ISSUE 5  |  Living Small

Steep Ravine Cabins: Million Dollar Views for $100 a Night

February 05, 2015 5:00 PM

BY Julie Chai

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When friends invited my husband and me to join them for a weekend at Steep Ravine cabins, we had no idea what to expect. What we knew: the ten cabins are an hour north of San Francisco, it’s really hard to get reservations, and we should bring all of our regular camping gear minus the tent. What we didn’t know: we were about to be completely blown away.

Planning a trip? Pick a Destination from our Gardenista Travel Guide.

Above: Photograph by Julie Chai.

Having lived up and down the Pacific coast and driven the length of it a number of times, I thought I’d experienced the most beautiful parts of the coastline. But this was before we arrived at Steep Ravine in Mount Tamalpais State Park—and the views there quickly ranked among the most gorgeous I’d ever seen. We had warm weather and clear skies on the day we arrived, and could see across Bolinas Bay to Stinson Beach, Bolinas, and beyond. Just below us, waves crashed against the beach which was a short walk away.

The magic of this place comes not only from the landscape, but also from the fact that it feels like it’s blissfully remote. Though just outside a big city, the campsite is surrounded by plenty of open space. And the entrance is gated; only guests with reservations have the code to get in, and it’s never crowded with people who just want to take a peek.

An added bonus: a cabin is only $100 a night—a steal for oceanfront views with beach access.

Looking for another cost-effect campground cabin? See another of our West Coast favorites at Little Cargo Container in the Big Woods.

Above: Photograph via JetKat Photo.

You’ll see spectacular views of, and from, each of the cabins perched on a rugged slope. On the beach below, you’ll find sea life like baby barnacles, right. 

Above: Photograph by Ricky Brown via Flickr.

Cabin interiors are beautifully spare and well cared for. Each one includes a built-in table and benches, sleeping platforms (the equivalent of two doubles, one twin, and one child), a counter area, a wood-burning stove, and a small closet. Firewood is sold on site; you’ll need to bring your own sleeping bag, air mattress, camping stove, cooking gear, lantern, and other supplies. The windows have no coverings, but have clips to hang a curtain or sheet if you want privacy. While there’s no running water or electricity inside, there are spigots nearby each cabin. And clean, developed bathrooms (no shower) are a short walk away. 

Above: Photograph by Julie Chai.

Grasses with fuzzy seedheads and blooming flowers dot the landscape in summer.

Above: Photograph via JetKat Photo.

No need to bring toys from home for the kids. 

Above: Photograph via JetKat Photo.

Each of the cabins has a small entry patio with a grill out front (bring your own charcoal.) You can make reservations up to seven months in advance of the date you want to book, and cabins fill up fast, so it’s a good idea to plan as far ahead as possible. 

Above: Map via Google.

If you feel like hiking (and of course you will), From the campground entrance on Highway 1, it’s less than two miles to Stinson Beach via the Steep Ravine and Dipsea trails. If you’re looking for a longer local hike, try this one.

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