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September 9, 2005
Rugged Elegant Camping Inspired by USA Today's Jayne Clarke


In Friday's Life Section of USA Today, a great article by Jayne Clarke was written about "rugged elegant" five star camping under the stars.

Seven "up-market" campgrounds were touted. While we have only visited one of the seven, after a look on each web site it appears that six of them would be profiled in

Costanoa.Bungalow.jpg Costanoa Cypress Tent Bungalow

Costanoa Coastal Lodge & Camp, an hour south of San Francisco, is one that Tim and our seven year-old have experienced and would recommend. Tim, however, said that it was not quite up to the "elegant" standard that I would expect. On the "rugged elegant" scale, he insists it would make the cut. However, Costanoa would be on the "rugged" end of the scale.

Thanks to a number of 2nd grade families in San Francisco, we will be spending a weekend get-away this fall at Safari West in Santa Rosa. After our experience sleeping under the stars with exotic animals we will report back. Safari West is touted as a bed, breakfast and a room with a view... of giraffes!

The Treebones Resort south of Big Sur is typically over a five-hour drive south of San Francisco. However, Tim from Wu's Healing Center, said it took him just over three hours to get home without traffic last Saturday. Tim said, "It was incredible to wake up in the morning, open up my tent, and have the Pacific Ocean in direct view."

Treebones.Resort.Yurt.jpg Treebones Resort

To follow are the five location's Clark chose to highlight.

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Safari West - The Spirit of Africa in the Heart of the Wine Country

Safari.West.California.jpg Safari West's Deluxe Canvas Tent

In Santa Rosa, California, Safari West has 30 tent cabins in a 400-acre African wildlife preserve with 400-plus exotic mammals and birds. Cabins have wood floors, decks and private baths. $225 double includes breakfast; $25 an extra guest. Dinner: $25 adults; $15 children. Open year round. 800.616.2695;

Falling Waters Adventure Resort

Falling.Waters.Yurt.jpg Falling Waters Yurt

The eight themed yurts, such as Oriental or Victorian, at Falling Waters Adventure Resort at the southern edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina sport wrap-around decks, refrigerators and CD players. There's one bathroom for every two yurts and a communal hot tub. $69 single; $5 each additional guest up to four. Open March-Thanksgiving. 800.451.9972;

Buck's on the Brazos - Camping without all the hard work!


Southwest of Dallas, Buck's has three safari-style tents among primitive campsites. Tents have CD players, queen beds and outdoor cooking gear. Bathrooms are shared. $100 double. Open year round. 254-898-2825;

On their Homepage, Buck states:

By way of support for the good people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who lost so much in Hurricane Katrina, we would like to offer our park as a place for you and your family to get away from everything for a little while, even if it's only for a day or two. If you have an RV and would like to spend some time out in the country, please drop us a line ( and let us know you're on the way. We're honored to help out in whatever way we can.

For everybody else, Buck and the Duchess say, "Donate. Twice. Three times won't hurt, either."

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort - Remote, Refined, Remarkable

Clayoquot.Wilderness.Resort.jpg Clayoquot Resort Suite

Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Canada's Vancouver Island features 18 safari tents furnished with antiques, Persian rugs and queen beds. The all-inclusive resort has two dining tents and a restaurant. $3,998 a person, double, for three nights includes all food and drink, airfare from Vancouver and activities. Open May-September. 888-333-5405;

Costanoa Coastal Lodge & Camp

Costanoa.Bungalow.interior.jpg Costanoa Cypress Tent Bungalow Interior

Costanoa Coastal Lodge & Camp, an hour south of San Francisco on Highway 1, has several types of accommodations on its 30 acres adjacent to state parks, including 78 wood-and-canvas "tent bungalows" with Pottery Barn-style appointments. Shared "comfort stations" have fireplaces, saunas and heated floors. Other amenities include a spa. Open year round. Rates for two with breakfast start at $130 weekdays April-October. 877.262.7848;

Treebones Resort

Treebones Resort, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific off Highway 1 about 65 miles south of Monterey, Calif., has 16 furnished yurts, most with vanities. Bathrooms are shared. There's a lodge, pool and whirlpool. $129-$149 double with breakfast; $30 for extra guests. Open all year. 877.424.4787;

After looking at all of the above web sites, I have to say I'm ready to book a flight to Canada tomorrow and head to Clayoquot's Bedwell River Outpost.

Relais & Chateaux is the place to turn when looking for rugged elegant places of taste around the world on the "elegant" side of the equation. For those looking for a more "rugged" side of rugged elegant, the above places look like heaven on earth.

For Jayne Clarke's entire USA Today article, please go to:

Inspire & Be Inspired.

Here's to healthy, adventuresome, soulful, "luxury tent" living!

~ Jennifer Carolyn King, Rugged Elegance, LLC

Posted by jck at September 9, 2005 6:31 PM

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