I am the second of eleven children. That’s right; I have three brothers and seven sisters. Growing up in a big family was the BEST! Sure, it makes for always having to share a bedroom (OK, let’s be honest: always having to share almost EVERYTHING!), but the payoff of always having a friend to do stuff with, and sharing so many kid adventures together is huge.
Having a big family also meant not a lot of extra money, so our family vacations equaled camping. We camped multiple times every summer. Some trips were small weekend getaways, but the most fun ones involved cross-country camping adventures, where we would sometimes stay at different campgrounds for several nights running before arriving at our destination.
I loved camping. Exploring and playing in the outdoors (it was always best when there was a stream nearby to play in), eating meals cooked over a fire or the trailer stove, sharing stories or singing around the campfire at night…it was pretty magical.
After getting married, my husband and I bought a tent, and then upgraded to a trailer a few years later, so we could enjoy camping with our own kids. Although part of me still loves camping, there’s also the adult part of me that struggles with it a little more. As an adult, I have to buy the food, pack the trailer, make sure everyone gets their clothes packed, and my husband & I have to make the plans for our trip. When we get there, we have to get everything set up, cook the meals, clean up, and help plan activities. If you’ve camped before, you know. It’s a lot of work. (Plus, the bed in my trailer isn’t as comfortable as my bed at home.) I have to admit, sometimes when I think about going camping now, I wonder if it’s really worth all of that effort.
A few years ago I was introduced to something that is the BEST SOLUTION EVER. The joy of adventuring in the outdoors PLUS not having to do all of the work. AND comfort. It’s called glamping (glamorous camping).
· We’re all going stir crazy and need to get out of our houses and towns
· Many countries are still closed—and we’re all not sure we’re ready to visit them anyway
· An RV is a big investment, and a lot of work
· Buying a bunch of camping gear sounds expensive and possibly pointless, if we don’t use it a lot
· Glamping is like a luxury hotel in the great outdoors
· It combines private lodging without sharing a lobby, elevator, or hallway
· When glamping, you have resort-like amenities, your own private space, lots of activities, and food that is either ordered or cooked by you (but provided by them)
What does it look and feel like?
Although it’s unique for each destination, most glamping involves some type of luxuriously appointed tent (a huge canvas house parked on a permanent platform) with the type of bathroom you’d find in a 4 or 5-star hotel, running water, fine linens, porches, firepits and other rustic amenities.
Some glamping spots are glamping-only, while others are part of a resort hotel compound. Some are yurts, some are cabins, some are “tiny houses,” and some are treehouses. But the common denominator is luxury plus making camping accessible to even the most inexperienced outdoors person. Most glamping locations allow pets.
Where can you go glamping?
Here are a few ideas, with descriptions:
Amazing location near the Dunton River, with acclaimed fly fishing and a restored ghost town nearby. Eight luxury tents include towel warmers, 6-ft soaking tubs, full bathrooms, two private mountain bikes, 640 square feet. On 500 acres of forests and meadows to explore. A luxury all-inclusive stay which includes locally sourced organic foods; all meals and beverages are included.
Missouri: Camp Long Creek
This is glamping on steroids. The accommodations are located within a larger resort in the Ozark Mountains. They have 56 lodging options: tents, cabin huts, camp cabins, and 2-bedroom cottages. Most of them have spacious screened porches and all the amenities you’d expect at a hotel. There is a large infinity pool, a beach, playground, 5 golf courses, a shooting and archery facility, a nature reserve, a cave to explore, a full-service spa, boat rentals, world-class fishing, and waterskiing.
Maine: Mt. Desert Island
Near Acadia National Park, this location has 64 luxury canvas tents which feature Wi-Fi, heated blankets, fans, and a cooler backpack. Most include bathrooms, some have outdoor showers. They provide food and equipment for your own chef-designed outdoor meal grilling experience. The resort includes a pool and hot tub, as well as a concierge to outfit you for fishing, biking, or kayaking excursions.
Utah: Greater Zion
This area has three glamping resorts. One features multi-room canvas tents on wooden platforms and has bathrooms with soaking tubs, outdoor showers, bamboo linens, large decks, fireplaces, and even spa treatments. The second has canvas tents, bungalows, and covered wagons, and options like outdoor yoga. The third offers multi-size tents, wood stoves, organic bath products, and adventure activities like private jeep tours, stand-up paddleboarding, or canyoneering.
One of the original “tiny house” locations and gateway to Yellowstone and Grand Teton Nation Parks, this lodging is open year-round. Four home styles accommodate different sized groups and include Wi-Fi, kitchenettes, HVAC, living rooms, dining areas, flat screen TVs, decks with propane BBQ grills & picnic tables, gardens & fire pits. No onsite dining here, but an Italian restaurant is within easy walking distance.
And more destinations:
Arizona: Grand Canyon
California (announced but not open yet): Acadia National Park, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Catalina Island
New York: Hudson Valley
New York: Governors Island in New York City
South Dakota: Mt. Rushmore
Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains
Texas: Texas Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio
Utah: Garden City
What do you think? Isn’t glamping the perfect combination? It brings out the nature- and adventure-loving kid in me, while catering to the luxury-loving adult I’ve become.
If you’d like to talk about a glamping or other great vacation, contact me! I’d also love to connect with you on Facebook or Instagram!