Glamping – “glamorous camping” – was already a hot and growing trend before the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the country’s top glamping resorts are brand new, just opened or about to open, and they have not all been built since this March – they were already well underway. But the surging demand is certainly being driven by the pandemic, as the entire travel landscape has changed dramatically.
As a result, glamping is now perfectly positioned at the intersection of several current wish list wants for travelers: it is perfect for driving road trips at a time when many want to avoid flying; offers freestanding private accommodations with lots of personal space and no shared elevators or indoor gathering places; features outdoor living with immediate access to fresh air and recreation; has resort-like amenities and activities. Suddenly all of these key features are available nationwide in a turkey way that can be enjoyed without any camping equipment or experience – plus hot showers.
This is my third recent piece on the glamping phenomena. First, I covered several of the nation’s best and newest glamping resorts around the country, many at or near National Parks. Then I showcased Collective Retreats, a growing glamping brand with several resorts, including those much closer to big population centers like Austin, San Antonio, Denver – and even one in the middle of New York City.
Today I have rounded up several more high-profile options including another multi-location glamping resort chain. The two best known in the country have been Under Canvas, which I included in my first article and has seven resorts, all near major National Parks and Monuments, and Collective Retreats. But there is also Huttopia, the biggest of them all – except that most of its properties are in France. The Europeans beat us to the glamping trend, and Huttopia has two decades of experience and more than 40 locations all across France, from the Alps to the southern coast, as well as in the Netherlands. The interesting thing about this is if you try one of their North American resorts and love it, you can put French glamping on your post-pandemic travel list.
Huttopia: In North America, they have three resorts, one in Canada (Sutton, Quebec) and two in New England, all immersed in nature and wooded settings, as is the company’s aesthetic. Each occupies at least 40 outdoor acres and features a variety of private accommodations and onsite activities such as kayaking and heated outdoor pools. Huttopia’s philosophy embraced social distancing by design before it was a thing. Huttopia White Mountains is in New Hampshire, with easy access to White Mountains National Forest and Mount Washington, the highest peak and most desirable day hike in New England. The newest resort is Huttopia Southern Maine, which opened last summer 15 miles inland from the famed seaside towns of Kennebunkport and Wells.
Both offer a mix of safari-style tent, cabin and tiny house accommodations, all with electricity, running water and private bathrooms with showers. The Trappeur Tents have small kitchenettes and private decks with firepits. The cabins have all of the same but more of it (full kitchen, outdoor dining table), and they also offer Vista Tiny Houses, designed specifically for Huttopia, with more modern features, barbecue grills, and glass enclosed indoor/outdoor spaces with sliding doors. Being a French company, they also include breakfast: think authentic croissants, pastries and espresso. Like most better glamping options, Huttopia is dog friendly.
River Run, Granby, CO: Open last year, this is a very modern, very full-service RV park with glamping options in addition to lots of facilities for those with their own recreational vehicles (over 400 lodging sites in all). Two hours from Denver, River Run is open year-round and in winter is very close to the slopes at one of Colorado’s top ski and snowboard resorts, Winter Park. It sits along the Colorado River, in a valley below Arapahoe National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park, both easily accessed, with lots of great hiking, while nearby Lake Granby and Grand Lake offer boating and fishing.
River Run has three models of pet friendly fully furnished cabins, accommodating up to six guests. Each has a bathroom and flat screen television, and larger models have full kitchen. Cabins are home like, while the more camping-style glamping options include well-equipped Airstream trailers (full kitchen, concrete patios with firepits) and most uniquely, Conestoga wagons. Yurts and adventure tents are coming soon. These options do not include private bathrooms.
What really elevates River Run is its facilities and amenities. The resort experience includes a lake with dock, paddle boards and kayaks, a clubhouse with full-service restaurant and bar, community center with mini-bowling alley, another bar and snack bar. Other outdoor amenities include a large pool, three hot tubs, bocce ball courts, a putting green, yoga lawn, event lawn and amphitheater, fire pits and off-leash dog park. River Run also offer a wellness center with state-of-the-art fitness and spa services, laundry facility, golf cart rentals, sports court complex, and a large playground. There is even a well-stocked general store.
Yonder, Escalante, UT: As I reported in my first piece, there are already three glamping resorts in the area known as Greater Zion, Utah, and the state is home to an embarrassing wealth of National Parks and Monuments and arguably the most magnificent scenery in the entire nation. Now there’s another option coming next month (September 2020), Yonder, featuring custom Airstreams, cabins, and RV camping sites. Perhaps most interestingly, in a year that has seen a huge resurgence in the popularity of drive-in movies, benefitting from the same pandemic-induced appeals as glamping, Yonder occupies the grounds of an old defunct drive-in movie theater, and will include outdoor screenings as one of its amenities – you can watch from the comfort of a restored classic car.
Yonder provides easy access to some of America’s most extraordinary natural landscapes, including Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, and Rainbow and Zebra slot canyons. The property includes a clubhouse, bathhouse, general store, pool, hot tub and fire pits with complimentary s’mores. Dogs are welcome.
The ten vintage Airstreams have been custom restored so each has a unique interior, and all have added HVAC climate control not normally found on these. The cabins are custom designed, brand new and can accommodate up to three. Both are climate controlled and have private fire pits, but neither have bathrooms, and unlike other glamping resorts I’ve covered, if you don’t have your own RV, your option is the fancy but shared new bathhouse, with private shower rooms.
Bay Point Landing, Coos Bay, OR: Two year old Bay Point Landing is one of the most modern glamping destinations, with 11 architecturally contemporary Scandinavian inspired cabins and 13 Airstream trailers on a 103-acre site with more than a mile of exclusive waterfront along Oregon’s rugged coast (there are also 147 spacious RV sites). The resort has a fitness center, general store, and clubhouse with saltwater pool.
Both the cabins and Airstream trailers have full private bathrooms with showers, kitchenette, high speed Wi-Fi, TVs, exterior picnic tables and fire rings. The resort is dog friendly, and in addition to beaches and State Parks, it is also one of the few off-site lodging options near Bandon Dunes, one of the world’s top ranked golf resorts.