Tired of the cold and snow? Head south for an over-the-top glamping experience that is both adventurous and relaxing.
By Kraig Becker
Glamping is typically defined as a mix of glamor and camping. The result is an outdoor experience unlike any other, where campers spend their days doing all of the things they generally enjoy outdoors, while their nights are spent in surprisingly luxurious accommodations that rival those they find back home.
Large tents with full-sized bed and hot showers are often the norm on a glamping trip, as are gourmet meals and plenty of fine wine. For glampers, the experience is all about getting back to nature while still enjoying plenty of amenities along the way. This has made glamping especially popular with those who don’t typically enjoy sleeping in a tent, although frequent campers love the experience as a nice change of pace, too.
If you’re looking to escape the icy grasp of Old Man Winter this year, why not consider taking a glamping excursion into America’s Deep South? Not only will you get the chance to escape the cold and snow for a time, you’ll also have the opportunity to experience the food and hospitality that the region is so famous for. With that in mind, here are five outstanding places to go glamping deep in the heart of Dixie.
Located just 20 minutes outside of Asheville, NC, Asheville Glamping provides visitors with everything they need to reconnect with nature for a little while.
The 15-acre site offers several different types of accommodations, ranging from Airstream campers and spacious geodesic dome tents large enough for entire families to smaller, cozier shelters made for couples or groups of up to four. Those tents come equipped with queen-sized beds, pull-out sleeper couches, built-in lights, and charging stations to keep your smartphone and other gadgets functioning.
Other amenities include private fire pits and propane grills for prepping meals. Some of the accommodations also include heat, air conditioning, and even hot tubs. Prices start at $80 per night.
Quick tip: One of the joys of glamping is that everything is provided for you and you don’t need to bring a lot of gear. Pack light, leave the tent and sleeping bag at home, and enjoy some unexpected comforts in unexpected places.
The aptly named Fancy Camps operates at two different locations offering visitors the opportunity to go glamping at Florida’s Grayton Beach or Topsail State Parks.
No matter which location you choose you’ll be camping in the lap of luxury however, as the spacious canvas bell tents boast queen-sized beds, heating and cooling units, and interior and exterior lighting, as well as comfortable outdoor seating. The tents are perfectly sized for couples, although Fancy Camps can add a kid’s pallet to the tent to accommodate little ones, too.
Other add-ons include firewood for the private fire pit and a two-burner propane camp stove for cooking meals. The campsites are quiet, peaceful, and dog friendly, and the company will even set up your own private glamping site at other locations if you want. Prices start at about $128 per night.
For a completely different glamping experience, book a stay in one of two luxury treehouses operated by Treetop Hideaways. The company’s rustic –– yet refined –– cabins are situated deep in a forest setting and are actually nestled high up in the trees themselves.
The Elements Treehouse is located near Chattanooga, TN, while the Luna Loft is found in northern Georgia close to the Appalachian Mountains. Both come stocked with snacks, wine, coffee, and tea, while also boasting gigabit Internet for those who want to stay connected to the outside world while on their winter escape.
Both cabins sleep up to four people, include luxurious showers, comfortable living quarters, a stocked kitchenette, and fire pits that come complete with a fresh supply of wood. Prices for the Elements Treehouse start at $375 per night, while the Luna Loft is available at $295.
Quick tip: Nearly every glamping site is outfitted with a fire pit. Don’t forget to pack the marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers, because you’re going to want to make some s’mores.
Florida is probably the last place you’d expect to find a western-style wilderness adventure, but that’s exactly what the Westgate River Ranch offers. Located just an hour south of Orlando, Westgate gives visitors the chance to channel their inner cowboy by going horseback riding and attending rodeos. The resort also features a nine-hole golf course, bungee jumping, fishing, and some of the best glamping in the entire South
Guests can choose to stay in a luxe teepee or an upscale tented cabin. Both are nicely equipped with king-sized beds, sleeper sofas, and twin beds, too. These luxury glamping accommodations also include private bathrooms, complete with hot showers, ceiling fans, mini refrigerators, and a microwave.
If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also find heating and cooling units, patios decked out with mosquito netting, a private gas grill, and a private picnic table for personal dining.
Westgate even offers a glamping concierge to help manage activities and morning coffee delivered directly to the tent. Prices for the teepee start at $200 while a night’s stay in the tent begins at $238.
Most of the glamping locations found on this list are privately owned, but it turns out the state of Alabama has created an outstanding glamping experience that you’ll want to have on your radar as well. Located inside Gulf Shores State Park, the Outpost Campsites are both primitive and luxurious at the same time.
What they lack in electricity and other modern amenities, they more than make up for with an abundance of romance and charm. The large, rustic tents come with four sleeping cots, a sink with running water, and a private fire pit for cooking and communal bonfires. Beyond that however, the sites also offer a wonderful view of the surrounding beach and the Gulf of Mexico, which sits close by.
Reaching the campsites requires a 1.5 mile hike, but that just means the tents are located in a more out-of-the-way spot. The best part is that the Outpost Campsites cost just $50 per night, but since there are only three of them, they tend to book up fast. Be sure to reserve your dates early if you want to enjoy a winter escape along the gulf shores this winter.
About The Author: Kraig Becker is a freelance writer, journalist, and consultant who covers mountaineering expeditions, polar exploration, adventure travel, and other outdoor pursuits. He is the editor of The Adventure Blog, the founder of The Adventure Podcast, and a contributor to online and print outlets like National Geographic, Popular Mechanics, Gear Institute, Digital Trends, OutdoorX4 Magazine and others. He serves as the Adventure and Outdoor Travel Expert for about.com and is currently working on his first book, Reaching Beyond Boundaries with co-author Don Mann.