ROUGHING IT? NOT!
If camping is all about unwinding in the great outdoors, glamping — or glamorous camping — is all about doing the same while retaining as many creature comforts as possible. Originating from 19th century African safaris, this luxurious form of outdoor lodging has gained considerable popularity in the age of Instagram, with many new sites around the world blurring the lines between camping and resorts like never before. Unfortunately, all that luxury often comes at a steep price, so we're counting off all the most alluring and formidably expensive "glampsites" of the lot from pricey options to the most extravagant splurges, to show just how glamorous this new trend in vacation lodging can get.
Where: Big Sur, California
Nightly Rate: $95-$595
The Treebones Resort in Big Sur has a full range of camping options overlooking the sparkling Pacific Ocean, from their bare-bones, bring-your-own-tent sites ($95) to a "cocoon" tent with gas fire pit, en-suite bathroom, and 500 square feet of indoor living space. In-between options include spacious yurts ($325) with Adirondack deck chairs and a handwoven "Human Nest" ($175) of twigs made by local artist Jayson Fann.
FRENCH ISLAND GLAMPING
Where: French Island, Victoria, Australia
Nightly Rate: $265 and up
French Island Retreat is an isolated glamping getaway for couples within reach of Melbourne, offering five canvas bell tents perfect for couples' accommodation, with queen-sized beds, private seating areas and Bluetooth speaker systems. After making use of the communal fire pits and cooking facilities, there's a whole island of nationally preserved natural scenery to explore and native wildlife like koalas and echidnas (spiny anteaters) to seek out.
FARM CAMPING POD
Where: Santa Fe, Tennessee
Nightly Rate: $348
Maybe the closest you can get to staying in a hobbit house without hopping a plane to New Zealand, these underground pods situated on a private farm on the Natchez Trace Parkway outside Nashville sleep up to four guests each. Rental includes access to a designated kitchen pod, onsite bathhouse, hiking trails, and, when the season's right, the farm's bounty of organic-grown fruits, veggies, nuts, and herbs.
Where: Customer's choice
Nightly Rate: $450 and up
If you don't mind springing for a glamping experience but would prefer to do it on your own terms, try organizing a custom trip through Shelter Co., an equipment sales and rental company that can deliver and set up their closed or open-air tents in a location of your choosing, or go above and beyond by producing an entire weekend getaway or group event. Rates for their widely varied glamping-style tents cover a one-to-three night rental but don't include delivery fees.
SANCTUARY NGORONGORO CRATER CAMP
Where: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Nightly Rate: From $465 per person
Situated on the rim of a volcanic caldera and conservation area, this camp gives guests unrivaled access to the crater floor teeming with savannah wildlife through morning and afternoon game drives. Guests stay in one of 10 classic-style safari tents with en-suite bathrooms, power outlets, and a front porch overlooking a scenic vista.
Where: Harads, Sweden
Nightly Rate: $500 and up
The Treehotel is a worthy destination in itself, as the owners elicited help from some of Sweden's top architects to create their "tree rooms," each with its own inimitable style — one looks like bird's nest, one is just a mirrored cube, and still another is shaped like a UFO. There are also standard rooms priced from $107, so even financially conservative vacationers can tour the hotel, eat wild game and berries at the onsite restaurant, or take guided hikes of the sub-Arctic wilderness.
REDWOOD TREE HOUSE
Where: Healdsburg, California
Nightly Rate: $550 (plus fees)
This spacious riverside cabin within reach of the Sonoma wine country might not even qualify as glamping were it not for the two trees growing through the structure. Guests here have a full-kitchen and hot tub to soak in after a more refreshing dip in the adjacent Russian River, visible from the furnished deck with barbecue.
Where: Cape Range National Park, Australia
Nightly Rate: $560 per person
Sal Salis is a secluded, meal-inclusive retreat which, thanks to its location within a national park, boasts almost-unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities, by land and by sea. Wake in one of the double-occupancy wilderness tents to kangaroos and songbirds, then take a dip or snorkeling tour in the crystal-clear waters above the Ningaloo Coral Reef. Other guided activities include hiking, sea-kayaking, and nightlife tours.
&BEYOND CHOBE UNDER CANVAS
Where: Chobe National Park, Botswana
Nightly Rate: $560 and up per person
At the northern edge of Chobe National Park, home to some of the continent's largest elephants and other wild game, animal-originated trails connect five safari tents with en-suite bathrooms and hot bucket showers. Guests at Chobe Under Canvas can also enjoy morning game drives, evening river cruises, and campfire dining under the stars.
