It’s one of those made-up fusion words meant to convey the idea of “glamorous” camping, a concept adopted from African safari tradition and catching on in California and elsewhere in the world. Glamping for DogTrekkers might involve a dog-friendly platform tent, yurt, tipi, Airstream trailer or any other kind of outdoors-oriented lodging where guests aren’t required to pitch a tent.
In far Northern California, Lassen Volcanic National Park, in partnership with Coleman Camping Gear, has just become the first national park in the nation to experiment with ready-to-go campsites geared toward travelers who have never camped before or don’t own their own gear. The “RentMyTent” program, available for a $67 surcharge at sites on two loops in the dog-friendly Manzanita campground, provides a set-up-and-waiting 17×9-foot Adventure tent, two heavy-duty cots, two camper chairs and a lantern. Campers need only bring sleeping bags and cooking gear—which also are available for rent at lassenrecreation.com. Please note: while dogs are allowed in Lassen campsites, they aren’t allowed on trails. Read about the pet policy and make note of nearby national forests where Fido is good to go.
Vintage travel-trailer parks are another glamping trend, offering a fun twist on the RV experience. One dog-friendly example is Autocamp Airstream Park in downtown Santa Barbara. Smartly refurbished in a variety of styles, from retro to Euro-chic, the five trailers moored here come with plush bed linens and bath products, kitchenettes, decks and a gas grill. Only small dogs (maximum 20 pounds) are allowed, but if your pooch fits the bill, give it four paws up! New Autocamps are set to open next year in Ventura, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Moving south to the desert, Kate’s Lazy Desert, six miles from Joshua Tree National Park, is a village of six Airstreams restored “to wacky perfection” by artists Phillip Maberry and Scott Walker, whose house is featured in the B-52’s “Love Shack” video. Three of the trailers are dog-friendly. Small dogs are preferred, so if yours is on the large size, please call first.
Yurts (circular, tent-like structures fashioned after nomadic dwellings in Mongolia) are an especially popular glamping option. And while bare-bones yurts (bring your own sleeping bag) are springing up in many state and regional parks, few of them are dog-friendly. An exception can be found at Mount Madonna County Park near Watsonville, where dogs are welcome to join their people in two units, one sleeping up to six, the other up to eight. Each comes furnished with bunk beds, mattresses, fold-out futon, locking door and a deck with picnic table, fire ring and bear box. Free showers are nearby; all you need to bring is sleeping bags, food, utensils and lawn chairs. Mount Madonna, by the way, offers 14 miles of dog-friendly hiking trails.
Photo Credit: Ranch Seeker (CC)