In 2016, the term “glamping” was added to The American Heritage Dictionary with the concept gaining more and more popularity. Glamping, a blend of “glamorous” and “camping,” evolved from African safaris where demanding travelers slept in luxurious canvas tents. Glamping removes camping‘s negative attributes – leaky tents, smelly sleeping bags and improvised food, replaced with pre-set up, homelike accommodations (Boscoboinik & Bourguard, 2011) such as cabins, yurts, tipis, and treehouses. These temporary abodes are often furnished with luxury beds, quality linens, rugs, antique furnishings, and modern, sleek bathrooms.
Over the past few years, “glamping" has evolved as a popular trend & in 2012 the Travel Channel named glamping one of the “Five Hottest Trends in Girl Getaways.”
Alter Experiences LLC is one of the first glamping destinations in the Southern California. We have multiple affiliate locations in Julian, Laguna Mountain & Lake Cuyamaca. We're currently expanding to new destinations such as San Felipe, Baja California & Catalina Island. We choose sites that are remote, secluded, extremely bio-diverse and as close to nature as possible. We do the best we can to orient our accommodations and general operations to suit the surrounding nature and topography.
Each one of our sites has been handpicked with various factors taken into consideration, the first obviously being the proper tree configuration for our tree tents. It can get tricky with bigger groups when we need a greater density of trees available to set up site. Some sites are only available seasonally & we also try to rotate as much as possible to minimize the stress on our trees. This also gives an opportunity for return guest to always experience a new site. Facilities & amenities are standard across our multiple sites, but the locations will vary depending on the season & availability. Many factors come into play for us to deliver this one of a kind outdoor experience. Our primary sites are within the Cleveland National Forest & all sites are within the general vicinity of Cuyamaca - Julian - Laguna Mountain area.
Our tree tents and stout canvas tents are currently available at the Laguna Campground & Burnt Rancheria Campground in the Cleveland National Forest. We can accommodate a group of up to 16 people in adjoining sites (max 8 people per site).
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We currently manage several sites in Cleveland National Forest - Mount Laguna, Julian & near Lake Cuyamaca. These sites are nestled in the high mountain forests of San Diego's backcountry - sky islands where pristine nature & wild-life thrives. These are some of the most remote & biologically diverse habitats in all of Southern California that include many open space preserves, National Forest Lands and State Parks.
Our beautiful San Diego backcountry offers a wide-variety of venues, attractions and activities that would take weeks to fully experience. Everything from apple picking to hiking, water activities, mountain biking, historic tours, shopping, culinary / agri-tourism experiences and much more.
We offer various accommodation styles depending on location. These include tree tent by Tentsile, Stout Bell Tent and eco-domes. We're currently offering both tree tent and bell tent accommodations, which you can book here on Airbnb.
Our Tentsile tree tents are definitely the most popular - a lightweight treehouse that uses 3 anchor points to create a "living space" suspended between trees. Your glamping site comes complete with sleeping bag, standard amenities, lounge area, & outdoor kitchen. Our elevated tree tents bring a whole new dimension to the traditional camping experience.
For our coastal retreats we offer plush canvas tents with all the amenities you can expect at a hotel. There’s no place our glamping caravan can’t go. Join us on our next adventure.
Tentsile Tree Tents
Our tree tents consist of a hammock-like product called Tentsile. Tentstile is a remarkable invention - a lightweight, portable treehouse that uses 3 anchor points to create a "living space" suspended between trees. It's durable, safe, comfortable and built to last with 190D and 240D polyester, 2.5 tonne webbing straps, and tear resistant mesh walls. It can withstand up to 880lbs and we have tentsiles that can accommodate up to 3 people. Our double bubble can accommodate a family of 5.
Tentsiles add a whole new dimension to the camping experience and are very popular with kids. They are fun and also safe. We tend to adjust them as low as possible for children to safely play in. No more sleeping on the ground. Your Tentsile comes complete with sleeping pad, sleeping bag & pillow. A lower lounging area with rug is also provided & the Tentsile provides shade. It is our most popular accommodation style and least expensive.
