Categories: CampingDestinations

Hipcamp’s 2018 Staff Favorites

We get asked this question all the time, “What are the best Hipcamps you’ve been to?” Funnily, we don’t necessarily consider ourselves be-all-end-all camping experts, as there is so much knowledge out there to absorb, and also so many different ways to camp.

We know that how one defines “good” camping in completely subjective. That being said, we try to get out there and try as many different experiences as possible—we even have a team Summer Camping Challenge and internal leaderboard. One thing to keep in mind with our staff favorites list so far is that it is heavily weighted towards listings in California as most of the Hipcamp team is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Outside of California, you can find full-time Hipcamp team members dispersed across the U.S. from Colorado to Illinois, and Georgia.

Without further ado, here is the answer to your burning question, our 2018 Summer Staff Favorites!

Emily, Head of Supply

1. Illinois River Open Tent or Van, Cedar Bloom, Oregon

Creek, outdoor bathtubs, cool sites, Oregon.

Julian, Head of Design

1. 1955 Trail Chief Pop-Up, Camp Owl Pine, Southern CA

Camp Owl Pine has been one of my absolute favorite Hipcamp experiences to date. The camp is meticulously put together and the thought put into the camping experience is apparent from the moment you pull into the property and walk down the guided path to the site.

The trail chief pop-up, outdoor kitchen, hang out area, and open air (heated) shower made for a perfect home base as we explored the picturesque mountain community over the weekend.

The hosts, Cat & Michael, are absolutely wonderful and put a tremendous amount of care into assuring we had a perfect stay.

Pro tip: Take Michael up on his brisket offerings. Was the best meal we had during our weekend stay in Idyllwild 🙂

2. Songdog West Campsites, Cuyama Badlands, CA

All my expectations were blown away. Jim has done an amazing job at creating private, well thought out Campsites with great views.

The provided shade structure, picnic table, fire pit, and trash bin made for an easy, comfortable stay.

The view from the mesa looking into the valley during the day was amazing, and the stars at night were spectacular — we saw multiple shooting stars and a very clear Milky Way.

Eoin, Special Projects & Alyssa’s Partner

1. The Landing, Index, WA. Skykomish River, WA

Campsite by a river with a view over Mt Index. Excellent fishing and swimming spot, only 1hr from Seattle!

Julie, Brand & Community Manager

1. Moon A-Frame Tiny Cabin, Cedar Bloom, Oregon

Stay here now. For multiple days. This is my second time visiting, one year later and the additions and improvements are insane. Easily in my top 5 places to camp. I originally planned to stay for one night on a 1-week road trip loop up from San Francisco and extended it to 3 nights because it’s just that incredible.

Everything you need is here and more. Mea and Cedar Bloom have gone above and beyond making this a true forest sanctuary and place of healing, rest and play.

– Everything
– But especially, the A-frame tiny cabins
– Sauna + swimming hole, rinse & repeat
– The composting toilet ?
– Welcome & property signage is ??
– Diggin Livin the nearby natural foods store + breakfast burrito & acai bowls

I already plan on making another trip back up here to book the Oregon Caves National Monument Off-Trail Caving Tour.

2. The Gypsy Ranch RV/Van Camp, The Gypsy Ranch, Northern CA

WOW. Go here now. This is one of my new favorite places to visit. The access to the waterfall and swimming holes are insane. There is plenty of space to spread out between campers. Cory is the nicest camp host ever.

I didn’t quite believe the photos prior to visiting and there is actually so much more than you would expect from what’s been shared by previous campers. Endless swimming holes along the river, and swimming under the waterfall is just a 5-minute walk from camp. I went for a solo quiet weekend by myself, and definitely want to plan to come back and share this hidden gem with my friends and spot up in the tent camping area. There are lots of outdoor games already setup like a volleyball net, horseshoes, etc which is awesome.

I left a review under the tent sites as well, and helped Cory make this listing because I think it’s pretty perfect for a van or small RV to spot up and enjoy everything there is to offer at the Gypsy Ranch.

3. Songdog West Campsites, Cuyama Badlands, CA

Another trip to Songdog under the belt! This is one of my favorite places to camp. Jim the owner is awesome and he has this campground thing dialed. Each tent camping site has a picnic table, garbage can, fire ring, shade structure and lounge chairs. If you’re able, hike or take a trip all the way down the road to Ballinger Canyon for sunset and hike to the top and around the hills. We stayed here on a new moon and the stars were insane (highly recommend this!). Already thinking of when I can come back and spend more time here. Thanks Jim!

