En español | After more than a year of lockdown, travelers are flocking to open-air destinations as a welcome refuge from the pandemic. Indeed, this year is shaping up to be a banner one for camping vacations, with 51 percent of boomers planning to increase their camping trips, according to the 2021 North American Camping Report, sponsored by Kampgrounds of America (KOA).
But some of us may not see the appeal of old-style roughing it.
Enter glamping, which lets you immerse yourself in the great outdoors without sacrificing the comforts of home. A perfect marriage of rustic nature and modern luxury, this form of “glamorous camping” combines the joys of the wild with the amenities of civilization, like comfy beds, running water and electricity. Not to mention hot tubs, personal butlers, chandeliers and heated floors in some. It's no surprise, then, that 49 percent of all campers are interested in glamping this year, according to the KOA report.
Here are nine fun glamping spots across the U.S. Prices are summer estimates, unless otherwise noted. To find additional options, try sites such as Hipcamp, Glamping Hub and Glamping.
1. Under Canvas Grand Canyon (Valle, Arizona)
Under Canvas offers upscale options near popular national parks and monuments, including Acadia, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Great Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone.
Take the property near the Grand Canyon, for example. Set on 160 secluded acres of piñon and juniper forest at the foot of Bill Williams Mountain, the camp is just 25 minutes from the iconic park. Cushy, safari-style canvas tents boast king-size beds, West Elm furnishings, wood-burning stoves and en suite bathrooms. This place takes the environment seriously: Bathrooms have pull-chain showers, faucets that automatically shut off and low-flow toilets. Plus, low-level lighting mitigates light pollution to amplify the starry, starry sky, which you can enjoy through the Stargazer Tent's viewing window above the bed. Bookend your exploration of the park with a locally sourced breakfast and dinner, served in the communal dining area.
How to get there: Fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, three hours away, or Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, one hour away.
Cost: Tents start at $209 per night.
2. Asheville Glamping (Asheville, North Carolina)
Tucked snugly into the verdant forest, the deluxe air-conditioned tents of Asheville Glamping sit on raised wooden platforms and feature queen-size beds, private fire pits and propane grills, and (in some) hot tubs. Half the tents have private bathrooms; the others share a nearby bathhouse. There are also eight light-filled air-conditioned domes (snuggle under heated blankets in winter) with their own bathrooms as well as vintage trailers, yurts and even a tree house. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest and lovely Asheville itself are all a short drive away.
How to get there: Fly into Asheville Regional Airport, about 20 minutes away.
Cost: Tents start at $145 per night, domes start at $155 and the tree house at $290, with a two-night minimum.
3. Black Tree Resort (Lake George, Colorado)
High end marries high country on 80 acres bordering Pike National Forest. With privacy in mind, the 11 tents at Black Tree are spaced out and outfitted with luxury linens on queen-size beds, handcrafted furniture, solar-powered lighting and private bathrooms (one tent and bathroom are ADA-compliant). Love seats and wood-burning stoves ramp up the cozy factor. You can zip around the property on an electric golf cart or just chill on your private covered deck or on Adirondack chairs around your own firepit. After a day of hiking, boating, fly-fishing, horseback riding, ziplining or white-water rafting nearby, cozy up to a chef-prepared meal delivered right to your tent. And, yes, it's pretty pricey.
How to get there: Fly into Denver International Airport, two and a half hours away, or Colorado Springs Airport, an hour away.
Cost: Tents start at $595 per night, including all meals and beverages.
4. Sandy Pines Campground (Kennebunkport, Maine)
Just a mile from Goose Rocks Beach and a short drive to the waterfront attractions of charming Kennebunkport, Sandy Pines Campground boasts the best of both worlds. This stylish resort in the woods offers nine individually decorated “couples glamp tents,” with such evocative names as Blixen's Oasis, Castaway and Wanderlust. At 430 square feet, each one features a king-size bed with fancy linens, wood deck with cushioned seating, AC and heater, mini fridge, firepit and access to a shared bathhouse. When you're ready to venture out of your cozy cocoon, enjoy a heated saltwater pool; bike, kayak and paddleboard rentals; and a variety of lawn games. You can even play bingo on Sunday nights.
How to get there: Fly into Portland International Jetport, 40 minutes away.
Cost: Tents start at $269 per night.
5. Alpenglow Luxury Camping (Glacier View, Alaska)
Here's one for the bucket list: camping on a remote Alaskan glacier after swooping in by helicopter. Alaska's biggest and most accessible glacier, Matanuska, serves as home base for this overnight on the ice. And what a base Alpenglow is. Settle into one of your tent's two deck chairs, a glacier cocktail in hand, to swoon over stunning views of the glacier. There's no electricity and you'll have to share a composting toilet, but just think of the bragging rights!
For a longer stay, choose from a two-person, 10-foot-by-12-foot Forest Tent or a three-person, 12-foot-by-14-foot Mountain Tent back at the main camp. Featuring Alaskan decor, each is perched on a covered cedar deck with Adirondack or rocking chairs for taking in the spectacular vistas. Again, this is nature in the raw, with shared bath facilities and no heat or electricity (charge your electronics in the common area); warm up under your down comforter, in a communal cedar hot tub or around the firepit.
