If you love the great outdoors but don’t enjoy the realities of camping, consider glamping instead.
Sure all-inclusive resorts, family-friendly destinations, an Alaskan cruise and even staying at one of the best hotels in New York City would make a fabulous vacation, but how many times do you get to say you slept on a 12-inch mattress with 1000-thread count sheets in a luxurious tent while listening to the sway of the trees and the chance to see wildlife right from bed?
“[Glamping] provides an elevated and more luxurious way to experience nature while minimizing the inconveniences and some of the unknown that is associated with camping,” said Victoria Zindell, owner of Luxury Ventures Travel agency (part of Global Travel Collection) in Newport Beach, California, with nearly 15 years of luxury travel experience. “Instead of sleeping on the ground in a basic tent, you can stay in stylish accommodations such as fully furnished tents, cozy cabins, or even treehouses. These accommodations are designed to provide a comfortable and upscale environment, often featuring high quality bedding and linens, private bathrooms, with hot showers, electricity, even Wi-Fi access should you choose to use it.”
Unlike traditional camping, some glamping sites offer housekeeping, a camp chef, a private guide, nanny services and even a personal butler, should you want to book a treatment at the spa or start a campfire with s’mores in tow. Sounds good to us!
Whether you’re looking for a treehouse vibe in the Blue Ridge Mountains or a celebrity-esque experience at the Amangiri Resort in Canyon Point, Utah — there are tons of incredible glamping options in the United States that are yours for the taking.
Ahead find our top selections for glamping in 2023 and beyond, based on Zindell’s recommendations. Plus, check out our FAQ section at the bottom of the article to get more information on booking your trip.
While you start to plan your glamping vacation, make sure your hiking clothes are in good shape and consider renting a RV to see as much as possible.
1. Big Sur, California
“Big Sur, located along the central coast, is a rugged stretch of coastline featuring breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and towering redwood forests,” Zindell told The Post. “The drive here along Highway 1 is offers some of the most breathtaking views you will ever see, with iconic landmarks like Bixby Creek Bridge, and access to incredible hiking trails in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.”
Glamping options range from cliffside tents to cozy cabins, allowing you to enjoy the serenity of nature with a touch of luxury.
Where to stay: Zindell’s Big Sur recommendation is the Ventana Big Sur, An Alila Resort. “[It] offers the newest ‘glampsite’ that we love in [the area], featuring safari-style tent cabins that are luxe and offer views of the 20-acre, redwood canyon,” Zindell said.
“SurStream is the outdoor restaurant and bar [on property] where you can order a delicious BBQ dinner, drinks or breakfast in the morning. It provides a great atmosphere where other campers and hotel guests gather for meals and allows the opportunity to connect with others,” Zindell added.
According to Zindell, a huge perk of glamping at Ventana is access to all the resort amenities: complimentary shuttle service to local Big Sur restaurants, daily happy hour, two pools, an infinity hot tub, a Japanese bath, the spa, guided hikes, a social house, and options to sign up for meditation, yoga, and various workshops.
2. Dolores, Colorado
“Located just across the mountain from Telluride in SW Colorado, close to the Four Corners, Dolores, Colorado, allows you to experience the rugged natural beauty of Colorado’ San Juan Mountains,” Zindell said.
Where to stay: Zindell’s Dolores glamping pick is the Dunton River Camp which is set in a remote and picturesque valley, giving an intimate safari lodge-vibe.
“This camp features just eight luxury canvas tents with prime river or mountain views. Each of its safari-style tents sits on a wooden platform anchored to the bedrock and has all of the amenities one would expect in a luxury hotel, including a six-foot soaker tub and shower, hot water, double vanities and towel warmers,” Zindell said.
According to Zindell, this is the perfect glamping location for those who love outdoor activities. “Highlights include fly-fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing and some of the most scenic hiking anywhere in the American West,” Zindell said. “The set-up lends itself well to couples as they do have a naturally romantic vibe, however Dunton River Camp is a favorite of families with older children.”
