Glamping 101: For The Girls Who Hate The Idea Of “Roughing It” In The Wilderness

Love the idea of spending time in the great outdoors, but not the reality of roughing it in a tiny tent? Then let me introduce you to the world of glamping.

By Ella Carroll-Smith4 min read
Pexels/cottonbro studio

Whether you love it or hate it, you’re probably already familiar with what camping is. You know, where you head out into the wilderness with a tent, sleeping bag, a few hot dogs, and little else? I’m personally a fan, but even I’ll admit that camping is far from glamorous. 

You’re going to get some dirt under your fingernails, you probably won’t get to shower, and the lack of electricity and running water gets old pretty fast. But for some people, that’s a small price to pay for getting up close and personal with Mother Nature. For other people, however, the dirt alone is too high a price to pay. That’s where glamping comes in. 

What Is Glamping?

Glamping is exactly what it sounds like – glamorous camping. Think of it as camping for the Meredith Blakes of the world. If you’ve ever thought about shipping your stepdaughters off to boarding school in Switzerland, then glamping is for you. 

I’m kidding, of course. A preference for glamping doesn’t mean you’re an evil stepmother. Some gals simply weren’t made for the outdoors, and that’s okay. Thanks to the wonderful world of glamping, you can still experience the magic of the outdoors without getting your hands dirty.

Instead of a regular tent, you can opt to stay in something luxurious yet rustic like a cabin, safari tent, converted yurt, or treehouse. You also don’t have to give up your creature comforts like electricity, running water, heat, and finer foods. While it depends on your setup, some glamping sites even come with wifi!

Glamping is a great compromise if you’re with someone who prefers adventurous vacations. You still get to explore somewhere new and experience some wild wonder, while also sleeping in a comfortable bed. 

Another great benefit is that while camping is an activity you can typically only enjoy in the warmer months, glamping is something you could do year-round, thanks to electricity and running water. This allows you to shake up your travel plans a bit and try something new.

How To Glamp

While glamping is a more upscale version of camping, it’s up to you to tailor the experience to whatever level of glamor you desire. If you’re still game to put in a little elbow grease, then you could DIY your own glamping setup. But if you don’t want to lift a finger, there are glamping sites all around the U.S. where the only thing you have to lift is your credit card upon check-in. 

DIY Glamping

If you want to go the DIY route, you need to pick your destination first! For starters, you can still book a space at a regular campsite. Since we’re trying to glam it up, though, try to make sure it’s a site with a good view and bonus points if you can secure a site that has access to running water and electricity nearby. 

Once you’ve got your site booked, it’s time to think about accommodations. A tent is the most obvious choice, but if you have a camper or SUV that you could convert into your sleeping quarters for the night, then that’s another option. Wherever you’re going to sleep, just make sure it’s comfortable. That might mean bringing a nice air mattress (or real mattress) with you. Opt for nice sheets, a solid comforter, and quality pillows. It should feel like you’re sleeping in a real bed. 

Another important thing to consider while you’re picking out your sleeping setup is the overall aesthetic you’re going for. Since glamping is a step up from traditional camping, you’ll want to splurge a little bit and bring the nice pillows, as well as any decor that you can A) fit in your car and B) that will add some pizzazz to your not-so-humble camping abode. Here are a few items you might want to consider bringing:

  • Throw pillows and blankets

  • Carpets

  • Fairy lights

  • Mirrors

  • Chairs

  • Small tables

  • Plants (they can be fake!)

  • Nice candles

Once you’ve got your sleeping set up and decor sorted, it’s time to think about food. This is where a little meal prep can go a long way in terms of classing up the joint. Instead of packing hot dogs and granola bars as you would on a regular camping trip, opt for things that are a little more upscale. 

If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, then you’ll need to bring a cooler to keep things cold. You’ll also need access to some kind of firepit or grill to reheat your meal-prepped food, but any traditional campsite should include that. Here are a few meal ideas for inspiration:

  • Charcuterie boards: All you have to do is bring the ingredients and assemble.

  • Yogurt parfaits: Yogurt, berries, granola – it doesn’t get much simpler than that!

  • Fresh fruit: Since you’re bringing fruit for the parfaits anyway, bring a few extra strawberries to snack on. Bonus points if you dip them in chocolate first.

  • Wine: Pair it with real wine glasses (you’ll have to pack them carefully) for a true 5-star experience.

  • Spaghetti: You can prep it to your liking beforehand and simply reheat it over the fire at dinnertime. Bring a cheese grater, and grate some of the cheese from your charcuterie board on top!

  • Stir fry: This is another easy one to prep beforehand and quickly reheat over the fire. 

  • S’mores: No camping trip is complete without s’mores – even if you’re glamping! Opt for high-quality chocolate and additions like caramel or fruit compote to make it more glamorous. 

Glamping Resorts

If you’re not feeling up to planning and creating your glamping setup and would rather have someone else do the hard part for you, then you’re in luck. Since glamping has become so popular over the last few years, there are now several glamping resorts across the U.S. (and the world) where all you have to do is show up and check in. 

It’s almost like staying at a hotel, but much cooler. While hotels might have amenities like a pool, gym, and an in-room coffee maker, glamping resorts often take amenities to a whole new level. Think hot springs, outdoor showers, hiking trails, and immersive nature experiences. Here are a few of the best glamping resorts across the U.S. so you can start planning your next glamorous outdoor getaway:

Bolt Farm Treehouse – Tennessee

I’m a little biased because I live in Tennessee and have wanted to visit Bolt Farm Treehouse for ages. But biased or not, it’s an undeniably gorgeous location, and they have a lot of different options for accommodations and activities. 

Terramor Resort – Maine

Located on the cusp of Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Terramor Resort offers the best that Maine has to offer. Whether you prefer mountains or water, you’ll find easy access to both while staying at an upscale outdoor resort. 

Asheville Glamping – North Carolina

Sure, you now know glamping includes beautiful views, cool treehouses, and fun outdoor activities, but did you know it can also include an indoor slide?! At Asheville Glamping, you really can have it all.

Mossquatch Resort – Washington

If you’re a fan of Twilight, then this is the glamping destination for you! Located in Forks, Washington, Mossquatch Resort is everything you’d want a Pacific Northwest outdoor destination to be. It’s got verdant scenery and elegant yet rustic accommodations. The only thing that’s not included is your very own sparkly vampire.

Under Canvas Zion – Arizona

Under Canvas owns and operates a number of glamping resorts across the U.S., but this location in Zion is particularly dreamy. With great access to hiking and views for days, it’s the perfect spot to live out your ideal southwestern adventure. 

Closing Thoughts

No matter where in the world you are or where you want to go, there’s a good chance you can find a glamping resort in your dream location! If not, hopefully, this guide will help you DIY the perfect setup so you can glamp in true Meredith Blake style. Once you send your stepdaughters off to boarding school in Switzerland, of course. So get outside and go glamping!

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