yurt, santa barbara, california

hit the canvas: glamping USA

Words: josh rakic
Photo: Courtesy of El Capitan Canyon

The high-end camping spots that won’t make you feel like you’re wimping out on the Great Outdoors. 

Glamping - it’s a term synonymous with pretense and popped collar weekenders looking for that adventurous getaway that’s light on the adventure and heavy on the service. Camp butlers and chefs? Please.

But hell, it’s still better than a weekend in a $1,000 Ritz Carlton room devoid of balconies, with activities that are strictly limited to dining. And despite the eye roll-inducing term, not all glamping was created equal (see: gratuitous).

In fact, some of the accommodations available are genuine must-have experiences, such as wooden-raised canvas tents close to a slew of adventure opportunities. So next time your tent collapses and the mosquitos orchestrate a seemingly premeditated attack, your mind longing for the guilty comfort of glamping, don’t feel the hot flush of shame - stay in one of these truly magical abodes.

Read more
Yellowstone, Montana

Until the Transcontinental Railroad’s completion in 1869, this part of the world was considered frontier country. And some 150 years later you can experience life as a pioneer - albeit a well-off one - on the banks of the Madison River under a wooden-raised canvas safari tent, or tipi. Whitewater raft the Gallatin River and paddleboard the Madison, explore the terrain by horseback or ATV, or hike any number or tracks. Horses or horsepower, it’s the west at its best.

El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara
yurt, santa barbara, california

© Courtesy of El Capitan Canyon

Not as remote as some of the others on the list, what El Capitan lacks in off-the-beaten-track vibe it makes up for with 300 acres of ocean-front land just 20 minutes north of Santa Barbara. Surfing and SUPing are obvious choices, but the canyon also offers myriad hikes and mountain biking trails to get your adventure fix. There’s more privacy than just about any camping ground worth going to and yurts come complete with wood-burning drum campfires and barbecues. 

Camp Chama, New Mexico
tent, glamping

© Courtesy of Camp Chama

On the banks of the Rio Brazos, there’s something so DIY about this place it’s comforting and cool at the same time. No pre-fab yurts or safari tents or tipis, just genuine A-frame logs cut from the very forest you’re in holding up a tarpaulin that covers a linen tent on wooden flooring. It’s home-made luxury and even indoors feels outdoors. If Rick Grimes had a weekend getaway to meet his zombie mistress on The Walking Dead, this would be it.

Read more
Yurt Village, Falling Waters Resort, North Carolina
yurt, north carolina, camp

© Courtesy of Falling Waters Resort

Lake-front raised yurts with balconies - do we need to say any more? Better yet, it also offers the best value out of any on the list and has more adventure activities than the rest combined. For one, there are more rivers to raft within a few miles of your yurt than we can name. And as for hiking, the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail should serve your needs? Combine that with zip-lining, high altitude canopy tours, mountain biking, fishing, off-road tours, tubing and horseback, and it’s the ultimate adventure weekend.

Sequoia High Sierra, California
cabin, camping, sierra, california

© Courtesy of Sequoia High Sierra Camp

Of all those listed, the High Sierra takes the cake for the fact that just getting there is an adventure in itself—either a one mile or 12-mile hike through the Sequoia and King’s Canyons National Parks. The canvas safari tents are each located far enough from the other to limit viewing of potential late night shadow puppet shows. While the Redwoods and Sequoias offer plenty of hiking from mountain peaks to waterfalls and countless creeks. All meals are provided and there are even nightly events by the campfire. Winning.

Read more

Next story