4. Desert Mountain Majesty, Sky Camp, Joshua Tree, CA

Camping at Desert Mountain Majesty was a blessing in disguise… I visited Desert Mountain Majesty on a whim over Christmas break 2016… We planned to go camping in Joshua Tree National Park and not only was there a line of cars 100 deep, every single campsite in the park was full. There wasn’t a chance of camping in the park, it was 4pm on a Thursday and as we’re driving out of the park, we directly booked Desert Mountain Majesty and had a place to stay that night. Kimberly was instantly responsive and accommodating, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. 9 months later and I’m going for my third time in Sept when I drive down to a show at Pappy & Harrietts. Since I first went there have been so many cool art murals and upgrades to the ambiance of the camp. There’s a shower, flushing toilet (in the desert!), and great communal amenities. Bring your friends and some bacon to roast over the fire, you can’t really ask for much more – DMM is one of my favorite places to camp!

5. Lakeshore Tent Camping, Paradise Shores Camp, CA

The tent sites here are the best! Already planning my trip back. 🙂 When you stay here you can take paddle boards and kayaks out on the lake from the office. Stop by Old West, an awesome trading post in Bridgeport, and find yourself at nearby hot springs in the early morning or late at night. Paradise Shores is truly a playground for kids and adults. Such a great communal vibe here and amazing access to the outdoors!

Alicia, Head of SEO

1. Stars Aligned River Retreat, GA

It’s along the longest continuous paddle trail in GA – the Satilla River is 140 miles of undeveloped green space. The hosts purchased the land to protect it from strip-mining, and to protect the hundreds-year old cypress trees along the river. They serve as river-keepers and manage the space. They will loan you a kayak to launch and paddle, or give you an ATV tour of the cypress preserve. You can walk to the private beach along the river from the cabin. Also, you’re less than an hour’s drive from Georgia’s coastal islands, and Cumberland is NOT to be missed.

2. Glamping 4 on Franny’s Farm, Camping On Organic Farm, North Carolina

Franny’s farm is not far from the quirky town of Asheville, NC, and nestled between Pisgah and the Smokies. Bees, baby goats, breathtaking sunrises, and a solar powered camp kitchen!

Zach, Software Engineer

1. Camp Elk, Chanslor Ranch, Northern CA

Amazing views, beautiful property, great location, and good vibes.

Alyssa, Hipcamp Founder & CEO

1. The Landing, Index, WA. Skykomish River, WA

WOW!! The Landing is one of the most beautiful campsites I’ve ever had the opportunity to visit in my life. Photos can’t do the towering granite spires, rushing river, and soft lush forest justice. Dave has done simply masterful work creating the campsite itself, with a huge table, great fire ring, and flat soft areas to pitch your tent. We were in campsite #1, #2 is great too. I can’t wait to come back here… ideally for a week or more. This is a spot you really want to sink into. The rapids in the river provide for great fun but also be careful as this river is serious and can be dangerous too. We did some paddleboarding which was awesome, we fell a lot though. A tube would have been better. The nearby town of Index is very sweet, the people are so friendly. If you need wifi, a short drive to the town’s cafe which only opens for a couple hours from 9am-11am and serves as a community gathering place provides for a great experience. 11/10, can’t wait to come back. Thanks Dave!!!

2. Wild Tender Ranch Sweeping Views, Wild Tender Ranch, CA

3. The Corn Crib, Savinski Family Farm, CA

Corn Crib is a fantastic place to camp!! Ginger and her family are great hosts and this sweet farm is surrounded by redwoods and gorgeous state park land. You are on the Ave of the Giants, so the location couldn’t be better. The fresh eggs were as local as it gets and super delicious as well!! Looking forward to coming back and paddling the Eel too!

4. WindTree Vista, WindTree Medicine Wheel, CA

Wind Tree is amazing! We stayed in the Cobb House and enjoyed the incredible ocean views and great vibes of this permaculture farm. The Cobb House is located amongst a cluster of buildings on the farm. We really enjoyed sunset from the Peace Pole, reading books by the fireplace in the Cobb House, and going on a walk with the goats. If you’re coming from San Francisco I suggest going the “long” way along the ocean, it’s worth it. Elena our host was wonderful and I feel lucky we found this spot!

