The bestselling authors of National Geographic’s Ultimate Journeys for Two have done it again! Mike & Anne Howard’s latest book, Comfortably Wild, fills yet another gap in the travel guidebook space: the best glamping destinations in North America. Looking for a safe, meaningful, socially-distanced sanctuary this summer? This gem might have your inspiration.
The Best Glamping Spots in the US
This summer will be one we all remember. Travel is different. Life is different. We are different. Road trips, time in nature, and locations set up for successful social distancing are going to be the new summer vacation trends. Our friends Mike & Anne (co-founders of HoneyTrek) might have some solutions for you. Comfortably Wild inspires memorable vacations and unique experiences at the best glamping spots across North America.
So, how does one choose the best glamping spots in the US to visit? Well, for starters, grab yourself a copy of Comfortably Wild. The book features 70+ properties from Central America to the Caribbean to Canada. Time to rent an RV, anyone?
To whet your appetite, we picked out nine US-based properties that stood out to us. Then, we did a little research on their overall status this summer (are they open, have they made any health-related policy changes, etc.). You’ll find that info below.
Full disclosure: we’ve read the book cover to cover twice, but have not YET visited any of the properties. What we can tell you is this: having gotten to know Mike & Anne personally over the last two years, we can vouch. Any place they have good things to say about, we’d absolutely check out for ourselves and feel comfortable recommending to our friends, family and clients.
In this post:
- Behind the book
- Glamping in the US right now
- Categories in this book:
Behind the book
There’s a reason we chose Comfortably Wild for our glamping research, rather than any old blog post (but that doesn’t mean you stop reading this blog post!). When we read their first book, Ultimate Journeys for Two, we found ourselves captivated. Mike & Anne have a way with words. Their ability to pull the reader into their stories inspires a sense of adventure and future memories waiting to be made.
As Mike and Anne will tell you, glamping is far more than “luxurious camping.” There’s an art to glamping, and a much deeper meaning waiting to be discovered. In order to discover that true meaning, they set out on a two-year quest, glamping in over 60 destinations across nine countries to bring us Comfortably Wild.
So, what’s the main ingredient they sought for when exploring these properties? Heart. The setting, the owners, the experience, the vision that inspired the property itself… it all had to have heart. Yet another testament to the authors.
Glamping in the US right now
With so much uncertainty surrounding travel this summer, we decided to focus on properties right here at home to create our best glamping spots in the US list. Mike & Anne break down the overall concept of glamping into nine different categories of experience. We’ll give you a snapshot of our favorite destination for each category. The ones that spoke to us and, fit with the type of travel we want to be doing right now…and will be doing, once we feel comfortable getting wild on the road again.
One last thing: think beyond “a mattress in a tent.” Vintage travel trailers and converted airstreams? Check. Huts, yurts, teepees, cabins, treehouses?! Check, check! Conestoga Wagons…what?!?! All of these creative structures are a part of glamping. As you read about these unique properties in Comfortably Wild, prepare to redefine your sense of adventure and be reminded that we all could use a little (or a lottle) more time for nature in our lives moving forward.
With that, let’s jump into our list of the best glamping spots in the US…inspired by Comfortably Wild.
▾ Need help planning your glamping trip? ▾
If this post inspires you to visit one of the properties from Comfortably Wild, but you don’t have the time to research and plan your own trip, we’d love to help you create your own incredible experience. Whether it’s for a family vacation, a group trip, or a honeymoon, we’ve got you covered.
Visit our Plan A Trip page and fill out a quick questionnaire to get the ball rolling!
1. CULTIVATE | farm stays; agritourism
THE COZY PEACH | Queen Creek, Arizona
This local farm-to-table icon welcomes guests to help cultivate 25+ fruits & vegetables exclusively for farm use. If you can pull yourself away from the goat petting zoo, you’ll find plenty more to occupy your time: cooking & baking classes, hayrides, cycling, train rides, orchard yoga, massage treatments and winter ice skating.
