If you like the idea of spending the night in the great outdoors but aren't so wild about sleeping on the ground and wearing the same clothes for days, you may be ready for glamping—yes, that's glamorous camping. Despite its name, the activity doesn't have to be super chichi; at its heart, glamping is about getting close to nature with a little more comfort and a lot less lugging of stuff. Glampsites range from a no-frills yurt in Utah to a fully furnished treehouse (with a kitchenette) in California to a deluxe safari tent in Colorado where a hike in the Rockies precedes a dip in the hot springs (sign us up!). We explore the trend:
So What is a Glampsite, Exactly?
There's no official definition (yet), but David Troya, founder of GlampingHub.com, looks for these elements:
1. No lobby in sight. Nature is literally right outside your door.
2. A unique structure.
3. The (basic) comforts of a hotel. You might need to bring extra blankets or food, but at the very least, your money will buy you a bed and indoor plumbing.
Glamping Happily Ever After
At his 2012 wedding, Matthew McConaughey turned his Texas ranch into a glampground—reportedly complete with air-conditioned tents for guests.
Not So-Humble Abodes
Types of glampsites, in descending order of popularity, according to Troya: 1. Treehouses
2. Safari tents
5. Hobbit houses (Tolkien-inspired dwellings)
The year the keyword "glamping" started to gain traction, according to Google Trends.
Tepees Two Ways
$35 per night for a four-person tepee in Gunnison, Colorado, offering a propane log fire, a double bed and futon, an electric light, linens—and mountain views.
$1000 per night for a two-person, hardwood-floor tepee at Mustang Monument Wild Horse Eco-Resort in Wells, Nevada. The price includes chef-prepared meals—fried chicken and waffles over sweet-potato puree; ancho chili grilled hanger steak with cheddar polenta—and activities such as horseback riding and archery.
The Original Glampers
Though its earliest adopters included Genghis Khan, glamping rose to new heights during the Ottoman Empire, when extravagant tents, outfitted with silk panels and carpets, were set up as mobile palaces for sultans.
Oprah and Gayle road-tripped to Yosemite for The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2010? Oprah mixed up Moscow mules—in classic copper mugs to boot—for fellow campers and grilled sea bass (sprinkled with truffle salt) before retiring in a top-of-the-line pop-up trailer featuring two beds, a kitchen and a bathroom.
Take It Outside
Three reliable glamp booking sites: