Hipcamp host Myrna H.,
Hosted by

Summer at the Preserve is typical Bay Area weather, cool nights and mornings and  likely warm and even hot days. Crazy clouds commonly contribute to pretty magnificent sunsets from our hilltop vista point.  We won't deny that mosquitoes are likely present, so do prepare and take them seriously, especially very early morning and late evening. Please note that while the number


Summer at the Preserve is typical Bay Area weather, cool nights and mornings and  likely warm and even hot days. Crazy clouds commonly contribute to pretty magnificent sunsets from our hilltop vista point.  We won't deny that mosquitoes are likely present, so do prepare and take them seriously, especially very early morning and late evening. 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. An outdoor fireplace is 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. 

 An adjacent outdoor cooking spot includes all your cooking supplies, a camp stove, ice chest, drinking water, tables and seating and a mosquito-proof gathering tent. If you want to grill, come to the visitor center to use our propane BBQ and side burner. 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 PARK While 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.

Lodging provided
1 site
Up to 10 guests per site
Up to 10 vehicles
No wheelchair access
Toilet available
Pets allowed
Fire ban in effect
Potable water available
Kitchen available
Picnic table available
No showers
No wifi
Pack it out
Have a question? Send Myrna a message!
  • 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


Offered on the Host's property or nearby.

Wildlife watching


Natural features you'll find at Vista History Garden Yurt in California.


Places to see near Mare Island Preserve

30 miles away Explore

81 Reviews

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If you stayed here and have some insider info for us, let us know!
Hipcamper Vincent

Cool, quaint, and quirky

Vincent W.
recommends this listing.
September 10th, 2019

Cool, quaint, and quirky; this place ticked off all the checkboxes for a weekend getaway. From the drive through the abandon industrial military complex, to the nice hike overlooking the North Bay, it was all splendid. The yurt was nice and warm even with a cool breeze all night. The outdoor kitchen was fun. Bring your own generator if you want a light show. And tall people beware as there are a lot of low branches. We had some people walk by every other hour but was quiet overall. Myrna was really nice and provided enough water, dishes and hospitality to keep us there a week.

Hipcamper Mayumi
Mayumi O.
recommends this listing.
September 8th, 2019

This place is a hidden gem in the middle of Vallejo. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and had the whole place to ourselves! Myrna supplies you with everything you’d need for a stay in the Vista History Yurt, kitchen items for the outdoor kitchen, soap, paper towels, bottled water, trash and recycling cans, and an ice chest - just bring your food and drinks! The yurt itself is cozy and while it’s next to the trail, it’s nestled into the trees and has curtain for added privacy. Plenty of places to walk and explore throughout the Preserve. The sunsets here are beautiful from the Spirit Ship. Highly recommend to fellow hip campers!

Hipcamper ASHLEIGH

Beautiful yurt

Ashleigh E.
recommends this listing.
August 20th, 2019

Super cute yurt in lovely setting. It’s super isolated though and my 6-year old was scared so we ended up not staying over night. I am sure it would have been fine, but I was a little nervous because there’s no lock on the yurt and there are occasional hikers passing by and you’re just...out there in a yurt. Near an old graveyard. I would definitely recommend for a couple or a group (yurt sleeps only 2). As a mom with a 6-year old, I found I wasn’t brave enough to convince my son to be brave enough.

Note that I was eaten by mosquitos within 2 minutes of getting there (mid—August) so put bug spray on before you get there. I was bitten whilst getting the big spray out :(.

Hipcamper Ajith

Camping with 9 friends

Ajith S.
recommends this listing.
August 11th, 2019

Myrna is an excellent host. We were provided cooking utensils and a gas stove!

The camp site provides great views of the bay. There are a couple of small trails around. The proximity makes this place a fantastic get away

Hipcamper ali

Don’t rely on photos

Ali S.
doesn't recommend this listing.
August 9th, 2019

The pretty photos show the yurt lit up at night from the outside, while other photos show there are lights inside the Yurt (Christmas lights and a lamp). In fact, the yurt has neither one of those or any other light. So it will be pitch dark at night inside, besides whatever handheld lamp you bring with you or borrow from the visitor center. There’s also no table or chairs inside as shown, but you could drag one in from the patio if desired, but will be a tight fit.