PIONEER WAGON CARAVAN
Where: Yucca, Arizona
Nightly Rate: $572
Harken back to pioneer days without all the life-threatening hardships by booking a stay at this canvas-covered wagon for up to five guests outside Lake Havasu City. The old-fashioned vehicle has been updated with modern amenities like air conditioning and electricity — plus a private bathroom steps away — while onsite shared facilities include a hot tub, swimming pool, and dining area where price-inclusive meals are served every morning and afternoon.
Where: Cusco, Peru
Rate: From $594 for a one-night tour to $4,000 for an eight-night tour
Peru Ecocamp organizes luxury glamping tours that take visitors along the mountainous Salkantay trail leading to Machu Picchu, stopping to sleep in five strategically located camps along the way. Here, guests sleep in sustainable ecodomes with their own private bathrooms, king-size beds, and wood stoves, enjoying organically garden-grown cuisine and specialty cocktails from the bar dome before turning in each night.
MALIBU DREAM AIRSTREAM
Where: Malibu, California
Nightly Rate: $650
Feel the Pacific breeze and gaze out upon blue waters spanning to the horizon from this stationary trailer camp secluded in the rolling Santa Monica Mountains, perfect for couples who want to stay in a retro Airstream without springing for their own. The trailer sits on a large cantilevered deck and is surrounded by acres of untouched nature, so don't be surprised if you hear coyotes howling or owls hooting while you sleep.
Nightly Rate: $688
Blending in with the surrounding tropical nature, this luxurious retreat has 22 one-bedroom tents each with their own private saltwater pool and varying overlooks of the rice terraces, rainforest, and the Wos River, considered sacred by local inhabitants. Onsite restaurants specialize in sustainably farmed cuisine, Asian barbecue, and campfire cooking, or you can book a bespoke private candlelit dinner amidst the rice paddies.
ELEPHANT HILLS RAINFOREST CAMP
Where: Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
Rate: $700 per person for two-night tour
This experience is really expensive by Thai standards, but still pretty pricey by Western ones. For the equivalent of $700 per person, visitors to Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp will spend three days spotting wildlife and floating along the blue-green waters of Cheow Larn Lake, then sleep two nights on the lake itself in floating tents with fully furnished bedding. The tour also includes an elephant bathing experience.
TREEHOUSE BLUE MOUNTAINS
Where: Bilpin, New South Wales, Australia
Nightly Rate: $799
With 600-acres of private wilderness nestled between two national parks and a UNESCO-listed rainforest, this treehouse lets you truly get away from it all while staying in a property unlike any other, with tin roofs, tree branch rafters, animal hide bed linens, panoramic bathtub, and full-length windows through which to spot wildlife and constellations through the telescope.
THE RANCH AT ROCK CREEK
Where: Philipsburg, Montana
Nightly Rate: $900 per person
This homestead in western Montana was converted to an all-inclusive guest ranch in 2010. Its accommodations include standard lodge rooms and an historic barn as well as luxury canvas tents for up to six people, with gas stoves and creekside screened porches. The nightly rate also gives you access to meals, beverages, parlor games at the onsite saloon, and twice-daily guided activities covering photography, nature, fly fishing, archery, geocaching, and more.
THE RESORT AT PAWS UP
Where: Greenough, Montana
Nightly Rate: $940 and up per person
Families, couples, and large groups can all find glamping packages to suit their needs on this 37,000-acre working ranch and luxury estate, where 28 cabins and 30 fully furnished tents sit beneath towering Christmas pines. Paws Up is a haven for traditional dude ranch adventures like fly fishing, sport-shooting, whitewater rafting, ATV tours, and cattle drives, and lodging prices are inclusive of all meals, including their authentic chuck wagon dinners complemented by horseshoe pitching and banjo picking.
Where: Kingmann, Northern Territories, Australia
Nightly Rate: $964
Near the dramatic vistas of Kings Canyon, these luxurious two-person tents are set amidst rocky outcroppings and surrounded by expansive views of the desert and starry night sky, which you can see closer through the telescope. Also included in the price are a shipping container-sized pool, outdoor bathrooms, wooden deck, a library alcove leading into the adjacent cave, and all the trimmings needed for a bush-appropriate outdoor barbecue.
DUBAI LUXURY TENTS
Where: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Nightly Rate: $1,026
You'll feel like Lawrence of Arabia sleeping at this secluded glampsite, stepping out of your cozy canvas bedroom to dine and drink isolated among the orange sand dunes. The hosts provide a barbecue and the ingredients you'll need to fix breakfast and dinner daily, and they can also organize retreat activities based on your preferences, whether that means surfing, meditating, snorkeling, shopping, or visiting a local spa.
ATACAMA DESERT GROUP TIPI CAMP
Where: Iquique, Chile
Nightly Rate: $1,070
Whether traveling for a business trip or family reunion, big groups — up to 120 people! — can find shelter from the driest desert in the world at this grove of luxury two-person tipis in Northern Chile. The tipis are equipped with twin beds, tables, and lamps, while geo-domes house common areas for dining and unwinding between excursions to the nearby city, thermal baths, and other natural attractions.
