Best Camping Spots: Not-so-Roughing It
Structurally, it might not be so different from the accommodations at that overnight camp you went to as a kid, but, nowadays, staying in a canvas-walled platform tent is referred to as “glamping” (short for glamorous camping)—at least as far as us pampered grownups are concerned.
And pampered you will be if you get your glamp on at Alexandria Nicole Cellars ($150/night, available May–September; ancglamping.com) in Prosser, Washington, where three safari-worthy platform tents are situated between grapevines with views of the Columbia River and luxed out with Persian rugs, comfy queen-size beds, electricity, front decks with propane firepits and barbecue grills, and private bathrooms with running water and showers. Glampers also get a complimentary wine tasting at the vineyard’s tasting room up the hill before retiring to their tents for the night.
Another alluring option is Lakedale Resort ($149–$279/night; lakedale.com), which, besides offering more than 80 sites for tent campers, rents out 13 wood-floored “canvas cabins,” with sleeper sofas and front porches bedecked with Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and fire rings perfect for toasting marshmallows. Couples will especially enjoy Lakedale’s standard canvas cabins, and families or groups can share a larger, 450-square-foot version with two queen-size beds and a sleeper sofa. While Lakedale’s glampsites do not have electricity or running water, shared shower/bath facilities are a quick walk away.
And retro glampers rejoice: Lakedale also offers up two vintage Airstream trailers tucked between pine boughs lakeside with a private deck for your use and a free harmonica for you to take home.
Farther afield and a bit more patrician is the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (three-night packages from $4,650; wildretreat.com) near Tofino, B.C., where some two dozen “outpost deluxe” guest, dining and lounge tents are connected by boardwalks under a teeming temperate rain-forest canopy. Each guest tent, which consists of a wood floor and framing, with canvas walls, houses hand-carved, wood-framed queen or twin beds, lush down duvets, thermostat-controlled propane wood stoves, antique dressers, pressed-glass oil lamps and candles galore. Wood-fired boilers send hot water to private showers and sinks, while off-site generators provide power for electric lights, hair dryers and wireless Internet to all the guest tents. Private cedar-clad outhouses behind each tent allow guests to discreetly compost their waste. The all-inclusive resort is fashioned after the Adirondack Great Camps of the 19th century. The food—slow and local to the extreme in all the right ways—is taken communally in dining tents. On-site massage therapists can work out every kink. If you can afford it, go.
You don’t have to be a 12th-century Mongolian nomad to spend a night or two in a yurt anymore. Just head for Cape Disappointment on southwest Washington’s Long Beach and rent your own ($70/night; 888.226.7688; parks.wa.gov/yurtsandcabins/capedisappointment). Each of the state park’s 13 yurts sleeps six on bunk beds and futons, is heated, and shares shower-equipped bathrooms with tent campers. Best of all, you can walk
At Fields Spring State Park in southeastern Washington’s Blue Mountains, visitors can go native by retiring for the evening in a real wood-and-canvas teepee after a hard day’s hiking, biking and wildlife viewing. Crafted locally in the tradition of the Plains Indians who made them famous, the park’s teepees have wooden, raised floors and spread to 18 feet in diameter. BYO sleeping bags, pads, food and other camping amenities. The park also has 20 standard tent sites and bathrooms with showers and a picnic shelter for all to share ($20/night; 509.256.3332; parks.wa.gov/yurtsandcabins/fieldsspring/).