Travel

The Best Places To Get Outdoors Even If You Hate Camping

Safari West
Safari West, Sonoma, CA | Ray Mabry
Safari West, Sonoma, CA | Ray Mabry

Maybe the last time you went camping was at summer camp as a teen. Or maybe, you’ve never been the type to “rough it.” That’s cool. If you want to be surrounded by nature but within reach of the comforts of running hot water, a shower that has a rainfall waterhead, and err, a strong Wi-Fi signal, then you’d probably enjoy glamping.

And let’s be honest, glamping is here to stay. According to an industry report by Arizton, the US glamping market is projected to reach approximately $1 billion in revenue by 2024. That’s a lot of campfires and stargazing from Instagram-worthy king sized beds in mobile homes that are bigger (and probably nicer) than some New York City digs.

When the going gets rough, the rest of us climb into bougie tents because nature is scary, y’all. In that spirit, check out these eight glamping spots, where having an idyllic getaway doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort.

Wilde Scout/Gather Greene
Wilde Scout/Gather Greene

Gather Greene

Cocksakie, NY, rates start at $250/night
Once a dairy farm but transformed into 100 acres of open green fields and scenic landscape, Gather Greene is located in the Great Northern Catskills of New York, just a two hour drive from New York City. The grounds feature a 4,000-square-foot pavilion for private events and 17 cabins in close proximity situated between the Berkshires and the Catskill mountains. At 160-square-feet, the tiny house cabins are built of cedar and pine wood -- one wall of glass allows you to peer out on the woodland and mountain views from the comfort of your king-sized bed. Each cabin comes with a deck and locally sourced toiletries from 2 Note Hudson, a toilet, sink, walk-in shower and plenty of natural beauty for photo opps.

WeeCasa

Lyons, CO, rates start at $149/night
The 22 casas might be called tiny homes, but they have big personalities. Ranging in size from 165-400-square-feet and just 20 minutes from Boulder and one hour from Denver, these tiny homes can sleep up to six guests. While each tiny home varies, most have stovetops, some have Murphy beds, and they all include basic kitchen utensils and are outfitted with art from local artisans. The communal grounds have picnic tables, a firepit, yard games and there’s even a tiny home that can accommodate up to 12 people, dedicated to business meetings that can be rented out every 90 minutes (so now’s probably a good time to draft an email to your boss for company retreat suggestions).

AutoCamp
AutoCamp | Johnie Gall

AutoCamp

Multiple locations, rates start at $175/night
Whether you crave the sound of the waves crashing or the smell of redwoods, AutoCamp invites guests to experience California’s beautiful outdoors destinations like Russian River, Santa Barbara (their flagship location) and their newest location, Yosemite. For campers who want to experience nature without giving up the amenities of a hotel, AutoCamp partnered with Airstream and decked out the interiors of the iconic silver-bullet trailers with Mid-Century modern trappings, equipped with luxurious amenities like Malin+Goetz bath products, bathrobes, a French press, and a fire starter kit so you can cook your dinner over the firepit. (They even have flat screen TVs, but who needs that when you’re camping?) Select locations also have a community clubhouse, freshwater pond, and beach cruisers.

Collective Retreats
Collective Retreats

Collective Retreats

Multiple locations, rates start at $150/night
Trade the bustling city streets and massive skyscrapers for serenity under the stars while overlooking the New York City skyline and Statue of Liberty. Collective Retreats sets up camp in five dreamy locations (Vail, Governors Island, Texas Hill Country, New York’s Hudson Valley, and Yellowstone) where guests can camp out on a ranch or a working equestrian farm. These camps don’t skimp on the hospitality and accommodations of a modern hotel (hello, 1,500 thread count sheets). By partnering with landowners to utilize land that otherwise cannot be developed into hotels due to lack of infrastructure, Collective Retreats offers travelers picturesque backdrops they would otherwise be unable to experience. Beautifully-designed luxury tents feature locally-sourced decor, daily housekeeping service, curated on-site activities, and farm-to-table chef dinners -- aka Instagram goals. Starting this year, the Governors Island retreat will offer private boats for picnic tours of the harbor, ticketed events (available to guests and the public), and weekly yoga and meditation sessions.

