The coronavirus pandemic has canceled a lot of things, but your summer vacation doesn’t have to be one of them.
If you love the outdoors, but don’t relish the idea of roughing it, glamping may be for you. So-called “glamorous camping” offers posh amenities in rustic settings. “It’s about making nature more accessible to folks, to get out there more easily,” says Anne Howard, who with her husband Mike wrote the new book “Comfortably Wild: The Best Glamping Destinations in North America” (Falcon, $29.95).
The couple, who travel full time and blog at HoneyTrek.com, spent 2½ years researching the book. They say glamping makes even more sense for travelers now. “It’s a smart, safe and appropriate way to travel in a post-COVID world.” They share some favorite destinations with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY:
Depot Lodge, Paint Bank, Virginia
In a forgotten whistle-stop town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this former rail depot now welcomes overnight guests in safari tents, a caboose and trailer. National forests offer hiking, biking, fishing and rafting. “You can have a private lake or your own riverfront. They’ve got so much Appalachian character,” Anne says.
More details: DepotLodge.com
Virginia’s Depot Lodge lets you spend the night in safari tents, cabooses and trailers. (Photo: Alex Herring/Comfortably Wild)
Cypress Valley, Spicewood, Texas
Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, this modern treehouse resort is connected by zip lines and suspension bridges. “These are tree mansions. They’re so creative,” Mike says. Visitors can also enjoy hiking and swimming and tastings at a nearby winery.
Nomad Ridge at the Wilds, Cumberland, Ohio
The Howards say they’re generally wary of animal-centered entertainment, but this 10,000-acre refuge affiliated with the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo won them over. “Before they ever had guests, they were bringing back endangered populations of animals,” Anne says. Visitors stay in a yurt with dinner and breakfast included and can take a jeep safari through the property.
More information: TheWilds.ColumbusZoo.org
“Before The Wilds ever had guests, they were bringing back endangered populations of animals,” Anne says. (Photo: HoneyTrek.com via Comfortably Wild)
Teton Wagon Train & Horse Adventure, Jackson, Wyoming
This family-run operation lets glampers take their adventure on the road with a covered wagon journey from camp to camp. “You can drive the wagon, or you can do a horseback ride,” Mike says. There’s also a chance for swimming, hiking and sharing Old West stories around a campfire.
More information: TetonWagonTrain.com
Teton Wagon Train & Horse Adventure lets glampers take their adventure on the road with a covered wagon journey from camp to camp. (Photo: HoneyTrek.com via Comfortably Wild)
Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California
Bed down in a yurt, designer treehouse or whimsical artist-made hut in this retreat along the famed Pacific coastline. “You can hike in a redwood forest or go jade hunting along the ocean,” Mike says. There’s also an organic garden and gourmet restaurant, along with yoga, massages and seasonal whale watching. “You can choose your own adventure.”
At Treebones, glampers can sleep in a yurt, designer treehouse, or huts. (Photo: HoneyTrek.com via Comfortably Wild)
American Prairie Reserve, eastern Montana
Soon to be the largest nature reserve in Lower 48 states, this Great Plains conservation area connects a huge patchwork of ranches. “It’s massive,” Mike says. Outfitters can help visitors plan stays in luxury yurts or canoe, bike, or hike between huts. There are also cabins and traditional camping sites. “It’s a little more rustic and self-starting.”
More information: AmericanPrairie.org
Glampers can canoe, bike or hike between huts at American Prairie Reserve. (Photo: Honeytrek.com via Comfortably Wild)
Bull Hill Ranch, Kettle Falls, Washington
Guests can take part in a real-life cattle drive while overnighting in cabins or glamping tents on this ranch in northeast Washington state. “These are real cowboys moving 1,000 head of cattle and you can join in,” says Anne. “It’s a communal experience.” Other activities include skeet shooting and even a visit to a secret saloon.
Live out your “City Slickers” fantasy at Bull Hill Ranch, where you can take part in a real-life cattle drive while overnighting in cabins or glamping tents (Photo: HoneyTrek.com via Comfortably Wild)
Bison Peak, Lake George, Colorado
Take your pick from teepees, Conestoga wagons, tree tents, and even clear bubble tents open to the night sky at this Rocky Mountain resort. Proceeds support stays for military veterans and first responders. The area, west of Colorado Springs and surrounded by national forests, has limited availability now due to construction.
Take your pick from teepees, Conestoga wagons, tree tents, and even clear bubble tents open to the night sky at Bison Peak. (Photo: bisonpeakglamping.com)
Cozy Peach, Queen Creek, Arizona
Just outside Phoenix, this U-pick vegetable and peach farm welcomes overnight guests in restored vintage Airstream trailers. “They’ve totally freshened them up with fun paint colors and chic pillows,” Anne says. Families can enjoy deer feeding, mini-golf and make dinner with campfire cooking and s’more kits.
More information: SchnepfFarms.com
Guests at Cozy Peach sleep in restored vintage Airstream trailers. (Photo: HoneyTrek.com via Comfortably Wild)
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