How to get there: Fly into Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Alpenglow.
Cost: Forest Tents start at $159 per night and Mountain Tents at $139, including breakfast. The Glacier Overnight Adventure starts at $1,100 for two in a basic mountaineering tent (the Deluxe Tent costs $200 extra), including the helicopter flight, breakfast and dinner, and a guided one-hour glacier hike. Alpenglow's summer season ends in early September.
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6. Conestoga Ranch (Garden City, Utah)
Perched on the shore of beautiful Bear Lake, Conestoga Ranch calls itself “the Caribbean of the Rockies.” Yes, you can actually sunbathe on white sand beaches or go boating, fishing, kayaking, waterskiing and standup paddleboarding. The ranch is also near two marquee national parks: Grand Teton and Yellowstone. Come for the location but stay for the glamorous part of glamping in Royal, Grand or Traditional tents. King-size beds? Check. Mini fridges and dining tables? Yes. Oriental-style rugs and private campfire patios? You bet. Campfire valets will even start your blaze and deliver all the fixings for s'mores! Don't want to trek to a shared bathhouse? Choose the Royal or Grand Tents with their en suite bathrooms. The Royal even boasts a clawfoot soaking tub and pinch-me hilltop views. Alternatively, you can stay in four- or six-person covered wagons that would be the envy of the early pioneers. Enjoy meals at the on-site restaurant. Just be sure to treat yourself to a heavenly in-unit massage.
How to get there: Fly into Salt Lake City International Airport, 125 miles away, or Jackson Hole Airport, 145 miles away.
Cost: Traditional Tents start at $219 per night, Grand Tents at $439 and the Royal Tent Suite at $539.
7. Collective Hill Country (Wimberley, Texas)
You may be on a 225-acre ranch deep in the heart of Texas, but you can expect more creature comforts than creatures at Collective Hill Country. (Collective Retreats also has properties in Vail, Colorado, and on Governor's Island, in New York City.) The dozen tents here put the glam into glamping with 1,500-thread-count linens on king beds and French press coffee bars. En suite bathrooms notch it up with rainfall showers, luxury robes and plush Turkish towels. Luxuriate with in-tent massages and spa services, along with epic views from your private deck. This eco-resort embraces its Hill Country heritage, including locally inspired decor — such as hand-dyed textiles, rugs and blankets — and chef-prepared regional cuisine.
What to do here? Learn bow and arrow, tomahawk or knife-throwing skills. Go horseback riding, hiking or biking on the verdant trails. Join yoga or Pilates classes. Then tuck into a five-course farm-to-table dinner (blackened venison, anyone?) followed by live music and campfire s'mores with a local twist — butterscotch cookies, pecan-fudge chocolate and agave-grapefruit marshmallows.
How to get there: Fly into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport or San Antonio International Airport, each about an hour away.
Cost: Tents start at $263 per night in September, when the resort reopens for the season.
8. The Resort at Paws Up (Greenough, Montana)
A stay at this 37,000-acre working ranch in western Montana is a seriously pricey splurge, but those who can afford it will get an unforgettable five-star experience under the stars. Cloaked in thick pine forests at the confluence of the Blackfoot River and Elk Creek, the resort's six glamping camps feature one-, two- and three-bedroom safari-style tents that could put the Ritz to shame. Expect elaborate chandeliers, plush linens, in-unit bathrooms with deep soaking tubs and heated floors — and personal chefs and butlers, to boot. Standout activities include fly-fishing, skeet shooting, white-water rafting and rappelling down cliffs made famous by Lewis and Clark. Even the s'mores are next-level decadent, created by certified s'moreologists, no less.
You'll also see hundreds of resident elk and Black Angus cattle during dude ranch activities like trail rides, cattle drives and (gourmet) chuck wagon dinners.
How to get there: Fly into Missoula International Airport, 30 minutes away, with complimentary round-trip transportation between the airport and the resort included with your reservation.
Cost: The resort is fully booked this summer. Fall rates start at $1,530 per tent with a two-night minimum and include all meals.
Contact: 877-580-6343 or 866-929-7571
9. Nomad Ridge at The Wilds (Cumberland, Ohio)
Embrace your inner Hemingway on an animal safari in, yes, rural Ohio. At the adults-only Nomad Ridge at The Wilds, you'll see cheetah, giraffe, oryx, rhino and zebra while bedding down in climate-controlled yurts with bamboo flooring and Asian-inspired decor. Sit on your personal deck and take in sweeping views of the beautiful animal-speckled savanna. Each of the 12 yurts — structures made of canvas stretched over a wooden frame — comes with a king or queen bed, comfy lounge, mini fridge, bathroom (some with two-person showers) and complimentary Wi-Fi. One yurt is ADA-accessible.
Need help picking the right safari from among zipline, horseback, fishing or sunset options? A staff concierge is at the ready 24 hours a day. After a savory dinner, relax around the fire ring and listen to the sounds of the wild under starry skies.
How to get there: Fly into John Glenn Columbus International Airport, about an hour and a half away.
Cost: Tents start at $325 per night, including breakfast and dinner for two and a safari tour. Discounts available for weeknight stays.