Yurt camping combines the convenience of an RV or cabin with the close-to-nature feel of camping in a tent. A yurt is a semi-permanent circular tent with a domed roof. It’s traditionally made from animal skins or felt stretched over a latticework frame but contemporary yurts in North America and Europe are often made from canvas or a synthetic material.
Yurts originated in Central Asia where nomadic people first used them for homes—and still do today. They’re large and sturdy structures but they can also be packed up and transported to wherever the yurt owner wants to go. With a central vent, they can also be easily heated by a stove.
In the 1960s, a man from Maine named William Coperthwaite studied Mongolian yurts and brought the concept to the United States. A few years later, Pacific Yurts became the first American company to manufacture the structures for widespread use and the concept took off among campers.
Today, yurts continue to grow in popularity among campers and vacationers. And just like a camper cabin, you don’t need to build your own; you can rent yurts at parks, campgrounds, and from private owners throughout the country.
Styles range from minimalist yurts with little more than a bed or two to glamping yurts that can be more luxurious than a hotel room. Interested in giving yurt camping a try? Here’s what to bring and where to go.
What to Bring Yurt Camping
The supplies and equipment you’ll need for yurt camping depend on your particular rental. Think of a yurt as a camper cabin. Some camper cabins are sparsely furnished with limited amenities and some come equipped with extras like bed linens, a kitchen, and running water. The same goes for yurts. But in general, here are some items you might need if you stay in a yurt.
- Sleeping bags or bed linens
- Lanterns and headlamps
- Camp stove
- Cookware and kitchen utensils
Where to Go Yurt Camping
Given their widespread popularity, you can find yurt rentals throughout the U.S. but they’re especially popular in western states. Find the yurt that’s right for you using Airbnb, Vrbo, or check out state parks and resorts. Here are some vacation-worthy yurt rentals in the western U.S.
Yurt Camping: California
For a simply furnished yurt with an ocean view, check out Treebones Resort. Treebones is a glamping resort along California’s central coast near Big Sur. They offer tents, campsites, and yurts to rent. The latter come with comfy beds (sheets, comforters, and quilts provided), reading lights, a sink and vanity with running water, and decks with Adirondack chairs.
Book a wine country getaway and stay at one of the yurts at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. This beautiful park is located in the heart of Napa Valley and is also a great place to see some of California’s legendary coastal redwoods. There are 10 yurts at the park in two sizes and both types are furnished with beds/cots and a table and chairs. (The larger size yurts can accommodate up to 10 people.) Fire pits and picnic tables are provided for outdoor cooking.
Other unique yurts in California:
- Skyfarm: A luxurious glamping yurt just 10 minutes from Los Angeles. (Los Angeles, California)
- Yosemite Shuteye: A private getaway in the Sierra foothills surrounded by trees and near a creek. (Oakhurst, California)
- Red Oak Yurt: A glamping-style yurt located in a pine forest on an organic farm. (Colfax, California)
Yurt Camping: Oregon
At Oregon’s Harris Beach State Park, there are 6 yurts to rent in addition to standard campsites. The yurts here are rustic and no cooking is allowed inside so be prepared to cook outdoors and bring your own bedding. But there’s plenty of outdoor adventure here; there are hiking trails and the campground is only 1/4 mile from the beach where you can enjoy the surf and see some of Oregon’s famed sea stacks.
Enjoy the mountain views of central Oregon at this unique yurt. Located on a privately owned 10-acre ranch, this yurt has all the comforts of home: queen-sized bed with sheets and quilts, refrigerator, dishes/utensils, hot plate, microwave, and a pellet stove for chilly days and nights. Guests are welcome to explore the property or enjoy the peace and quiet of the pond that’s right outside the yurt’s door.
Other unique yurts in Oregon:
- Otter Rock Surf Yurt: A well-appointed yurt (with a full kitchen and a bathroom) that overlooks Devil’s Punchbowl beach. (Otter Rock, Oregon)
- Oregon Vineyard Yurt: A glamping-style yurt with a full bathroom and kitchenette located at Bradley Vineyards. (Elkton, Oregon)
- Grande Hot Springs Yurts: The two “rustic glamping” yurts at this campground each include outdoor soaking tubs with water from the hot springs. (La Grande, Oregon)
Yurt Camping: Washington
Experience the beauty of Washington’s San Juan Islands by booking a stay at Doe Bay Resort & Retreat. In addition to other accommodations, Doe Bay has 8 yurts. All the yurts are located near shared bathroom/shower facilities, and you can take your pick between an “on the grid” yurt (which has electricity and a heat source) or a more rustic “off the grid” yurt. Either way, your booking includes access to the resort guest kitchen, hot tubs, sauna, and the incredible water views.
Kayak Point is a scenic county park with evergreen forests and 3,300 feet of shoreline on Puget Sound. The park has a campground that’s open year-round and adjacent to the campground is the park’s “yurt village.” Each of the 10 yurts can accommodate up to 5 people. Amenities include: electricity, heat, indoor lights, windows with screens, futons, and bunk beds.
Other unique yurts in Washington:
- Huckleberry Yurt: Located just a mile from Mount Rainier, this cozy yurt comes with its own private outdoor hot tub. (Ashford, Washington)
- Bainbridge Island Yurt: A beautifully furnished yurt within walking distance of two beaches. (Bainbridge Island, Washington)
- Devils Mountain Yurt: A charming and rustic getaway surrounded by nature and equipped with heat for year-round stays. (Mount Vernon, Washington)