- Lodging: 10 vintage travel trailers with en-suite bathrooms.
- Getting there: One hour drive southeast of Phoenix.
- Current status: ‘Essential’ and open. Call for info re. health and safety changes: 480-987-3100.
2. SAFARI | respectful & educational wildlife encounters
NOMAD RIDGE AT THE WILDS | Cumberland, Ohio
This 10,000 acre conservation center for endangered species includes a diverse mix of prairie, forest and lakes. Explore by jeep or horseback, or take a 2.5-hour zipline tour directly over wildlife watering holes and grazing hangouts.
If you were thinking, “how is this any different from Joe Exotic’s Oklahoma dumpster fire?”—we share your concerns. But from what we’ve read, The Wilds seems to be a legitimate operation with ties to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and many foreign national governments, with whom they’ve worked to reintroduce at-risk animal populations into their natural habitats.
- Lodging: 12 canvas-walled, two-person yurts with en-suite bathrooms, A/C, heat, fridge and WiFi. For larger groups, check out the new three-bedroom cabins or the six-bedroom lakeside lodge.
- Getting there: 75-mile drive east of downtown Columbus or CMH airport.
- Current status: As of May 9, open for overnight stays and some recreational activities.
3. REJUVENATE | guided retreats; wellness getaways
TREEBONES RESORT | Big Sur, California
This 11-acre sustainable forest retreat features creative eco-friendly structures and a redwood bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Come for a yoga retreat or concert, relax in the hot tub, and ease your mind with yoga classes and massage treatments.
- Lodging: 16 fully-furnished yurts, plus treehouses, twig huts and camping options (all with shared bathroom facilities); 500-square-foot Autonomous Tent with en-suite bathroom.
- Getting there: Halfway between SF and LA, access via Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
- Current status: Hopeful opening June 15, 2020.
4. LIVING HISTORY | restorations; tributes of tradition & heritage
DEPOT LODGE | Paint Bank, Virginia
Discover adventure & enjoy old-fashioned hospitality at this former train depot (part of the mining boom of the early 1900’s) in the mountains of Virginia. Bike the “Rail Trail,” fly fish for rainbow trout on a float trip, or go spelunking through the Lost World Caverns in nearby Lewisburg.
- Lodging: Train station rooms, caboose, foreman’s cottage, Airstream, cabins and wall tents. Romantic glamping tents for couples, and larger options for groups up to six.
- Getting there: One hour west of Roanoke airport (ROA) near the West Virginia border.
- Current status: Their website doesn’t indicate any changes to normal schedule. Call to confirm: 540-897-6000.
5. IN MOTION | mobile journeys like river-rafting & hut-to-hut hiking
TETON WAGON TRAIN | Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Wyoming
Trek through pristine back country with wondrous views of the Grand Tetons on this 4-day/3-night wagon train adventure. Travel in refurbished, modernized Conestoga Wagons, equipped with rubber tires and padded seats. Includes horseback riding, nature hikes, canoeing, swimming, campfire entertainment, and delicious Dutch oven food.
Expanded weeklong option adds four nights in Jackson Hole, and includes a full day bus tour of Yellowstone plus rafting on the Snake River.
- Lodging: Range teepees with foam mattresses, subzero sleeping bags, sheets and pillows. When nature calls, head to the outhouse.
- Getting there: Fly into Jackson (JAC) to meet the crew before kicking off your adventure.
- Current status: Biweekly departure dates between June 8 and August 10.
6. URBAN OASIS | nature retreats with access to nearby towns
ASHEVILLE GLAMPING | Asheville, North Carolina
Between the unique lodging structures and the funky/majestic surrounding area of Asheville/Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this place truly sounds like one of the best glamping spots in the US.
In March, we were THIS CLOSE to booking The Nest for our mini-moon (which would have been last week). The vibe just seems super cool, and we’ll be heading there soon enough!