5. Meadow Tent, Sindisa Sanctuary, CA

6. Olympic View Cabin, Pacific Rim Institute, WA

Pacific Rim Institute is doing amazing work restoring the native plants and prairie lands of northern Whidbey Island, with great community involvement too. If you get a chance to learn about the seed collecting they do, take it—it’s very inspiring and your host Robert can share so much wisdom with you about the land and their work and how you can be part of it. The location is great, so close to beautiful sites around the island, my favorite was Deception Pass State Park only 30 minutes away. The cabins are great, nice comfy cots and very cool tiny house feel. The wifi is super fast, the showers are hot, and Robert creates an amazing experience for you to enjoy nature and learn about how to take care of it.

Mckinzie, Host Acquisition

1. Silver Fork Ranch, CA

The property is gorgeous and the host has created amazing campsites and a tipi site for you to choose from. They are also close to amazing river spots where you can spend your day jumping from waterfall to waterfall!

Annelise, Head of Support

1. The Well House, Separate Star Point, CA

Amazing views, lots of space to yourself, badass cats!

Carlos, Support Guide

1. Lakeshore Tent Camping, Paradise Shores Camp, CA

I don’t think I have the words to convey how much I loved staying here for a week and for the Hospitality that was shown to me by the Hosts. Everything lived up to my expectations. From pre-arrival communication to arriving after hours- I felt like I mattered and the Hosts we genuinely excited to have me stay on their property. I was at tent site #3 and could roll out of bed and into a kayak and paddle out on the Bridgeport Reservoir. It was absolutely amazing. The East Walker River is less than a 5-minute drive from camp. I was fly fishing some of the best water in the country and I could not believe how close it was to where I was staying. Paradise Shores is a great base camp for Eastern Sierra exploration. I drove all the way down to Big Pine to hike the 7 lakes in a day. made trips down to Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake, Bodie, and more. I HIGHLY recommend a stay here!

Madison, Success Manager

1. Songdog West Campsites, Cuyama Badlands, CA

Still my favorite Hipcamp! The gorgeous sunset views from the mesa never get old. Will be back soon.

2. Bunker Bay View Drive-In, Mare Island, CA

This bunker is awesome because it’s lined with astroturf! Makes it surprisingly homey. It was cold and foggy the night we went out, but we were completely warm with our tents pitched inside the bunker. (Also protected us against the wind.) This site can also hold tons and tons of people comfortably. Definitely one of the most unique camping experiences I’ve had–we’ll be back.

3. Summit at Chanslor, Chanslor Ranch, CA

This is the most beautiful campsite I have ever been to in my life. 360 views, completely private. Highly recommend! Some other good things to know: – 2 mile hike-in so pack accordingly – bring your own water – if you arrive before 6pm you might have the option to pay a $20 porter to carry your gear/firewood up – firewood bundles available for $10 Can’t say enough good things about this incredible site. Will definitely be back.

4. The Well House, Separate Star Point, CA

If you can believe it, this spot is even more beautiful than the photos. There’s a wicked fire pit, grill, and bench, plus tons of primo cliff perches–and you get ’em all to yourself. (Well, you might have to share with the Wellhouse folks, but they’ll probably be cool too.) Just make sure you pick up firewood on your way in. If you don’t feel like cooking, the Ocean Cove Bar and Grill is only a two-minute walk down the road. You’re also a short drive from Salt Point Park hiking (to your north) and Salmon Creek surfing (to your south.) Stop at the Aquatica Cafe in Jenner on your way in–the lox on focaccia was ?

5. Desert Mountain Majesty, Sky Camp, Joshua Tree, CA

We had Sky Camp all to ourselves on Monday night. The shade structures here are as good as it gets—they’re covered in beautiful paintings and have great seating. And don’t even get me started on that shower! It’s open-air with a rain-style shower head and so incredibly refreshing on a hot day. We worked remotely here all day by tethering to our phones—Verizon and ATT both had 4 bars/4G.

Julie's first camping memory was driving across the country with her family on a 3-week road trip in their cerulean blue Chevy van at age 4. She lived #vanlife for 7 years, & strives to make the outdoors accessible, and inclusive to all. Her top three unessential camping items are: a speaker, LED poi, and LED twinkle lights for ambiance.

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