One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is just how quickly you can get out of it. There are hundreds of campgrounds and thousands of trails located in the foothills and mountains of Southern California. Since social distancing comes naturally in the great outdoors, it is the perfect activity for you and your family during this unprecedented summer.
KTLA’s Wendy Burch was given the assignment to find the most unique camping and glamping spots in her series of special reports entitled, “Destination California.” The first place she headed was the Mt. Baldy Lodge, which has long been a favorite watering hole.
Located an hour away from L.A. and the O.C, and only 15 minutes from the 210 Freeway, the lodge is in the center of Mt. Baldy Village and 4,000 feet above the smog and heat. It’s a fun place for an afternoon or a whole day, but what many people may not realize is that the Mt. Baldy Lodge is also a great place to stay. The lodge has about a dozen cozy cabins for rent. Overnight guests enjoy endless outdoor activities on the property including volleyball, basketball horseshoes and a heated swimming pool.
According to General Manager, Charlie Ellingson, whose family owns and operates the lodge, “The lodge is like a hidden gem. Most people don’t realize how much stuff we have in the back. Once they check in, a whole world opens up for you.”
But if you are looking for the ultimate mountain high, Wendy recommends heading up the hill to the Mt. Badly Ski Resort. You can actually book a two-night stay in one of the 12-tent cabins that sit on the ski trials during the summer. To reach the top, you simply have to catch a lift — the ski lift, that is.
Camping on top of world will cost around $200 for two people. That price includes the lift tickets, the cabin rental and meals that are prepared for you at the Top of the Notch restaurant located within walking distance of your tent cabins.
The Operations Manager of the Mt Baldy Ski Resort, Tommy Ellingson (who just happens to be Charlie’s brother) says, “I don’t know of any place in Southern California, let alone the west coast, where you can camp this high up that is so easily accessible.”
However, if you are looking for an adventure a little more wild, Wendy recommends you make your way the Reptacular Ranch, a place that offers campers the complete safari experience. People can pitch their own tent on this private property located about 10 minutes from the 210 Freeway in Sunland. The owners of the ranch run a private zoo, complete with camels, emus, alpacas, a zebra, some goats and a whole lot of creepy, crawly critters (including a giant yellow python).
Jennifer Lagunker, who runs the Reptacular Ranch with her husband and young children, says, “Campers don’t just sleep under the stars, they get the chance to get up close and personal with real wild animals.”
She says the feedback they get from guests is great: “Our guests love camping out and hearing all of these sounds coming from animals you find all over the world.”
But Wendy realizes not everyone is cut out for camping. If you just can’t be comfortable without a high-thread count, she suggests checking in to the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel and checking out its Glamping Suite. Located right on the rooftop, overlooking Rodeo Drive, you will find a luxurious hotel suite, with a sprawling terrace. On the far end stands a 10-foot tall tent with a king size bed and a chandelier overhead. Of course, your glamping experience comes complete with all the amenities: flatscreen TV, 24-hour room service and even 24-karat marshmallows for a s’more that will make you craving for more.
According to Chris Gleeson, Director of Marketing, Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire (also known as “The Pretty Woman Hotel,” “This glamping structure up on the roof, under the stars with views of the Hollywood Hills is very unique. This place truly puts the glamour in glamping.”
Although the Four Seasons has been closed for most of COVID-19, the property is scheduled to reopen in August and they are taking advance reservations.