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!
Mono Camp in the summer is just as lovely as in the fall! Definitely gets hot during the day (it is the high desert after all), but mornings and long, warm summer evenings with the endless stars are perfect. We can always reliably spot the Milky Way and multiple planets right from our comfy campfire chairs. This spot is closer to the road than the others, so expect a bit more car traffic noise from fellow campers coming in and out, but the site still has expansive area all to yourself. Views of the lake aren’t as clear as from Juniper, but a quick walk up the incline to the water spigot reveals it all.
There’s a clean, site-specific pit toilet with a great view of the mountains, a table for prepping food, and lots of options for tent setup, especially angling so that you’re in the shade from the early morning sun. Firepit with a cooking grate and two chairs. Amazing-smelling plants all over the place. Super easy access to the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite. Still one of my favorite Hipcamp properties!
Sweet little cabin on a great property just a quick little walk to a private swimming hole on the Cosumnes River! The cabin itself is very simple and pretty bare bones with a pullout futon, but has screened windows and a locking door. Great for when you don't feel like pitching a tent (though there's a nice tent site just a short walk away — I can see it being fun to book both for a little group). Bring your own sleeping bag / pillow / bedding. There's a little wood-burning stove if you get cold at night, though by early June, it was already plenty warm enough to sleep with the windows open (in a sleeping bag).
The swimming spot and river access is amazing — so secluded, no one in sight, and a wide expanse of flat rock that makes a nice little "beach" for hanging out on. The river is definitely moving very quickly at this time of year, so be careful.
The road in is dirt and has some private driveways branching off that sometimes look like the main road, as others have mentioned, but there was no issue navigating to Jeralynn's spot in daylight — you can easily tell what's main road and what's driveway with enough light. Just follow her detailed instructions, instead of what Google Maps says. And keep in mind that there's no bathroom and no outside table/space to cook or put stuff on. Lots of grassy space but with tall grass; what you're really getting is a little cabin structure and amazing access to the river for a great deal.
Second time at Crystal Bay Farm and it's as lovely as ever — so fun to come back during different seasons and see the changes to the land! This time we stayed in the tipi, which is huge; you can easily fit a big group inside. The little area for the tipi group is perfect. It has a charcoal grill, firepit, picnic table, spigot, and the bunny hatch (key detail)! Everything's in bloom in the springtime, and on our short walk down the road to the beach for sunset, we saw maybe 10-20 wild rabbits too. It was a perfect camping experience. Thanks Lori!
Songdog and Jim are the best! This is really what Hipcamping is all about. Jim has created an oasis in the middle of the badlands, with a huge variety of sites to choose from depending on what you're looking for. Draw Camp, one of his newest ones, is as the end of the road past the other Songdog West sites, on the far end of the mesa. All of the dirt roads are drivable with a regular little passenger car, and this one dead ends in a loop at your campsite. No neighbors in sight or earshot (the outhouse shared with other sites is a little walk away, but that ensures total privacy). In mid-April, the flowers are unbelievable — there were thick blankets of flowers in every direction. We were lucky with the superbloom, but Jim said every April is still beautiful.
The site has his standard setup with a picnic table, pergola, firepit and grill, trash can, water spigot, and two very comfortable lounging chairs — everything you need to just settle in and stay for awhile. Even though it was still quite relatively cool, we opted to spring for the extra soaking tub to fully enjoy the sun, and we were so glad we did. Jim brings it right up to your site and sets it all up for you — he even knows the best spot to put it for maximum views. When it's hot, nothing feels better!
Sunsets are amazing up here; you have a line of sight across the whole expanse of the valley, stretching out to the mountains on the other side. And the stars are night are crisp and clear. It's just so quiet and peaceful, and we didn't want to leave.
Jim is such a wonderful and experienced host, too. He has firewood for sale if needed, and is full of local tips and suggestions. We were headed up to Carrizo Plain the next day (just a quick drive up the highway, so close!) and he gave us a map and detailed instructions to get to the best spots. We're already planning the next trip back and can't figure out if we want to try out other areas of Songdog, or stick to this one most perfect campsite ever. Thank you, Jim!
Dana has created a sweet getaway experience with her cute cabin tucked up against a stream. You’re in the forest but close to the main road (a quick little drive to the beach and Morro Bay, as well as great restaurants and wineries), with curious goats keeping you company next door.
The tiny house was adorable and thoughtfully decorated — and most importantly, well stocked! We could cook simple dinner and breakfasts with all she provided: charcoal grill, camp stove, pots and pans, spices, cutlery, tableware, coffee grinder, kettle, even a little fridge and a toaster! Plus a sink and everything you need to clean up afterwards.
The loft bed was incredibly comfortable. The couch below pulls out for extra sleep space too. I was amazed at how much fit into such a little house that seemed so small from the outside. And at how much sunlight came in despite being surrounded by shady oaks. The outdoor shower was fantastic, and the chiminea allowed us to enjoy a fire and the stars without it getting too smoky. As others mentioned, the toilet is a porta-potty (an impeccably clean and well-lit one!) a short little walk up the hill, so not a flush toilet. But so clean!
Dana has set up a glamping tent atop the neighboring hill that’s in view, but when we stayed at Frog Hollow, she hadn’t started hosting guests in it yet — she’s very mindful of wanting to keep each guest’s experience peaceful and private. You can tell she cares so much about her visitors. Highly recommend staying with her if you get a chance to explore this charming little corner of the central coast!