You, oh orthodox camper, do not cheat. You pleasure in the act of setting up camp; you see this work as an end in itself. You embrace the weather, wildlife, hunger. You love the process of packing: your tent, your knife, your nonperishables. The nearest stream provides plenty of running water for a bath. You miss neither your shower nor your bed. You, o orthodox camper, do things right.
And then, there is the unorthodox camper. The man who, at times, embraces a different agenda: he seeks a shelter as a means to an end, home base enjoyed but not built. Showers are luxuries he will indulge, and he’d rather spend more time sporting for food than foraging for it. There is a preference for the canvas tent with a thermostat. A bed with sheets, meals cooked by a chef, and perhaps the occasional massage. The orthodox camper scoffs; the unorthodox camper relishes. These indulgent benefits are, at times, difficult to resist. They offer luxuries that afford more time for adventure. Hiking, cycling, ATVing and fly fishing are best on a good night’s rest, after all.
Glamping allows for time spent maximizing activities, minimizing living logistics. It’s a guilty pleasure, but not one to be ashamed of. With pre-constructed tents, real beds, and — at times the best part — real bathrooms, these 10 glamping spots are worth booking without a guilty conscience.
For the City-Slicker who Loves the Woods: Firelight offers key elements of the traditional camping experience with updated amenities. Luxury elements like a sauna and spa come alongside classic camp activities like fishing, hiking, swimming and yard games. Tents have no electricity, but sit atop wooden platforms and are furnished with a bed, chairs, clothing rack and a writing desk. A central lounge houses all meals, a nightly happy hour and communal campfire (s’mores included). Ithaca, NY
The Resort at Paws Up
For the Fly Fisherman: Paws Up is located in the so-called “golden triangle” of Western Trout fly fishing, and in picking a tent location, you’re picking which premium spot you want to fish. Canvas tents boast decks with Adirondack chairs, bathrooms with tubs and showers, and virtually instant access to the rivers. If you’re new to fly fishing, you can hop on a guided fly fishing tour, or if you’d like some diversity of activities, try the ATV touring, horseback riding, mountain rappelling, archery or clay shooting. Greenough, MT
Headwaters Eco Retreat
For Those Seeking Sustainable Adventures: Headwaters’ container unit accommodations are fitting departures from the average glamp tent. Each dwelling is riverside, built with sustaining the local ecosystem in mind. Do expect: hiking and biking in Riverbend Park, as well as kayaking, canoeing and fishing on the Loxahatchee River. Don’t expect: a tech-friendly atmosphere (though you can get wi-fi if need be) or a resident chef (although between the fire pit, container kitchens and local restaurants, eating well isn’t a problem). Jupiter, FL
For the Heli-Adventurer: You can basically add the prefix “heli-” to any standard outdoor activity, and you’ve got the activity list for Minaret station: heli-picnics, a heli-farm tour, heli-biking, or heli-skiing; there’s also guided hunts, jet boating, a top-of-the-line mountain kitchen and more. It’s one alternative-adventuring nesting box within another: a fully stocked mountain-view chalet will give you the time and rest you need to make the most of your adventure, and the convenience of a helicopter allows you to access luxury locations like a mountaintop gourmet restaurant. Some call it cheating; others see it as an evolved way to explore. Wanaka, New Zealand
For the Camper who Enjoys a Luxurious View: Overlooking the Pacific on one of California’s great stretches of coast, the oceanside retreat at Treebones offers yurt tents with sinks, water, towels and compostable cups. Or, if that’s too cushy for you, you can take the more rugged option: climb a ladder into the “human nest”, a small dwelling of woven branches where a futon mattress awaits and no luxe amenities abide. No matter which accommodations you choose, however, Treebones provides a daily organic breakfast, restaurant and sushi bar, along with hosted activities. Guided hikes, kayaking expeditions, massages and yoga classes are nicely complemented with time alone in the heated pool and hot tub. Big Sur, CA
For the Cyclist: TerraVelo is a multi-site itinerary curated for cyclists. After you book a plane ticket and pack your cycling gear, TerraVelo will pick you up, feed you gourmet meals handpicked by in-house chefs, accommodate you in furnished tents, offer massages when you’re sore, and drop you off at the airport when you’re finished with the ride. You can choose to explore Southern Utah, Yellowstone/Grand Teton, or various locations in California throughout a seven-day tour period, stopping at national parks and vineyards along the way. The trip culminates in an epic campfire with live music and plenty of booze. Southern Utah, Yellowstone/Grand Teton or California
Dunton River Camp
For the Sophisticate in the Wild West: The River Camp at Dunton is a converted mining town. Its large canvas tents contain towel warmers, thermostats, phones, Internet access and two mountain bikes. A fully stocked farmhouse offers sustenance after a day of horseback riding in the Rockies, hiking the San Juans, fly fishing on the private waters of the Dolores, rafting, mountain biking or rock climbing. Besides traditional campground fixings like s’mores — and bourbon and whisky — at the fire pit, luxury amenities like the sauna and photography lessons are also on offer. Cresto Ranch, CO
Moab Under Canvas
For Those who Don’t Fear Heights: Consider Moab Under Canvas the liminal zone between an amenity-filled home base and two breathtaking national parks. They provide daily breakfast and picnic lunches, and barbecues to make your own dinner. Safari tents and tipis come with beds and furniture, with bathrooms nearby. Expect daily adventures: hot air ballooning, rafting, Hummer tours, guided hikes, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, heli-tours and Jeep rentals. Whether you know what you’re doing or not, Moab Under Canvas helps you access the desert adventures that would be difficult without guidance. Moab, UT
For the Adult who Still Believes in Summer Camp: Wandawega champions the “old-school camp experience” and all of the activities that phrase conjures. You can stay in cabins or tents, or in a treehouse. There’s plenty to do: you can relax on the private beach, fish on the pier, go canoeing or boating, hike or bike, or play some classic camp games like shuffleboard, archery, tennis and horseshoes. Cook your meals on their grills and smokers, or venture into town on camp bikes to sample the local fare. Elkhorn, WI
The Wilderness Way Adventure Resort
For the Renaissance Outdoorsman: Ashcroft’s Wilderness Way Adventure Resort is an upscale, personalized adult adventure camp. Before you arrive, a staff member contacts you in order to help plan your curated experience at the Adventure Park. Accommodations include log cabins, tipis and tents with modern luxuries like beds, fresh water, heaters, towels, flashlights, and high-quality bath products. Activities include ziplining, horseback riding, mountain biking, ATVing, whitewater rafting, fishing and heli-touring. They also have connections with local wellness professionals, which means on-site spa treatments after a long day of activities. Ashcroft, BC