Bay Area Camping for Dummies: Cabin Edition - 510 Families

Bay Area Camping for Dummies: Cabin Edition

Thanks to our guest blogger today, Audrey Hall, for sharing her experiences cabin camping in the Bay Area with her family. Each section links to a post on her blog, The Thrifty Traveler, about the destination she suggests. Enjoy!

If you are like me and you LOVE the idea of being an outdoorsy camping family, but the reality of actually camping with young kids is a bit intimidating, then cabin camping might just be the solution! It’s the perfect stepping stone towards becoming a real camper without having to invest in all the camping gear or sleep on the ground! Even better, there are several really amazing options for cabin camping right here in the Bay Area. Below is a roundup of my three favorite glamping destinations – all within an hours drive of Berkeley!

Steep Ravine Cabins

The Steep Ravine Cabins were our first experience cabin camping as a family, and set the bar pretty high for all future cabin stays. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, these century-old cabins provide an amazing backdrop for a little time in nature. We have stayed in the Steep Ravine cabins twice and both times I have left with a huge appreciation for the simplicity of the setting. I am not exactly sure how to explain it, but when you strip away most of your belongings and settle into a bare cabin with just the necessities, it is extremely refreshing. I suppose that’s why people love camping so much! Everything slows down. You can find all the details of both of my family’s Steep Ravine trips, as well as tips on what to bring, here and here.

cabin camping in the bay area

Location: 2 miles south of Stinson Beach in Marin.
Cost: $100/night.

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West Point Inn

This secluded getaway nestled among the trees of the southern slope of Mt. Tam is possibly my favorite cabin camping option (although it really is hard to choose a favorite!). It combines the adventure of camping with the conveniences of plumbing, real mattresses to sleep on, and a full kitchen for preparing meals. The sleeping porch (pictured above) is clearly the prized jewel of the cabin, which turns an otherwise small and rustic cabin into a truly special retreat. The large barn doors open onto a sizable porch with an outdoor sink and shower and sweeping views of the Bay Area. Oh the views! I could have spent hours, if not days, just staring at the views. The main lodge also has accommodations that are a bit less rustic, but only sleep two people per room. It’s important to note that the lodge and cabins can ONLY be accessed by a 2-mile hike, but don’t let that scare you off!!! You can read all about our trip here. (Our kids were just shy of 3 and 5 years old at the time of our visit).

Location: Mt. Tamalpais (Marin)
Cost: Cabins/rooms at the West Point Inn are $50 per adult and $25 for children ages 2-17.

Samuel P. Taylor Cabins

Located just 15 minutes from the town of Point Reyes Station and the Point Reyes National Seashore, these cabins are the perfect option for those looking to spend time in the area without breaking the bank. They are also perfect for those looking to ease into cabin camping. The cabins come equipped with electricity, platform bunk beds with mattresses, wood floors, covered porches, and a small electric stove. There are 4 bunks (one full-size mattress and three single beds) and the top bunks have rails, making them pretty safe for kids. There are plenty of trails for hiking as well as a small river that runs through the park.

cabin camping in the bay area

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Read all the details of our trip here. To keep you busy on your stay, here are a few of our favorite places we have visited in Point Reyes: Heart’s Desire Beach, Tule Elk Preserve, Abbott’s Lagoon, Limantour Beach and if you head up to the town of Tomales, be sure to visit Dillon’s Beach.

Location: Lagunitas (on Sir Francis Drake Blvd), just 15 minutes from Point Reyes Station
Cost: Cabins rent for $100/night.

What are you favorite cabin camping options in Northern California?

Follow Audrey’s family-friendly, thrifty adventures on her blog Thrifty Traveler!

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2 thoughts on “Bay Area Camping for Dummies: Cabin Edition”

    1. Samuel Taylor and Steep Ravine open up their reservations 6-7 month in advance of the date. The West Point Inn allows reservations 3 months prior to the date. For mid-week reservations, Samuel Taylor and the West Point Inn are fairly easy to reserve a couple months in advance (if not a couple weeks in advance). Steep Ravine is very competitive to get a reservation at, however they REGULARLY have last minute spots open up, typically during the week. So if you have any flexibility with your schedule, you can snag a last minute reservation at Steep Ravine, typically a week or two in advance. More details of the reservation process can be found by following the links to the original blog post. It definitely requires a little bit of advanced planning, but definitely worth it! 🙂

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