Glamping was created by those who long for the excitement and oneness with nature that comes with camping but don’t enjoy the prospect of sleeping on the ground. Accommodations can range from nothing more than a king-size bed under a canvas tent or a small cabin in the woods to a luxury temperature-controlled suite with electricity. From Florida to South Dakota, the Smoky Mountains to Texas, these glamping options will have you trading in air mattresses and sleeping bags for silk sheets and a hot toddy.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to give up your s’mores: No one wants to live in a world without s’mores.
1. Camp Fimfo, Texas Hill Country (Winner)
New Braunfels, Texas
This year’s Best of Travel Award for glamping goes to the incomparable Camp Fimfo in the Texas Hill Country. “If you’re looking for a vacation that looks and feels different, and always keeps you guessing, there’s a place for that.” Nestled against the Guadalupe River, Camp Fimfo is very family friendly with activities for everyone including water slides, hot tubs, large-scale yard games, gem mining, and even a swim-up bar. You can rent private cabanas as well as golf and limo carts to make your stay even more enjoyable. As they say, the outside awaits!
When it comes to the accommodations, choose from back-in or pull-thru RV sites with a concrete pad, full hook-ups, grill, fire ring, and picnic table. Those wanting to be closer to the fun can select a preferred Red Carpet RC site. For those without an RV, they offer custom built cabins. The Riverview Cabin in particular is quite charming, with its A-frame style and private deck. Or for a larger group, try the Coyote Cabin that sleeps up to 12 and includes a full kitchen, three bedrooms, and private bathrooms.
Pro Tip: Camp Fimfo is open year round, but their peak time runs from late May through late August, so keep this in mind if looking to avoid the crowds.
2. Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The perfect mountain getaway is waiting for you in the Smoky Mountains in these stunning safari-inspired accommodations. Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains rests on 182 acres of beautiful forest just outside of Pigeon Forge and only 10 miles from Gatlinburg, making it a great lodging option for enjoying either destination.
Under Canvas offers ample food choices, ranging from grab-and-go snacks and on-site locally-sourced meals to nightly campfires with complementary s’mores. And don’t forget the adult libations to enjoy fireside as well.
There are nine different tent options, with a choice between either two- or four-person capacity, as well as a kid tent option that expands the capacity to six total. Most have private bathrooms. The tents are not temperature controlled, and there is no electricity in the tents, but battery-powered fans are available on demand, and there are USB ports for charging phones if desired.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, they offer many programs, including yoga, outdoor games, painting, live music, and movie nights.
3. Camp Aramoni
The name Aramoni was used by Native Americans to describe the deep red color of the clay that covers this region of Illinois. In fact, the Vermillion River was once called Aramoni. The camp property once housed the Ristokrat Clay Products Company, and the camp pays tribute to this history.
Camp Aramoni sits on 96 acres near the Vermillion River in north central Illinois and is the first and only boutique campground in Illinois. They offer 11 upscale safari-style canvas tents, each named for a native Illinois wildflower. Choose between the likes of the Foxglove and the Bell Flower among others. Each tent is temperature controlled, has Wi-Fi, and includes an ensuite bathroom.
Breakfast and dinner are included with your rental, as are s’mores each evening. Take note that outside food is not allowed, and the on-site chefs will work to accommodate food allergies and dietary restrictions as they are able.
There’s no need to bring anything but yourself and a change of clothes. You don’t even have to leave camp if you don’t want to. But the area boasts beautiful hikes at all three of the nearby state parks, and Aramoni makes a great place to relax after a long day of hiking.
Both Starved Rock and Matthiessen are just minutes away, and Buffalo Rock is just north of the Illinois River within reach as well. Chicago is a quick 90-minute drive away, but you won’t want to leave the lavish accommodations and stunning views.
4. Under Canvas Mount Rushmore
Keystone, South Dakota
Under Canvas Mount Rushmore — the second Under Canvas property to make the list —can be found just south of Keystone, and only 15 minutes from the namesake monument itself. The beautiful canvas dwellings can house from two to six people depending on preferences and needs. Some include an en suite bathroom, while others offer shared bathhouse facilities.
You will find the same great amenities and service at Under Canvas Mount Rushmore that you will find at any of the other nine great locations around the country. Enjoy bottomless coffee and breakfast before heading out to explore the nearby Black Hills, Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse Memorial. After a long day of hiking and learning about history, relax over dinner with your family and then s’mores over the fire.
5. Coldwater Gardens
If you’re looking for a secluded, quiet, and restful glamping experience, this is it. Located on the panhandle of Florida, Coldwater Gardens is an eco resort and event venue on 365 acres adjacent to Coldwater Creek. Campers and glampers alike can enjoy aquaponic greenhouses, a beautiful butterfly garden, and quiet views of the surrounding pine forest and cypress swamp.
Coldwater offers several different housing options, ranging from simple tent platforms and cabins to upscale safari-style canvas tents. If you’d like more water than the creek provides, Pensacola Beach is a quick hour drive to the south.
6. Serendipity Resort & Campground
Located near Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge, Serendipity Resort & Campground offers furnished yurts for glamping, new luxury cabins, RV sites with full hook-ups, as well as tent sites for traditional camping. The yurts and cabins are heated, allowing the resort to remain open year round.
Other amenities include a coffee bar, restaurant, fishing, walking and hiking trails, and an 18-hole disc golf course. If you’re lucky enough to stay during the summer, take advantage of the water park; admission is included with your reservation fee!
Pro Tip: Serendipity Bar and Grill is by reservation only at this time, so plan accordingly.
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