Perhaps the perfect honeymoon destination for any newly weds or the next trip to take your kids on?
3. Canyon Point, Utah
Next up: Canyon Point, Utah! A fabulous glamping destination for its proximity to Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell and Zion National Park.
Where to stay: “Bordering Arizona and situated near five national parks, Amangiri Resort has been a favorite secluded getaway for travelers for some time, [and now offers a] luxury camp [for] travelers who are looking for the most glamorous tented experience possible,” Zindell said.
Since it’s opening in 2009, Amangiri Resort has quite the list of A-listers stay at the property including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Miley Cyrus, many of the Kardashian-Jenner family members, Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey and Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and more.
“Camp Sarika by Amangiri is a self-contained retreat and is one of the most geologically dramatic places we have seen. Located on an unearthly 600-acre landscape of towering mesas, slot canyons and rust-colored sands, the tented retreat of Camp Sarika promises an intimate, back-to-the-wild experience in the desert heart of Utah,” Zindell said.
A stay at Camp Sarika can be a peaceful desert retreat, an adrenaline-fueled adventure with experiences like Via Ferrata (rock climbing) and ATVing or anything in between.
“This camp is a splurge but truly is a once in a lifetime retreat,” Zindell said.
4. Moab, Utah
Another spectacular Utah-based glamping destination is Moab. It’s a must to visit iconic spots like Delicate Arch and take in the amazing sunset views at Dead Horse Point State Park.
Where to stay: For its red rock landscapes and proximity to national parks, Under Canvas Moab is the best spot to stay, according to Zindell.
“Under Canvas offers an excellent glamping experience while being suitably situated to nearby national parks like Arches and Canyonlands,” Zindell said.
While Under Canvas is an elevated camping experience with a comfortable bed, towels, bathrooms, lanterns and battery packs to charge your cell phones, like regular camping, there is no electricity or WiFi offered in the tents.
“Under Canvas had a number of camps throughout the US, and each offers housekeeping and a concierge who can help you plan your adventures—kayaking, whitewater rafting, canyoneering, lobstering, touring on UTVs and hiking with a local expert guide,” Zindell said.
5. Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia
Last but certainly not least, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is Zindell’s fifth recommendation for United States-based glamping destinations.
Where to stay: Near the Virginia-North Carolina border at an elevation of 3,000 feet, Primland Resort Auberge Resorts Collection tree house accommodations make an excellent base for exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Located on 12,000 acres in the mountains, the property features a wide variety of suites but the main option to highlight, of course, is the three treehouses perched above the Dan River Gorge. Situated just a short drive from the main lodge, each treehouse offers unrivaled privacy for two guests in the literal embrace of one or more giant trees.
“These intimate treehouses offer sweeping views of the majestic Kibler Valley from their king-size beds, sumptuous bathrooms and magnificent wooden decks,” Zindell said. “Guests can swim, fly-fish, kayak, paddle board, or try out archery or tomahawk throwing; there are yoga and meditation classes, an 18-hole golf course, and plenty of opportunities to hike, bike, ATV, and ride horses across the property’s forested grounds.”
Zindell gives the 411 on all things glamping: what to expect, how much it costs, tips and more.
What is glamping?
“Glamping provides a luxurious and unique experience for those who enjoy the outdoors but also value modern amenities and convenience. What makes glamping appealing is the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature without sacrificing comfort,” Zindell explained. “Accommodations can range from upscale tents and yurts to cabins, treehouses, and eco-lodges. These accommodations often feature high-quality bedding, private en suite bathrooms, electricity, and sometimes includes a butler to provide you with an extra high level of attentiveness as a luxury traveler has become accustom to when staying at a luxury hotel or resort.”
“This experience allows people to reconnect with nature and enjoy the serenity of camping in a picturesque location, without having to ‘rough it,’” Zindell said.