- Lodging: Domes, bell tents, wall tents, treehouses and vintage trailers, spread across two different sites. All have electricity and A/C; some have running water; some have hot tubs. Check out The Birdhouse, The Silver Bettie, and our fave: Dome 3—which has an actual slide inside!
- Getting there: 35 minutes from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).
- Current status: Open; some summer and fall dates left for 2020.
7. WILD WEST | ranches; prospector tents; entire ghost towns
DUNTON HOT SPRINGS | Dolores, Colorado
Dunton Hot Springs is a romantic…yet spooky…yet also modernized throwback to the 1800’s, set in an extraordinary alpine valley. Here’s an idea for your next family reunion: how about renting the entire ghost town?!
After seeing all that Dunton and the surrounding area have to offer, we’re considering a location change for our rescheduled wedding! The whole smorgasbord of outdoor & leisure activities is at your fingertips, including hot springs, yoga, spa, mountain biking, fishing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, and more.
- Lodging: Canvas prospector tents and refurbished historic cabins (1-5 bedrooms each).
- Getting there: Closest airport is Cortez Municipal (CEZ); larger Durango (DRO) is 2 hours away.
- Current status: Open for business. Zero cases in Dolores County as of this writing, and per this page.
There’s something about Dunton that reminds us of our time spent exploring Virginia City. What do you know…Mike & Anne gave this colorful Nevada stopover a mention as well! Keen for some more 1800’s mining town inspiration? Check out our feature in The Daily Beast: The Old West Card Table With a Deadly Past.
8. FANTASTICAL | ice hotels; tree mansions; medieval encampments
FOREST GULLY FARMS | Santa Fe, Tennessee
If you’ve been seeking an underground cabin fit for a hobbit, look no further. This family-run operation is focused on creating a sustainable food forest, and each season at FGF offers a different environmental experience. Regardless of when you visit FGF, you’re promised a personal experience, as they only rent to one group at a time (8 adults, plus kids)!
- Lodging: White cedar Gully Huts (underground cabins) + kitchen & dining hut + bathhouse.
- Getting there: Less than an hour southwest of Nashville.
- Current status: Per Airbnb, they appear to be booked through early August. Call to confirm: 615-509-0533.
9. CONSERVATION | sustainable; local-community empowerment
AMERICAN PRAIRIE RESERVE | Lewistown, Montana
Located in in Montana’s Northern Great Plains, APR is creating the largest nature reserve in the continental U.S. Plus, the 405-thousand-acre project funnels 100% of every booking back to their conservation efforts. Love that.
This place looks truly wild though. More than 800 bison roam freely. Prairie dogs outnumber humans. And it offers the type of unique getaway where you can spot bobcats with your binoculars, then explore the Upper Missouri River Breaks with full-service outfitters.
- Lodging: Yurts, cabins, hut-to-hut system, and camping. The luxurious Kestrel Camp comes with a private chef and PhD biologist…!
- Getting there: 2.5 hours from both Billings (BIL) and Great Falls (GFT) international airports.
- Current status: APR is taking a phased approach to reopening. Check this page for the latest visitor info and this page for the latest info on travel in Montana.
The best glamping spots in the US: wrap up
Whether you have previous glamping experience (shoutout to our desert camp in Merzouga, Morocco!), or the concept is entirely new, we hope this post inspires you to take a deeper dive into this alternative and highly rewarding type of vacation.
Just remember: there’s so much more glamping goodness waiting for you in Comfortably Wild! When you’re ready, pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift for a loved one. And when you do make a trip happen, let us know where you end up!
Note to the authors: Thank you Mike & Anne for sharing a copy of your wonderful book with us. We hope you enjoyed our creative swing for this “book review” and we look forward to the next adventure!
Note to our audience: We were not asked to write this review, but we truly love this book so we did anyways. All thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely our own, and we receive no commissions for book purchases made through the links in this article.
Disclosure: There are two affiliated links in this blog post: the Forest Gully Farms Airbnb listing and the RV rental link in our introduction. If you make bookings via those links, we would be compensated…and we thank you for your support!