Three Ways to Go Luxury Camping (AKA Glamping)
Some people love camping as a way to unplug from it all and enjoy the outdoors. To others, it's a bug-filled nightmare cursed with poor cell-phone reception. So where's the middle ground between sleeping in a hotel and sleeping, well, on the ground? Luxury camping! Read on as we break down three outdoorsy lodging options that blend luxurious comforts with the wonders of nature.
Glamping | Ruggedness Ranking: Medium
Think of it as extreme luxury camping. Glamping tents typically have canvas walls and raised wooden platforms, offering more space, headroom, and protection from the soggy ground than a traditional tent. The "glam" in the name testifies to the amenities—you'll have an actual bed, plus furniture and even lighting.
Pro: You won't have to assemble your own tent.
Con: You may need to bring flip-flops for your walk to the community bathrooms.
Where to stay: At River Dance Lodge in Kooskia, Idaho, you can freshen up in a claw-foot bathtub and bask in the warmth of a wood stove.
What to pack:
Bug spray—you're still basically outside
Comfy pajamas, since you won't be cocooned in a sleeping bag
Practical yet stylish accessories, like a slouchy beanie, to keep things glam
RVing | Ruggedness Ranking: Medium-Low
If you don't immediately think of opulence when you hear "RVing," you probably haven't seen the right one yet. Of the three kinds of RVs, class A is the closest you'll get to staying in a house; they come with bathrooms, kitchens, and sleeping areas. Skip the class B vehicles, as they're essentially tricked-out vans. If a class A RV seems too unwieldy, you may want to consider a class C RV—they offer a compromise between the size, drivability, and amenities of the first two. Getting your own RV could run you more than a hundred grand; fortunately, you can rent one for far less.
Pro: Since RVs are mobile, you can see more sights on your trip.
Con: Indoor plumbing comes at a price: emptying the holding tanks.
Where to stay: In addition to RV sites with water and electric hookups, Cape Cod's Peters Pond RV Resort features a pool and sports courts.
What to pack:
A hammock so you can escape sharing close quarters with your travel buddies
A portable grill for cooking up burgers and hot dogs
A roadside emergency kit for peace of mind
Cabin Rentals | Ruggedness Ranking: Low
This is the ideal option for people who like the great outdoors, provided that it stays outdoors. Typically, the most rugged thing about a cabin is all the woodsy decor—so if there's a storm, you can watch raindrops drip off the leaves through your cabin's windows, while you stay warm and dry. But take note: if it's called a "camping cabin," it may basically be a sturdy tent—you'll have beds and maybe electricity, but no water or bathrooms. Make your cabin rental reservations wisely.
Pro: You can gather around a fireplace instead of hauling wood for a campfire.
Con: Does it really count as "roughing it" when you have WiFi and a full kitchen?
Where to stay: Elk Springs Resort's cabins give you all the luxuries of home (plus extras like saunas and pool tables) amid the Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
What to pack:
A camera to take on hikes and gather photographic evidence that you went outside
Fishing gear so you can catch and cook your own dinner
Board games to keep the whole crew entertained
Rashawn hopes to eventually pack her Kindle and trail mix for a trip that requires a passport. For now, she visits US cities with microbreweries and nice views.