Flip Jack Ranch is a serene retreat in the heart of the Santa Cruz mountains. Choose the Cowgirl room if you’re looking for a private getaway spot without having to forfeit any of the comforts of a B&B; it’s separated from the rest of the house in the back, and has its own private bathroom, entrance, and patio. The whole place is generally peaceful, with only a handful of guests at a time, but this room will guarantee that you’ll go unbothered. There was so much wildlife - deer, turkeys, and the resident peacock! - that came right up to the door and windows because it’s so much quieter back there.
Perfect for reading, writing, hibernating, and taking an occasional trip to the property’s hot tub, or even venturing into Santa Cruz or to all of the surrounding trails and beaches. You’re deep in the redwoods and yet still so close to everything. And Robin and her team go out of their way to make you feel cared for and welcome on their property. Plus her cooking is so good, and much of it is locally sourced!
Love what the Blue Sky Center is trying to create in the Cuyama Valley. Pay them a visit to this beautiful part of central California, learn about the special community, and support their work!
One thing to note is that if you're visiting in the middle of winter, be prepared for the nighttime. If you run cold, bring a warm sleeping bag and other cold-weather clothing you would normally bring camping. While the hut had a little heater, heated mattress pad, and blankets, the walls are still partially canvas (so not the best at retaining heat) and it can definitely get below freezing. With a sleeping bag, it was perfect!
Enjoying the cabin and the Mono Lake area in winter is really an experience. It’s cold and snowy, and breathtakingly beautiful! The temperature dropped down to 12°F overnight but the wood burning stove kept us cozy. The stars were, as always, incredible, but felt even crisper and clearer than I’ve ever seen them from Mono Camp. Take a trip to one of the nearby hot springs, and soak in the snowy mountains and quiet stillness that surrounds. Make sure you check road conditions and are prepared to drive in winter weather. And take care of this special spot!
I'll keep coming back again and again! Best spot and best Hipcamp. The little cabin gets better each time with all of the thoughtful touches and additions — a little familiar home in the high desert that's always the perfect reset. ❤️
The Camp at Carmel Valley is an idyllic spot in the hills near Carmel and Big Sur. It's like being at summer camp — actually was historically an amazing summer camp, now fully redone and equipped to host retreats, groups, and anyone looking for a nature getaway with some sweet amenities. The cabins and bathrooms have been remodeled and definitely feel like glamping (flush toilets in your own bathroom!), and the common areas are great places to gather and eat the delicious food they cook up. As you walk around the property, you'll come across deer, turkeys, woodpeckers, and plenty of majestic oak trees. And there's so much to do on the property, from the tennis courts to the pool to the full horse facilities! Jim, your host, and his whole team are also extremely welcoming and accommodating for anything you need. We had a great weekend here.
Great little house on a sweet farm in upstate New York! The tiny house was larger than I thought it would be, with two separate sleeping lofts and a couch. Also furnished with a little kitchen, table, chairs, grill and firepit outside, and a clean composting toilet just next door. The house is near the self-serve farm stand which offers plenty of fresh veggies, eggs, and other farm goodies for sale, as well as the chicken coop!
We didn't spent much time on the property, but it was a perfect, comfortable place to rest. Heads up that there are no linens, but we had brought sleeping bags — it can get cold going into autumn. Overall the property was easy to find, right off the main road, and yes, there is definitely a brewery directly next door! It's also a quick drive into town and not far from climbing at the Gunks.
Silver Fork Ranch is the quintessential Hipcamp experience — an expansive, beautiful ranch in the midst of national forest land. Total gem near Tahoe and Kirkwood! Rod's a welcoming and caring host, and has worked hard to create some very peaceful and comfortable campsites on his property. There's a huge meadow, towering pines, and site 4 is right next to an idyllic pond full of ducks. The sites are all well-spaced apart, so that you still feel like you have so much privacy from the other groups. Site 4 is closer to Rod's house than the others, but he very kindly assures you that it's still extremely private since he uses blackout blinds.