Tips for planning your next (or first!) glamping trip, according to an expert:
- Consider your preferences: Think about what you value most in a glamping experience. Are you looking for a remote wilderness retreat or a site closer to urban areas? Do you prefer a specific type of accommodation, such as a yurt or a treehouse? Consider your preferences for activities, scenery, and desired level of luxury to find a glamping location that aligns with your expectations.
- Research and compare: Take the time to research different glamping locations and hotels. Look into the amenities they offer, the types of accommodations available, the surrounding environment, and any additional services or activities provided. Compare pricing, reviews, and ratings to ensure you’re selecting a reputable and suitable option.
- Read Reviews: Make sure you read reviews and testimonials from previous guests to gain insights into their experiences. Pay attention to feedback regarding cleanliness, guest service, amenities, and the overall atmosphere. This can provide valuable information to help you make an informed decision.
- Plan Ahead: Glamping locations can book up quickly, especially during peak seasons. To secure your preferred dates and accommodations, it’s advisable to make reservations well in advance. Planning ahead also allows you to take advantage of any early booking discounts or special offers.
- Location is key: Consider the location of the glamping site in relation to your desired activities or attractions. Ensure that it offers convenient access to the outdoor adventures or sights you wish to explore. Also, take note of the climate and weather conditions in that area during your planned travel dates.
- Read the terms and conditions: Before making a reservation, thoroughly read the policies and terms of the glamping site. Pay attention to cancellation policies, payment terms, and any specific rules or restrictions they may have. It’s important to be aware of their policies to avoid any surprises or inconveniences later. Consider travel insurance to protect your trip investment.
- Pack your essentials: Although glamping provides greater comfort and luxuries than traditional camping, it’s still important to ensure you are well prepared for embarking on your glamping trip, as you are going to be spending ample time outdoors so will want to ensure you have thought through your day to day plans in order to pack any necessities with you. Check with the glamping site beforehand to determine what amenities and supplies they provide, and bring any necessary personal items or gear that might not be included.
Is glamping always expensive?
“While glamping is often associated with luxury and higher-end accommodations, there are indeed budget-friendly alternatives available as well. The cost of glamping can vary widely depending on factors such as location, amenities, seasonality, and quality of offerings provided to guests at their glamping site,” Zindell said. “Some glamping sites offer more affordable options that still provide a unique outdoor experience. These could include basic tents or rustic cabins with fewer amenities but still offer a comfortable and stylish setting. While they may not have all the lavish features, they can still provide a memorable glamping experience at a more affordable price.”
Expert tip: if you want to stay at one of the more luxury camps and are flexible with timing, consider planning your glamping trip during off-peak seasons or weekdays when prices tend to be lower. Many glamping destinations have seasonal pricing, and by avoiding peak times, you may be able to find more affordable rates.
“Remember that while glamping tends to be more expensive than traditional camping, there are various options available to suit different budgets,” Zindell said. “It’s worth exploring different glamping sites, comparing pricing, and considering the amenities and experiences that are most important when making a decision on where to stay. By doing so, you can find a glamping option that fits your budget and still allows you to enjoy the allure of a unique outdoor adventure.”
Advice for a first-time glamper:
Embrace the Outdoors: Glamping is all about immersing yourself in nature, so take advantage of the outdoor surroundings. Engage in activities such as hiking, yoga, wildlife spotting, fishing, canoeing… the opportunities available to you at camp will vary based upon the setting but nature is ultimately the biggest and best outdoor playground of all so there are many ways for you to engage in an outdoor adventure of some type.
Respect the Environment: Glamping often takes place in pristine natural settings, so it’s essential to be mindful of the environment. Ensure you are properly disposing of waste, respecting wildlife, and leaving the surroundings as you found them.
Relax and Unwind: Glamping provides a perfect opportunity to relax and unwind. Take the time to disconnect from everyday stressors and enjoy the serenity of nature. Whether it’s reading a book in a hammock, enjoying a campfire under the stars, or indulging in spa treatments, prioritize relaxation and rejuvenation during your glamping retreat.
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