You can see they are ran all around but apparently they only light them at Christmas with a generator or if someone organizes a private party, so it's not the “normal” experience. Very disappointing- probably they biggest surprise/ letdown. We considered backtracking out of camp and back to town to buy a generator just to get this experience a little bit closer to what we had imagined, since it was supposed to be a romantic overnight for my boyfriend’s birthday. I also considered looking for alternate accommodation to try to salvage the situation. Also there is no longer a grill at this campsite (as seen in visitor photos/reviews) per fire department removal. We made the mistake of trying to cook what we’d brought for dinner after we lost daylight and had to just use our cars headlights since our 1 lamp wasn’t sufficient to see anything. Our check-in experience at the visitor center was so-so. It didn’t really phase me but the place itself totally weirded out my boyfriend.

There was a family hanging out at our campsite / outdoor table area when we are arrived (Tho not in the yurt) since this place is open to the public on weekends- it was awkward and didn’t feel as private as we desired. They watched us unpack and eventually left. This site is also kind of strange in that there are tables and chairs for about 15-20 people right next to the yurt, which only sleeps two people. All the extra tables and chairs and benches took away from the intimate private feeling.

The yurt itself was smaller than I expected based on photos (maybe half the size) but was certainly big enough for the bed and for each of us to unpack a bag. It’s a bit weathered but in decent condition. We were able to walk all the short paths in the immediate surrounding area, which didn’t give us much to explore the following day so we left early.

Myrna was nice. She hand packed a big plastic box full of cooking tools/utensils for us to bring to camp with us. And said we could leave the used stuff at camp, which was convenient.

The linens on the bed were also of good quality and the bed was clean and comfortable (Full size). Once we got into bed we did enjoy being able to look through the mesh hole at the top of the yurt and see the sky. And we enjoyed waking up where we could look through that same hole at the morning sky and hear the birds. We tried to enjoy our morning tea and oatmeal in the party-sized patio area, but some utility trucks drove by a couple of times, disrupting the vibe, even though it was now a weekday and the park was closed.

I had also called ahead to see about renting or reserving bikes, and was told there were some at the visitor center for us to use. So I didn’t plan any further on that front. Since they were complementary, that was a kind offer (+). On the other hand they are a mishmash of old random bikes, most are not in good repair and you’re on your own to figure out which will work best for you. You may prefer to rent some from a bike rental shop if you’re not bringing your own. Depends on how serious you are about biking.

In the end, we did not use the two bikes that we pulled out because we had already walked the trails near our site upon arrival, and we’re not inclined to explore the nearby scenery any further the next day (dry grassy hills). We opted to drive into town and walk along the water‘s edge instead.

None of these are deal breakers if you know to expect all of this (some of these conditions are written in the current description I’m told, so again, focus on that write-up rather than on the photos or too distant past experiences of others) or if it was just another day sleeping outdoors somewhere during a long road trip or something, but don’t think of this as Glamping and I cannot recommend this if you are trying to find something that feels “special” for you and your sweetheart.

I would definitely try another yurt on another property, but in a more private space with better views, better trails, a fire pit, and maybe some little lights for the nighttime (or bring my own) or some other thoughtful touches.

Hipcamper Lisa
Lisa P.
recommends this listing.
August 7th, 2019

I love love love Mare Island Preserve! This is my second time staying here, the first time we stayed in the Tennis Yurt.
The Garden yurt has a much better view, but less beds and higher up/more secluded so it's really what works for you.
The only bummer of our trip in June was the mosquitos were brutal. I also wish the little lights were able to be on during the night in the garden...I think that would have made it much more magical than our lantern.

Hipcamper David

Great site and great hostess!

David C.
recommends this listing.
August 3rd, 2019

Lots of privacy, great views, and Myrna was very friendly and hospitable. Unusual viewpoint of a bygone era...

Hipcamper Tessa

Thank you for your hospitality!

Tessa B.
recommends this listing.
July 28th, 2019

The yurt was very special and the hosts were thoughtful and kind.

Hipcamper Meena

Peaceful and quiet.

Meena D.
recommends this listing.
July 17th, 2019

Myrna is an excellent host, very helpful and accomodating.

Mare Island Preserve
United States
1 Site