Our versatile & groundbreaking Tentsile Tree Tent is a marvel in design. This comfortable outdoor shelter keeps you elevated above inhospitable terrain, insects, snakes & other creepy crawlies. The Stingray Tree Tent is our flagship three-person model made with a spacious, triple hammock interior that keeps campers separated & comfortable, & a rip-resistant durable micro-mesh that shields you overhead. The tent is accessed via a floor hatch with rope ladder in the center & a large front door. The elegant structure comprises an adjustable frame of 2.5 tonne webbing straps & is enclosed in a PU-coated waterproof polyester fabric fly. The webbing frame is held in tension at each of the three anchor points with ratchets. The micro-mesh material stays surprisingly taut & firm under weight. It can withstand up to 880lbs. The rainfly enclosure guards against the elements—which also forms a shaded are below & wind breaking thermal buffer once pegged to the ground. We have tree tents for couples and single glampers.
Stout Bell Tent
Our Stout Bell Tent was designed with the ultimate comfort in mind! It comes with a therapeutic queen mattress, pillows, linens, comforter, bedside tables, plush carpets & floor pillows, ambience lighting, chairs, ottoman & can fit up to 4 people comfortably. Ideal for families. Your glamping site also comes with standard amenities, a plush lounge area & outdoor kitchen. Camping without the hassle! Our glamping retreats are designed to offer the most comfortable outdoor experience possible.
We really set out to create a new standard for outdoor hospitality with our bell tent. It also comes with a safe & portable propane heater that keeps the tent nice and warm even during the coldest nights. The tents are completely snow and rain proof and also have ventilation windows for summer months with bug guard. The canonical shape deflects winds and leaves no place for rain or snow to gather. Stout Tents are the highest quality tent on the market & we've hosted dozens of groups with nothing but positive reviews about the experience.
An eco-dome is a geodesic structure engineered for strength and durability. Domes are nature’s perfect structure and provide a unique environment for every use. They are lightweight, versatile, weather resistant and have been used for everything - from temporary shelters in humanitarian relief efforts, as well as glamping resorts across the world. Our dome frames are made from galvanized steel. The steel, in conjunction with the geodesic design, creates an amazingly strong structure using a minimal amount of material. The geodesic domes we use are world-renowned for their strength and integrity. Eco-domes coming in 2019.
Tree Tent: $95 per night for 2 people / $30 per night per additional person (max. 8 people)
Stout Bell Tent: $130 per night for 2 people / $35 per night per additional person (max. 8 people)
You'll receive a briefing sheet from one of our team members upon booking confirmation. Please read it. It will cover important topics such as site rules & regulations, as well as safety and proper equipment usage.
It is your responsibility to know & abide by all the laws and regulations of the Cleveland National Forests at all times during your trip.
- Parking for 2 vehicle.
- Shower/bathroom available with either flush or composting toilet.
- Your tree tent includes sleeping bag & pillow. A floor lounge area is provided underneath the tree tent. Our tree tents can accommodate 2 or 3 people per unit. Our double bubble is set up on top of each other and can accommodate a family of between 5-6 (limited availability).
- Drinking water provided
- Hanging compartments & bins to keep things organized
- Lounge & seats around the campfire (wood fires in designated fire pits only when permitted. $6 per bundle)
- First-Aid Kit
- Camp kitchen with cooking & serving utensils
- Butane cooker, pots/pans, kettle, mugs, essential spices & oils, coffee, hot chocolate & sugar. All you really need to bring is your cooler & food.
Depending on which site you're staying at, there are a multitude of activities to choose from in and around the Rancho Cuyamaca State Park & Cleveland National Forest including:
Rancho Cuyamaca State Park
- Fishing from shore or small boat
- Horseback Riding
- Interpretive/Historic Tours
- Lakeside dining at Cuyamaca Lake Restaurant
Cleveland National Forest
- Horseback Riding
- Interpretive/Historic Tours
- Pine House Lodge & Tavern
You'll probably want to bring some heavy blanket in the winter months from November to February to use on top of your sleeping bag. Temperatures can drop down to the 30's and the weather is on average 10-15 degrees colder due to the altitude. Beanie, gloves, and scarf are a must. Bring your thermals and heavy socks too. You'll be going through a lot more firewood in the winter - up to 6 bundles per night. We only provide you 3 bundles per night and you can buy bundled wood at the site for $8.00 per bundle. They only accept cash so have enough on you.
Check the weather forecast before coming. If it's snowing you'll need tire chains and snow clothes. Snow is common here in the winter months so be prepared.
You should also bring towels and your toothbrush/toothpaste & soap for your personal hygiene. Everything else will be provided. You'll want to bring a water bottle for hiking and day trips. You'll be able to fill it up with the provided water dispenser.
Make sure to have a full tank of gas. The only gas station in the area is in Julian about 20 minutes away from either campground.
We can set a tentsile as low as possible to the ground for handicapped individuals. The parks do provide handicapped bathrooms.