If sleeping on the ground isn’t your thing, but you still want to enjoy the outdoors, you’re in luck. Perched on the Big Sur, California, cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you’ll discover one of the most unique camping areas ever: Treebones Resort.

It’s a hidden gem in Big Sur, which has no city center or local government. In fact, Big Sur has fewer people living there today than in 1900.

All the comforts you’ll need. Photo: Courtesy of Treebones Resort

A real eco-friendly resort, Treebones strives to create as light a footprint on the Earth as possible. Employees live on site, which reduces greenhouse emissions since their commute is on foot. There are plenty of recycling and composting containers on the grounds; in fact, all kitchen scraps from the restaurant are fed to their happy chickens or composted at the organic garden.

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Treebones recycles heat through an exchanger to supply hot water for radiant-heated floors, the pool and spa, and for hot-water use in the kitchen and restrooms. Any material they don’t use when building on the property, they donate to Habitat for Humanity. For lighting, they use high-efficiency pumps, LED or CFL lighting, and they use skylights in all the buildings to reduce electricity consumption.

Upon check-in, a Treebones Resort employee will greet you at your car in one of five quiet-running, zero-emission electric golf carts to pick up your luggage and drive you to your site. As you cruise around the grounds, enjoy the views of the California coast, gorgeous hiking trails and lush trees surrounding you.

Here are Treebones Resort’s lodging options:


If you’ve never stayed in a yurt, you’re missing out. Photo: Courtesy of Treebones Resort

Unlike most camping areas, Treebones Resort offers guests the opportunity to sleep in a yurt — a round structure with wood-lattice frames covered in fabric, crushing your typical tent. Set up with a cozy bed, plush blankets, modern-day amenities and a Scandinavian fireplace, you can pad across polished pine floors and throw open the French doors to access a large redwood deck with breathtaking coastal views. At night, guests can stargaze in 5-star comfort.

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Take a short walk through the grounds to the bathrooms and showers, which have hot water.

Autonomous tent

For a little more money, this autonomous tent is the ticket. Photo: Courtesy of Treebones Resort

Getting off the grid doesn’t have to mean giving up luxury. Tucked away at the edge of the resort, the autonomous tent, which feels like a massive cocoon, offers a private deck and an outdoor fire pit from which you can witness some of the best sunsets in town.

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Powered by its dedicated solar array, this 500-square-foot tent comes with a plush king-sized bed, a gas fireplace and leather lounging chairs. It has its own bathroom, which includes a claw-foot shower and flushable composting toilet.

Human nest

Um, yes please. Photo: Courtesy of Treebones Resort

Yup, you read it right. Experience sleeping like a bird in a human-made woven-wood nest. The walk-in campsite mixes traditional camping and glamping to give you a whole new outdoor adventure.

Designed as a functional piece of art, the nest was created by Big Sur resident Jayson Fann so guests could interact with nature in a new way. Climb the private ladder to the nest, made of eucalyptus branches, and you’ll discover a 180-degree view of the coast. Crawl onto your futon mattress and take in the ocean breeze during the day and soothing moonlight at night.

Treebones suggests guests who sleep in the nest bring pillows, sleeping bags, a flashlight and anything else needed to keep warm. (Bring a tent to pitch next to the nest if it happens to rain.) Private picnic tables are next to your nest as well.


All the charm of real camping, with all the amenities of the resort nearby. Photo: Courtesy of Treebones Resort

For those who enjoy sleeping on the ground, but want a warm shower, pool or other glamping luxuries, this one is for you. Bring your tent and gear (pillows, sleeping bags, flashlight and other necessities to stay warm) and take in the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets a campground can offer. Bathrooms and showers are just a short stroll away.

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It would not be glamping without a few self-indulgences. Call a Treebones’ massage therapist for a relaxing session in their private studio. Take a dip in the heated Cliffside pool. Find peace during a private open-air yoga class. Or treat yourself to the only sushi available for 60 miles.

Space is limited, and lodging options book quickly. With 16 yurts, two nests, five campsites and one autonomous tent, a beautiful main lodge, an outdoor sushi bar and a heated swimming pool and hot tub, this should be at the top of your California must-visit list.