By Rhonda Briggs
Have you always loved the idea of camping but not the work and preparation it takes to make it happen? Maybe you tried it only to discover it wasn’t for you?
For years, elite Americans and Europeans have enjoyed African safaris where they would spend the day touring parks and reserves admiring beautiful beasts in nature, then return to luxury accommodations often in the form of tents, cabins or lodges with top-notch service and food.
Now in the U.S., Americans have caught on to the idea of glamorous camping or glamping. While visitors still experience being submersed in nature, the accommodations could range from a tent, yurt, dome, airstream camper, tipi, treehouse, hut, cube or pod. Sometimes lodges, cabins and villas are also lumped in to this category depending on the location.
While defined as “the activity of camping with some of the comforts and luxuries of home,” the vague description of glamping leaves a lot to the imagination as far as which comforts from home are necessary and which ones push travelers over the edge.
This month we’ll take a look at a range of possibilities available to travelers who want try camping with a twist.
For a glamping adventure for two that is a combination treehouse/tent experience, visit Sinya on Lone Man Creek just outside of Wimberley. Sitting 300 feet above Lone Man Creek, this safari style tent offers comforts such as a king size bed, claw foot tub, plus heating and air conditioning. Spectacular views of the Texas Hill Country can be enjoyed from the hot tub on the deck or through the picturesque floor to ceiling windows that fill each wall.
Spend a relaxing day at Sinya strolling along the hiking trails or relaxing in the hammock listening to the bird’s chatter in the trees. If you feel the need to venture into town, Wimberley is close enough to enjoy some shopping and dining but once you head back to your treetop tent you can enjoy a night stargazing around the campfire.
Have you ever wanted to spend the night in a tipi? Then head to the West Coast to Beach Canyon Authentic Tipi’s in Topanga, California. Not far from Topanga Beach, and just off the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway, this unique place is a great way for curious guests to experience an overnight stay in a spacious tipi. Enjoy the comforts of a cozy futon bed, hot shower, free WiFi, continental breakfast and hot tub under the stars, all included with your stay. Depending on the level of activity desired, guests can enjoy biking, hiking, kite surfing, horseback riding and so much more.
Considering a Hawaiian vacation but frightened by outrageous hotel prices? At Hawaiian Journeys on the big island, consider staying in a yurt instead of a traditional hotel. At just $60/night, it’s a bargain for what you get. These unique, round tent-like structures offer comforts such as queen size beds, relaxing chairs, television, WiFi and basic kitchenware. The yurts are placed in a quiet location, 3,000 feet high, with views of the Pacific Ocean. The eco-friendly resort is only 45 minutes away from Hawaii’s Volcano National Park plus many tourist attractions such as coffee farms, shopping, and restaurants.
Sitting just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in northeastern Colorado is a glamping adventure that will satisfy your curiosity about tiny living. Located a short distance from Estes Park and Boulder, Pa Dutch at Wee Casa offers 10 tiny homes averaging 186 square feet in living space that sleep up to four travelers. Each home gives you the basics, including a fully functional bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, and living area all compacted into a very small space. WiFi is available but no televisions, so if you can’t resist plugging in, bring your own devices or games. While the inside of these homes are tiny, if you need some extra space, just step outside and explore the park or take the opportunity to fish utilizing the private river access.
Like the idea of staying in an Airstream trailer you didn’t have to haul? Check out Yosemite Pines RV and Family Lodging in California. This place not only has three retro trailers, they also have yurts and cabins for a total of 17 different accommodations. The trailers have full kitchens, beds, convertible beds, TV, air conditioning and barbecue grills. During the day, explore all that Yosemite has to offer and each night enjoy a campfire and some relaxing family time.
Want to experience treehouse living with amenities? Sugar Creek Treehouse in Green Mountain, North Carolina takes glamping to the extreme. This multi-level tree house offers two bedrooms, a wraparound deck, full kitchen and a large fire pit. Take in the relaxing views while you soak in the hot tub and listen to the nearby waterfalls. Situated 35 feet in the air, this unique vacation retreat offers a bird’s eye view of the beauty that surrounds you. Bring the kids along for an adventure they’ll never forget.
Have an unlimited budget to go all out for glam? Try The Resort at Paws Up. This luxury ranch resort is for those who want only the best and are willing to pay for it. Situated on a 37,000-acre, authentic working cattle ranch in western Montana, guests have unlimited options for tents, cabins and even luxury homes. The first class accommodations include fine linens, unique tubs, the finest cuisine and a world-class spa. Want outdoor adventure? There are opportunities to trout fish, ride horseback or explore the land Lewis and Clark discovered so many years ago.
Think you’re ready to leave traditional hotels behind as you forge new territory in comfort camping? Remember while many resorts offer some of the comforts of home it may be lacking in others. Booking a glamping trip takes a little adventure as opportunities can vary greatly. Decide first where you want to go, then pick your shelter of choice. Make sure you call the destination ahead of time to verify what is included and what is not.
This way of vacationing is much like camping in the fact it offers the opportunity to spend time in nature, unplugged and free of schedules. This time, leave the sleeping bags, tents and camp stoves at home. Tents, tipi’s, treehouses, cabins, airstream trailers and more await you …. along with fresh air, sunshine and campfires.