ROSEWOOD LUANG PRABANG
Where: Luang Prabang, Laos
Nightly Rate: $1,144
In the lush jungles just outside Luang Prabang, a river runs through this exotic resort of indoor suites and hilltop luxury tents, all built with textiles and temple-like furnishings to reflect the local culture. The tents will let you enjoy rainforest views and hear the morning birdsongs from the wooden deck without sacrificing comforts like high-speed internet access, coffee machine, and personal bar.
Nightly Rate: $1,145
Though it ranks as one of Kenya's finest home bases for safari excursions, most of the lodging facilities at Segera Retreat are indoor villas, with the notable exception of the Nay Palad Bird Nest — a raised lantern-lit platform from which guests can enjoy a champagne picnic and an overnight stay with panoramic views of the surrounding savannah. A complimentary night in the Bird's Nest is included for guests staying five nights or more in one of Segera's standard rooms.
DUNTON RIVER CAMP
Where: Cresto Ranch, Colorado
Nightly Rate: $1,200
On 500 acres of fields adjacent to the West Fork Dolores River, Dunton River Camp has transformed a former 19th century cattle ranch into a 21st century glamping destination with eight safari-style tents on raised wooden platforms with all the amenities of an average hotel room. Each comes with two mountain bikes for day-use within the San Juan National Forest, plus access to guided group activities like fly fishing and horseback riding.
Where: Rajasthan, India
Nightly Rate: $1,200 and up
The multinational Aman Resorts operates this 10-tent outpost on the edge of India's Ranthambore National Park, where guides get tourists up close and personal with wildlife species like leopards, hyenas, antelope, and tigers. The air-conditioned tents have bathtubs and full living areas, while holistic spa therapies and communal dining from the camp's organic garden are also available onsite.
CLAYOQUOT WILDERNESS RESORT
Where: Tofino, British Columbia, Canada
Nightly Rate: $1,216
Amidst Vancouver island's unspoiled forests and waterways, the Clayoquot Wilderness Resort offers three-, four-, and seven-night accommodation packages in canvas-tented suites with private decks and ornate turn-of-the-century accoutrements — what they call "prospector-style" residences. Their all-inclusive pricing also comes with private seaplane transportation and numerous opportunities for highly-personalized tours that run the gamut from rock climbing and paintball to yoga and stand-up paddle boarding.
GRAND CANYON WILDERNESS EXPEDITIONS
Where: Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
Nightly Rate: $1,350
From Phoenix, this glamping service coordinates all-inclusive wilderness tours for families or small groups, bringing gourmet campfire meal fixing and expedition tents (large enough to sleep three) furnished with linens and cowhide rugs to anywhere within Arizona. This particular outpost sits right beside the Grand Canyon's southern rim and offers specialized day tours into the canyon or to other popular destinations like Sedona.
PRIVATE ISLAND RENTAL
Where: Cartagena, Colombia
Nightly Rate: $1,376
This group getaway cabin for up to 16 guests is just about as big as the private island it's located on, with Caribbean swells washing up inches from the pink-hued open air household. There's a television and fully equipped kitchen as well as outdoor barbecue and garden area for al fresco dining with incomparable sunset views. Guests can also make use of onsite housekeepers and chefs during their stay, plus a speedboat with pilot to ferry around to the mainland or other islands.
ARCTIC TIPI WITH WOOD STOVE
Where: Gällivare, Sweden
Nightly Rate: $1,431
Spot the Northern Lights from your front porch at this electricity-free raised tipi in the north of Sweden, where you can enjoy the sunny Arctic summer or bundle up in winter with an included snowsuit, diesel fuel heater, and wood-burning stove. Onsite there's also an incineration toilet, a communal dining area, and a wood-heated sauna guests can use in lieu of a shower for an additional fee.
TROMSO ICE DOMES
Where: Øverbygd, Norway
Nightly Rate: $1,466
The Tromso Ice Domes are wintry lodging facilities that get rebuilt from snow and ice every year as polar night approaches, with new sculptures of natural scenery and wildlife adorning the bedrooms and common areas including an ice bar, ice restaurant, and ice cinema. The guided overnight stay also includes a snowshoeing trip to see the Northern Lights and cook dinner over an open fire.
WHITE HAT AIRSTREAM PARK
Where: Austin, Texas
Nightly Rate: $1,500
For a more urban group getaway, you might consider this live-oak shaded Airstream trailer park in Austin, just steps removed from the vibrant Soco neighborhood. Perfect as an event-space or the home base for a big group vacation, guests here can commune over local beer on tap or gather for an outdoor film screening before sleeping in appealingly retro trailers connected by rock pathways.
