Glamping a gentler alternative to traditional camping

Glamping (glam or glamor camping) as some call it, is about enjoying all the comforts of home in the great outdoors.

Lance Campbell and his wife Brandie haven't been camping in their 15 years of marriage. Brandie is an avid camper but she could never talk Lance into going until now.

"I'm not much of a camping fanatic, you know; it's just not my thing but we're having fun up here glam camping," Lance said.

They are in Costanoa Lodge, south of half moon bay with the Ohlone Ridge surrounding it and the Pacific Ocean a stone's throw away. Comfortable beds are provided in warm bungalows with all the comforts of home, and in some cases, a hot tub to relax your stress away.

"Absolutely, it's a definite compromise; you get the best of both worlds," Brandie said. "So you have kind of like a little bit of a hotel, but you still have the rustic feel of camping as well."

Meals can be purchased or you can cook your own.

Bungalows at Costanoa's start at $89 during the summer season. Families can rent two bungalows for as little as $195.

Those that prefer to go to a traditional camp ground can still create their own glamping experience.

"You're not sleeping on the hard ground, you're not existing on crummy coffee and just cold bowls of cereal for breakfast, but it's a really wonderful experience," Sunset Magazine's Elaine Johnson said.

Sunset recommends a six-foot high tent from Mountainsmith. It sleeps five and retails for $360.

"For making the bed we've got this great mat and then really make like you're at home, why not just bring in your own bedding," Johnsons said.

The MegaMat from Exped self inflates, but can also be adjusted for comfort. It retails for $219. A space blanket placed underneath will keep you warm.

A $70 Portex stainless steel coffee grinder, a French press from Snow Peak or a Coleman portable drip coffee maker will get your morning started. Cinnamon rolls baked in your own Dutch oven manufactured by Lodge, tasty oatmeal from a homemade mix and buttery brioche bread with a hole in the middle just big enough for a fried egg complete your breakfast.

"My kids are having a ball already, and we've only been here six hours," Santa Cruz resident Anna Attia said.

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