Glamorous camping (AKA glamping) is super buzzy at the moment: Think fireside mermaid baths, stargazing on your own private deck, and peaceful nights snoozing on a plush mattress—instead of a lumpy sleeping bag.
But the idea of exploring the great outdoors—without sacrificing the creature comforts of home—is “actually hundreds of years old and has roots going back to the old colonial experience of Westerners exploring Africa,” says Sarah Dusek, founder of Under Canvas. (Her company specializes in luxe, safari-style sleepaway experiences in places like Montana, Maine, and California.)
“Stay somewhere that offers amazing views, stunning sunsets, and incredible night skies.”
Her ideal overnight scenario includes climbing onto an “all-white bed to fall asleep by the light of lanterns. In the morning, I wake to the sounds of birds chirping and the spectacular sunrise.” (Talk about living your best life.) Other musts for the perfect glamping destination? “Location has a huge impact,” she says. “Stay somewhere that offers amazing views, stunning sunsets, and incredible night skies.”
For example, the dreamy experience Dusek just described is what it’s actually like on an average night of upscale camping at Glacier National Park in Montana, where the ice-carved peaks of the Rocky Mountains reach endlessly upward and waterfalls rain down. When she’s scouting spots for Under Canvas, she always tries to find areas in close proximity to great adventures (hiking, canyoneering, sailing, wildlife trekking). All the better to unleash your inner backpack-toting badass explorer.
Ready to hit the trails? Here are 7 otherworldly locations to get your glamp on.
1. Big Sur, California
Glampers in Big Sur are virtually guaranteed sweet dreams at the profoundly quiet Treebones Resort. Luxe-camping enthusiast Stacie Krajchir-Tom describes an overnight there as essentially floating in heaven on Earth: “You almost don’t want to fall asleep because you’re afraid [to miss the] perfection around you.” She recommends going during whale-watching season, which will “make you realize what a tiny species you are,” she says.
2. Zion National Park, Utah
Majestic red rocks are a hallmark here. And the park, known as the birthplace of canyoneering, is a wellspring of adrenaline-fueled outdoor activities: mountain biking, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, and scenic helicopter rides. Plan to stay at one of Under Canvas Zion’s pitched tents nearby.
3. Sahara Desert, Morocco
It’s a trek to get to a lavish Bedouin tent in Morocco’s Sahara Desert. But seeing its dramatic, brick-red dunes and expansive, starry night skies IRL is totally worth it. Plus, when it comes to epic excursions, nothing really compares to a sunset camel ride at camps like Azalai’s.
4. Sunshine Coast, British Columbia
Those who’ve been to Canada’s westernmost province know its wow factor is serious. Topping the list of idyllic places? The tent house suites at Rockwater Secret Cove. Not only are they immersed in otherworldly beauty, but they also offer open-air spa treatments overlooking the ocean.
5. Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
Clifton Glamping—near the wine mecca that is Hawke’s Bay—offers solar-powered, tented cabins with super-king-size beds and picturesque views of the Maraetotara River, ripe for evening sundowners.
6. Philipsburg, Montana
On a scale of 1–10, when it comes to natural beauty, the state of Montana is an easy 12, which means sleeping in close proximity to its wondrous vistas and landscapes—not to mention burbling creeks like at The Ranch at Rock Creek—is the only call to make.
7. Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
It wouldn’t be a bucket list without a proper African safari added to the mix. After all, glamping is a concept performed most beautifully in the bush. Plan to stay in Sausage Tree Camp’s family size Bedouin tent, which comes with its own plunge pool overlooking the elephant-riddled river.
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