Where: Yulara, Northern Territories, Australia
Nightly Rate: $1,500 per person
Longitude 131° lets you sleep within view of Australia's monolithic Ayers Rock and experience the rich desert wildlife and remnants of aboriginal culture nearby. They have 16 tented pavilions furnished with local indigenous artwork, in-suite bar, music system, outdoor decks, and floor-to-ceiling windows for stargazing in bed. The nightly rate also covers onsite dining and signature experiences like gorge and art gallery tours.
FLOATING WATER CABIN
Where: Pemba Island, Tanzania
Nightly Rate: $1,605
Sleeping with the fishes isn't just a mob euphemism anymore, as this floating property lets you and one other guest lounge in a bedroom four meters below the ocean surface. Appreciate the isolation by sunbathing on the top deck with water on all sides, or kayak ashore to the affiliated resort for inclusive amenities like an exotic garden, cocktail bar, spa treatments, and three-course dinners.
Where: Wells, Nevada
Nightly Rate: $1,650 and up
In addition to providing a preserve for wild horses, the 900-square-mile property of Mustang Monument also accommodates human visitors in heated safari cottages and lavish luxury tipis. The price to stay lets you glimpse some of the property's 650+ rescued mustangs in between inclusive Western meals and guided activities that run the gamut from military-inspired GPS hikes to in-tipi spa treatments.
OZARK LUXURY CAVE
Where: Parthenon, Arkansas
Nightly Rate: $1,712
Sleeping up to eight guests, this four-bedroom vacation rental would hardly qualify as a glamping destination were it not built entirely within the Ozarks' natural cave system, so you and your party can dine and sleep as usual below ancient stalactites. When that gets boring, roam through a mile-and-a-half of additional caverns or meet other cave-dwelling guests at the communal game room or onsite ponds and waterfalls.
FOUR SEASONS GOLDEN TRIANGLE
Where: Chiang Rai, Thailand
Nightly Rate: $2,487 and up
Step through a front door adorned by elephant tusks to a sprawling 600-square-meter living area at the Four Seasons' tented camp in Northern Thailand, where each site includes locale-appropriate furnishings plus a private veranda and hot tub. While here, guests can take advantage of an onsite trading post, cooking classes, rainforest foraging expeditions, and elephant encounters before unwinding with full-service spa treatments.
ROCKAWAY BEACH GROUP CAMP GETAWAY
Where: New York
Nightly Rate: $2,504
If you're looking to organize a satisfying group campout without leaving the city, look no further than this Rockaway Park retreat, which sleeps up to 24 people in 12 tents with comfortable furnishings and cell-phone charging stations. For communal spaces, there's a barbecue and outdoor fire pit for roasting s'mores just steps away from the beach, and forest hiking opportunities abound just 2 miles away at Fort Tilden.
Where: Patagonia, Chile
Rate: From $2,690 per person for five days
Justifiably voted one of the most beautiful hotels in the world, this sustainable resort amidst Chile's notoriously rugged mountains has its guests book their own multi-night safari treks and add on standalone experiences, from puma tracking to fly fishing, for an additional price as they see fit. The lodgings themselves are geodesic domes with private bathrooms, locally made furnishings, and large viewing windows to the outside.
BEVERLY WILSHIRE FOUR SEASONS
Where: Beverly Hills, California
Nightly Rate: $3,500
It's no surprise one of the world's ritziest camping destinations is in Beverly Hills, where this Four Seasons resort last year opened their 10th-floor veranda suite with near-panoramic skyline views and a yurt boasting such luxurious touches as sheepskin rugs and a crystal chandelier. For an extra $185, hotel staff members will also prepare an al fresco dining experience on the patio fire pit featuring such delectable menu items as wagyu beef, Dom Pérignon Dom frozé (frozen rosé), and extravagant gourmet s'mores.
Nightly Rate: $5,500
Book the Gwen Lux Suite in summer and gain access to Chicago's most upscale glamping destination, a 1,000-square-foot terrace overlooking 16 stories above Michigan Avenue and overlooking some of the city's most iconic architecture. You'll sleep in a large bohemian-accented tent underneath the stars with access to the attached two-bedroom suite and exclusive amenities like airport transportation, VIP concierge service, and a welcome meal from the Gwen's executive chef.
LE MÉRIDIEN DENVER DOWNTOWN
Nightly Rate: $15,000
The highest open-air rooftop lounge in Denver is now open to campers, as Le Meridien's recent partnership with OutdoorsGeek resulted in a 5,430-foot-high rooftop tent site with included firepit, telescope for stargazing, and an attached standard guest room. The pricey itineraries come with roundtrip air transportation and exclusive use of a Range Rover sport with driver to ferry between activities like a curated art experience, bike tour, morning yoga session, and fly fishing excursion.