Glamped Out’s Guide to Wine Country, CA

Many associate Northern California’s picturesque wine country with lavish (and expensive) lodging, but for those who would rather empty their pockets on delicious wine, glamping is the perfect way to enjoy the area for a fraction of the price. You can relax outside while taking in the region’s sweeping meadows and groves, go on a quick hike before a day of imbibing wine, and later, blissfully fall asleep outside underneath a blanket of stars.

Bothe-Napa State Park is one of my favorite wine country glamping locations. The campground is a short one-hour drive from San Francisco and is in close proximity to many popular wineries. It’s so close that if you bring a bike, you can spend the day leisurely pedaling from winery to winery. Sterling Vineyards is a must, where a gondola takes you up to a giant estate on a scenic hillside where you will embark on a “wine tasting adventure,” where each turn on the tour reveals a new delectable wine to try.

Back at the campground, there is a large swimming pool to cool off in after a long day in the sun. You can either set up camp at a tent site or reserve one of their newly restored yurts. The yurts come complete with a bed (you do need to provide your own linens) and an outside table and firepit. There is even a window at the top of the yurt so you can stargaze while falling asleep.

Bothe-Napa Valley Campground Yurt, Photo by Nate Kadlac

Nearby in Sonoma is another of my favorite glamping locations, Sugarloaf Ridge. While the campsites are situated fairly close to each other, there is a large meadow in the center that is perfect for nighttime stargazing. One of my favorite features is that there is a “planet walk” a short stroll away from the campground, where the distance between each of the planets on the walk is directly proportionate to that in the solar system. Where else can you actually “walk” to Mars!?

Sugarloaf is also home to the Robert Ferguson Observatory, and while it is typically closed to the public, they have monthly star parties where the three main telescopes are open for public viewing at night. The campground books quickly during these weekends, so I highly recommend planning far in advance and taking advantage of all Sugarloaf has to offer!

Sugarloaf Ridge Campground, Photo by Kiran Umapathy

Sugarloaf Ridge Campground, Photo by Kiran Umapathy

“Campsites are nestled up to a little creek. Refreshing for your toes or your wine. ” Sugarloaf Ridge Campground, Photo by Jon Brown

If you want to venture a bit off the beaten path, head east to Vacaville and check out Soul Food Farm, one of Hipcamp’s properties. There are tons of wineries just a short drive or bike ride away, all of which will likely be less crowded than in tourist-laden Napa and Sonoma. Back at the farm, if you need relief from the summer heat, the property has an olive orchard with plenty of shade. You can also prep for a mouth-watering glamping dinner by picking some fresh veggies from the farm. Open up your newly acquired wine and enjoy your meal on the vast meadow as you watch an epic sunset that turns the hills into an orange gold.

And if you want to totally call an audible and head down south, Paso Robles has a great wine country to explore as well. The Pianetta Ranch & Winery Camp is calling my name, with 95 acres of vineyards and views of Indian Valley, ensuring a weekend full of sipping and strolling.

Soul Food Farm, Photo by Nic Castellanos

Soul Food Farm, Photo by Nic Castellanos

Soul Food Farm, Photo by Nic Castellanos

Ready to go glamping? Ditch that hotel reservation and get started!

Words by Mia Gralla

Mia shares her glamping advice and adventures on her blog, When she isn’t wine tasting or enjoying the great outdoors, you can find her in yoga class or cheering on Boston sports teams (all the way from the west coast). You can also follow her on Instagram.

Hipcamp Staff

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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