A great guide to glamping in the USA
Whoever said you have to rough it to get your fill of the great outdoors? Glamping has taken the world of adventure travel by storm, converting far-flung campsites and RV parks into luxury getaways for even the most discerning of folk. You won't catch crooked tents and clunker trailers here, but sumptuous safari lodges, spacious yurts, cosy cabanas, and rustic cabins with plenty of charm.
Top glamping articles
Pod rentals refer to a certain class of glamping that takes place in purpose-built cabins or wood-framed shacks. But the unique design of camping pods is just half the story. The unobtrusive nature of the structures means they can mingle almost seamlessly with wherever they're put. Get ready to snuggle down in the middle of the Californian redwoods or up with the spear-like pines of Lake Tahoe.
Luxury camping fuses two of the greatest parts of travel – adventure and comfort. Doing away with rickety camp chairs and can't-get-any-sleep air beds, these stays bring four-poster spreads and installed kitchens to the wildest corners of the country, so you can tread hiking trails and take dips in secluded lakes just a hop, a skip, and a jump from your rental.
Camping trips might require just a tad extra planning than other sorts of vacations. That's because you'll need to check the weather conditions in your prospective destination – seasonal changes can make all the difference to a West Coast hiking expedition or jaunt on the Appalachian Trail. You'll also need to think about packing different things, from sleeping bags to stoves and the like.
California vacations conjure images of wild coastal vistas, long surf sessions, and plenty of sun. That's what makes glamping California such a great choice – it really plays to the strengths of the Golden State. Just check out the enticing rows of surf cabanas down in San Diego, or head up to Lake Shasta for visions of snow-capped peaks and cascading pine forests, all just a step outside your glamping pod door.
Glamping trips could be in a caboose with swinging flower baskets, a moss-clad cabin nestled between giant redwoods, a surf shack overlooking Cali's rolling waves, a Tibetan-style yurt with crackling fireplace, or a tepee tent. And that's just a taster. So, what is glamping, exactly? Well, it's camping as you know it, only with added style, comfort, and class.
Forget the swish villas of Miami Beach and the plush condos of Sarasota. Glamping in Florida is your chance to go back to basics. You can pick off-the-beaten-path tentalows along the drifting Ocklawaha River for days of fishing and boating. Or, there are enticing lean-tos along the shores, for breathtaking sunrise shows by Atlantic sands near Daytona and Fort Lauderdale.
There are all sorts of places where you can indulge in a little glamping in Michigan. The Upper Peninsula has sites on sheer-cut clifftops above Lake Superior. There's Leelanau, where you can settle in yurts between cherry farms and high sand dunes by Lake Michigan's shores. Alternatively, Mount Bohemia and its ski runs turn into a swath of green woods come summer, magnetizing hikers and bikers to forest-covered tentalows.
If you're really serious about getting away from it all, choosing to go glamping in Montana promises plenty in the way of seclusion and untamed wildernesses. In a vast state that's brimming with glacial mountains, snowy ski runs, and the carved tops of the Rockies, it's hardly a surprise that it's easy to find a corner to call your very own.
The enchantments of New England aren't just for hotel goers, you know. Glamping in New England means discovering fixed tents in the color-changing forests of Acadia National Park. Or, go coastal and choose a romantic abode between the oyster shacks and chowder kitchens of pretty Cape Cod.
Going glamping in Northern California means venturing to some of the most gasp-inducing parts of the West Coast. Hidden cabins beneath the lurching trunks of Redwood National Park are just a taster of things to come. Then you get the pods that pepper the banks of glimmering mountain lakes like Shasta and Tahoe. And then, of course, there are the mountain getaways, which will have you sleeping on the cusp of the Pacific Crest Trail and snow-capped Coast Ranges.
The redwoods and the Sierra Nevada peaks certainly have their draws, but glamping in Southern California's an experience of a totally different kind. If you're one for Dawn Patrol surf sessions and glowing beaches laced with palm trees, this is surely the region for you to go looking for your next cabin or camping pod.
Glamping tents are capable of injecting a dash of comfort into any getaway to the wilderness. There's no hard and fast rule about what that means, but it's typically about swapping sleeping sacks for four-poster beds, having kitchenettes and gas-fired BBQs at hand, and even throwing in the odd hot tub or two for good measure.
A luxury tent is your chance to live like the explorers of old. These aren't your usual camping get up. No crooked poles and missing guide ropes here, thank you very much. Instead, these sprawling cabanas look like they've been plucked from an expedition on the African savannahs. They have oodles of space, sometimes boast fitted kitchens, and even pack in four-poster beds for a comfy night's sleep.
These curious styles of accommodation have been transported straight across from the Mongolian Steppe. There, they've been a trusty sanctuary away from the wild winds and mountain snows for centuries. And now they're catering to comfort-seeking campers all over. The bonuses of choosing a yurt are many – think extra room to relax, space for real beds inside, and the occasional stove to keep things toasty.
Glamping in Yellowstone National Park and glamping in Yosemite National Park have to be up there with the top bucket-list experiences in the USA. Opting for the first gets you close to Wyoming's prismatic pools and gushing geysers. Opting for the second means waking up under the silhouette of mighty El Capitan and the Half Dome.