Dena Depompa
Caravan Outpost | Dena Depompa

Caravan Outpost

Ojai, CA, rates start at $180/night
The lush private landscape is tucked away on a quiet street in downtown Ojai featuring 10 classic Airstreams (and one tiny home) lined up in a semicircle with a “general store” just opposite the trailers. Each Airstream, features revamped interiors which sleep up to 4 adults and include amenities like a toilet, shower, refrigerator, basic kitchenware, and a fold-out couch. Caravan Outpost is perfect for group getaways or private events and is often fully rented out, so make sure to book far in advance if you’re planning a celebration. You can sit around the communal campfire at night and make s’mores or participate in any of their monthly events like local chef dinners, movie nights, yoga and more. Complimentary Public brand cruiser bikes are also available to guests so you can explore downtown Ojai, or hit the nearby bike trails for a more scenic ride.

Under Canvas

Multiple locations, rates start at $149/night
With Under Canvas, you can camp out on an original gold mining settlement near Mount Rushmore, stay in a safari tent minutes away from the Grand Canyon, or go glamping on the outskirts of the Zion National Park in Utah. Wherever you decide to get lost, Under Canvas offers 8 destinations near iconic national parks and monuments -- you’re outdoors, but still get to enjoy creature comforts. Furnished with stylish decor, each luxury (yet eco-friendly!) campsite can accommodate up to 7 guests, and is furnished with plush mattresses, luxe linens, and a wood burning stove. Feeling adventurous? You can book a package at any of their locations to include activities like white water rafting down the Colorado River or a Jeep tour through the Grand Canyon.

El Cosmico
El Cosmico | Nick Simonite

El Cosmico

Marfa, TX, rates start at $85/night
Spread across 21-acres in far West Texas -- near hippy-dippy, cool-as-hell Marfa, Texas -- El Cosmico is a modern-day campground experience that is part artists’ colony and part ranching village. Take your pick from vintage trailers, Sioux-style tepees, a Mongolian yurt, safari tents or BYOT (bring your own tent) and disconnect from the outside world with little-to-no Wi-Fi access. Guests can also choose slightly more upgraded accomodations in the limited-edition, 325-square-foot Cosmic Kasita, a micro-home built in collaboration with Kasita which includes a pull-out queen bed, AC and heater and vibrantly colored interiors and decor. The campground also offers several communal spaces like a hammock grove, outdoor dining area with barbecues and picnic tables, and a community lounge -- it feels like you’re back in summer camp, only a little cooler. In addition to the annual music festival, Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love, you can rent a bike and explore Marfa, take the stage and become the entertainment at Cosmic Karaoke. Or, for a decidedly chiller vibe, let out your inner artist at El Cosmico’s on-site workshops, picking up skills in ceramics or candlemaking.

Ray Mabry
Safari West | Ray Mabry

Safari West

Sonoma, CA, rates start at $260/night
You might think wine tasting is the only thing Sonoma offers, but think again. You can soar above the vineyards in a hot air balloon with Sonoma Ballooning Adventures or check out Broadway Under the Stars, the award-winning Broadway-inspired concert series at Jack London State Historic Park. Or you can pretend you’re in the Serengeti (without the long-haul flight to Africa) and discover 400 acres of wilderness and over 1,000 animals while staying in a luxury tent imported straight from Botswana. Just 7 miles from Santa Rosa, Safari West is a wildlife preserve accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Here, you can wake up to views of grazing African antelopes, explore the preserve in your own private guided tour, and get up close for a wild encounter at the giraffe barn or Amani Oasis aviary. Don’t leave without dining at Savannah Cafe to experience Sonoma’s take on braai, the uber-social South African wood-fired barbecue tradition.

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Leila loves being outdoors (with a roof over her head) and can make a mean s’more sandwich. Check her out on Instagram at @LeilasList to see where she’s lighting up her next campfire.