserve is open to the public until sunset, so there are hikers and such passing the camp until dark. Then you have the whole place to yourself! The views are spectacular! Myrna has thought of everything you could need for cooking and comfort. It also has the cleanest port-a-potty I've ever seen. There's a lot to see and do in the area. We actually dropped off our stuff, had a hike around the preserve and then went to explore the rest of Mare Island. There's a fun little winery tasting room that had live music, and we also hit up the Mare Island Brew Co at the Vallejo ferry terminal. Came back to camp before sunset so we could hike to the top of the hill to watch the light change. The morning we checked out we stopped at The Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa for brunch. Such a cool little outpost of a town and the best dang food we've had in ages! Overall, great stay and got us to explore the nooks and crannies right in our own backyard!
Took my senior dogs with me. We loved it! The yurt had a fun feel to it during the day and an eerie, but safe feel at night. Perfect for late night ghost stories. Oh and the views are amazing!
The place is a real easy getaway. All you need to do is bring is your food and clothes. BBQ, camping stove,kitchen utensils, chairs, and even an ice chest with ice were provided! Even the yurt had lighting so you can even read at night.
My only recommendation for future campers is to bring some extra lanterns for outside and foot/hand warmers for night time when outside of the yurt. The yurt temp was fine, but the late night got a little chilly on a night hike, which I also recommend. If you bring dogs make sure to get lights for their collars for night time.
I will book again in the near future!
Mare Island is such an incredible place. Just an hour from San Francisco and it feels very remote and natural. The history of the preserve is super interesting and the visitor center is an awesome resource to learn about it's former naval ammunition depot days. We spent the afternoon hiking around different trails of the preserve and loved the views of the water and sunset.
On our drive up, we saw quite a few storks and pelicans in the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It would also be an awesome spot to hike around.
Myrna, the host, was incredibly accommodating sending us up to our yurt with a bottle of wine. Once at our yurt, there was everything you could need to cook - two grills, pots and pans, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, napkins, sponges, water, etc. Inside the yurt there are really awesome details, outlets and lighting. Everything you need!
Myrna was an INCREDIBLE host! She was so easy going about our arrival time, had a bottle of wine waiting in the fridge, came to check on us if we needed anything and was so helpful about directions. The yurt is extremely clean and cozy! There were tons of blankets and pillows on the bed and Christmas lights out in the trees around the eating area. we truly had a great time and will be back!
We had a wonderful time saying in the Vista History Garden Yurt. We honestly only needed food, clothing and personal flashlights, everything else was provided (including bug spray, which was essential for mosquitoes at dusk.) The bed was comfortable and bedding provided was plenty warm enough to stay cozy in 50F nighttime weather. Myrna was an amazing and friendly host. The campsite was lovely, the view spectacular, and the night was quiet and peaceful. The Preserve is not huge, but it was fun to explore the many paths, great vistas and accessible historic sites all day with our dog. Would definitely recommend this gem.
This Yurt is awesome! Steps away from the Yurt is a beautiful view of the San Pablo Bay and Vallejo. My fiancee and I enjoyed a glass of wine post-sunset. Super relaxing experience and just 40 mins from SF. Mare Island is truly a hidden gem. Also, the host Myrna & her pup Nitro are wonderful.
Myrna is a superhost. She made us feel so homely and comfortable. We went on Christmas Day in 2016 and it was 1 degree. It was freezing but she gave us 2 blankets to keep us warm. She also put up a bonfire for us and lighted up the whole reserve. Her friendliness towards us was adorable. And beautiful view of sunset and sunrise at the hike trails in the reserve. Definetely reccomend to campaign here.
Our stay at the Vista History Garden Yurt was amazing. Mare Island Preserve is so close to San Francisco that we were able to camp here on a weeknight. When I arrived, our host Myrna was kindly making the bed with clean, new sheets inside our Yurt. She showed me the fully stocked kitchen with a grill, stove, pots/pans, utensils, you name it! She even left us a bottle of chilled wine in the cooler, which was a perfect way to end our evening later on. Just be sure to bring your own water. At night it was a little cold, but Myrna offered to bring us a heater for inside the yurt. This instantly made it cozy inside and we were able to turn it off before bed without getting cold later on.
During the day I hiked around the property to take in the panoramic views and checked out Visitors center/museum. You could spend a long time in the museum just looking at all the old photographs of Mare Island. Myrna knows so much about the history of this property and has done an amazing job of curating the museum.
Ps, the sunset here was absolutely gorgeous. I highly recommend hiking up one of the trails to watch it!