He's outfitted the site with two picnic tables, a bench, chairs, a firepit with a nifty adjustable grill for cooking on, and of course, free firewood (!!). There's a water spigot and a clean porta-potty. Plenty of space for lots of cars and tents, great for groups — I think we had four or five tents, and other sites definitely had even more. Endless stars. So much to do nearby, and so much to enjoy at the site itself if you just want to stay put and do nothing. Go visit!
If you haven't ever experienced sleeping on a gigantic, comfortable bed outside (with all of the comforts of home like plush pillows and cozy blankets), you definitely need to pay a visit to River Haven. Susan has set up a bunch of real beds along the meandering, sloped trail behind her house, that leads down to the most incredible little private swimming hole on the Yuba River. The beds are enclosed by large tents where you can pull back the sides/coverings to let all that sunlight, fresh air, tree views, and river sounds in, or close them for more privacy. All nestled in the lush gardens and foliage lining the bank. I had some of the most restful sleep I've had in awhile here, lulled by the river, birds chirping, and leaves rustling. You're sleeping outside, but in a comfy bed as if you're inside. What more could you want?
As if that's not enough, Susan generously gives you full access to the house, which also has many rooms that can also be rented out. There are multiple shared bathrooms (with showers), a fridge, and a full kitchen you can cook in. We made pad thai for dinner from scratch, if that's any indication of what you can do there. Many PCT hikers come through and post up for a night, making for a fun and warm community of people with plenty of stories.
Okay, but the star of the show is the swimming hole. It's right there, a little short trail walk and you're in your own private river haven (see what I did there?). Trees for hanging hammocks, smooth rocks for prime sunbathing, and apparently deep enough for jumping off the rock on the far end (I did not attempt this, as I was too busy sunbathing, but Annelise did, and you can see she posted a review so she survived to tell the tale).
River Haven is right in the town of Sierra City which has a grocery store, gas station, cafe, and more. Very convenient for getting what you need while still feeling like you have some forest and river space to yourself. Just 20 minutes to world-class mountain biking in Downieville (or not far up to the drop-in on Butcher Ranch Road which opens up miles and miles of more trails), national forest, plenty of pristine and quiet lakes to swim in, and vast, less-mobbed parts of Tahoe. A very sweet and charming part of the Sierras.
Harris Tree Farm is the most charming spot right off of Highway 50! I've already recommended it to so many people who live in the Tahoe/Sacramento area, even just to stop by and pick up some goodies. Not only is it a great Hipcamp to stay at, but it's a working farm with seasonal u-pick offerings (berries!), freshly baked pies and turnovers (SO. GOOD. And the turnovers are vegan!), frozen pies you can grab and go to enjoy at home, homemade jams and pickles, and of course farm animals.
Jane is a wonderful host, so welcoming and thoughtful, and clearly works extra and overtime to make sure everyone is having an amazing experience at her farm — whether just visiting quickly to pick up a pie, or staying overnight. She's carved out three sites on her property that are nestled in a peaceful forest of tall pines, each carefully cleared out and equipped with a picnic table and chairs. It's a short little drive from her main visitor's area to the sites, up a dirt road that can be a little bumpy, but we did just fine in a regular sedan. There's a clean porta-potty, and it's a short walk back to the store to visit the communal campfire and picnic area she has set up. Do keep in mind that Jane needs to show you to your spot, so showing up too late or when she's not there might be more complicated. But she's very responsive so just get in touch!
We had a very short, but very sweet stay at Harris Tree Farm. Will definitely be back!
Great spot for big groups looking for a peaceful and beautiful retreat! Montrese and Anders are the most thoughtful and devoted hosts. Can’t beat the views of the ocean and watching the free-roaming rescue horses enjoy the gorgeous land. They’ve also added some amazing new facilities, structures to stay in, and gathering spaces. Wild Tender is a special place. Go experience it!