The face of Luxury Camping has certainly changed over the years. When I was young, our family had a large army-green canvas tent that weighed about 100 pounds and was big enough for our family of six. My brothers and I would heave and ho and roll the duffel bag (also army green) out of the back of our station wagon, then proceed to put together metal poles, lay down ground cover, and somehow, magically, raise up our temporary home in the woods.
My mom would busily assemble a makeshift kitchen with buckets, pots and pans, a checkered vinyl table cover, and a propane stove. We were stylin’….we were “glamping!”
Well, not exactly.
But to my young mind, a tent in the woods was glamorous even when the only hot water we had was what we boiled on the propane stove or over an open campfire.
The face of luxury camping has changed over the years…from boho styled RV’s and trailers to glamping tent, tipis, and treehouses…
Luxury Camping, aka Glamping
Fast forward to today, and camping in the woods has taken on an entirely new (and more glamorous) look. Glamping, real Glamping, has rapidly emerged as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the US, according to the latest research report by Arizton Advisory and Intelligence.
According to their research, the US Glamping Market is set to expand from $561.42 million in 2023 to an impressive $1.3 billion by 2029. It has gained widespread recognition and acceptance among leisure travelers, who embraced this style of outdoor recreation during the pandemic outbreak, according to the report.
The growth in luxury camping that started during the pandemic has grown exponentially since then. The report describes the new demand for an approach to the outdoors as exceptional.
Glamping, previously an emerging travel trend, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight as new travelers sought outdoor experiences with luxury amenities found during a resort stay.
Today, luxury camping is no longer a novelty idea and is fast becoming a household word.
Why Choose Glamping?
A new generation of campers, young and old, are discovering (or remembering) how great the great outdoors is. They want to be grounded in the earth, take deep breaths of the freshest air in nature, and enjoy inspiring sunrises and sunsets while enjoying a French-pressed coffee and cozying up to a fire in an (almost) bug-free, climate-controlled cabin, safari tent, yurt, treehouse, tipi or other creative luxury camping accommodation.
Glamping simplifies the outdoor experience. And in that simplicity, the appeal for this type of leisure outdoor travel has increased. For the most part, the logistics and some or all of the packing are taken care of for you, depending on what type of luxury camping experience you choose.
Anybody who has ever packed for a rustic car-camping trip for a family will appreciate that!
Plus, you don’t have to compromise on comfort. Whether it’s a beach getaway, a national park, or a mountain retreat, your choices for accommodations and amenities are expanding yearly as more businesses fill the demand for luxury camping.
Beyond the “camping” part of Glamping are the experiences. Many locations offer bespoke experiences to cater to the interests of their guests. Wellness programs, gourmet dining, adventure sports, and educational workshops are just a sampling.
But don’t worry, if you just want to get away, unplug, experience a night sky filled with confetti-colored stars, and do a digital detox, you can do that too.
Everything Old is New (and cool) Again
In a way, what’s old has become new again, but with the added value of our modern amenities. Have you ever visited a living history museum showcasing the military commander’s tent with wooden chests, raised beds, lamps, and rugs? Or, maybe you’ve seen movies with well-to-do travelers on a safari holiday where their rugged accommodations are as luxurious as they are exotic?
Glamping reminds me of that. It’s nostalgic. Safari tents tap into the romance and adventure of the early 20th-century African expeditions from the likes of Roosevelt and Hemingway. Today’s modern travelers can indulge in similar escapist yearnings without venturing further than North America’s most scenic hideaways.
We can experience nature when, for various reasons, we can’t (or don’t want to) grab a backpack and head to the backcountry. It’s certainly more convenient than trying to put together a 100-pound tent on your own! And the number of creature comforts included is limited only by your imagination.
What Defines Luxury Camping, aka Glamping?
Anybody who has ever packed for a rustic car-camping trip for a family will appreciate the benefits of glamping!
In the broadest sense, Glamping refers to mingling luxury with nature. It’s camping in deluxe accommodations that are sheltered and weatherproof. Imagine fully-furnished safari tents, yurts, cottages, or cabins paired with access to modern creature comforts.
Spacious temperature-controlled canvas tents are a mainstay. They often feature home-like luxury amenities like king beds swathed in premium linens, designer rugs underfoot, and vintage steamer trunk furnishings. Flickering lanterns lend romantic glows, while solar energy quietly powers mini-fridges, microwaves, fans, and lighting. Many locations have en-suite bathrooms with composting or flush toilets and hot showers. Decks tempt you to enjoy alfresco dining or wildlife viewing with your morning coffee. Some sites take luxury tents further with private plunge pools or wood-burning stoves.
Glamping doesn’t mean roughing it by any stretch of the imagination. Most sites provide power outlets and Wifi access on-premise. Yet access to nature and her stunning vistas take priority over being able to check emails 24/7.
Why is Glamping Trending?
The current traveler’s spirit wants exclusive, Instagrammable adventures where collecting memories trumps collecting things.
The popularity of Glamping for luxury travelers taps into their desire to connect with nature, have one-of-a-kind experiences, and focus on health/wellness during travel.
Above the draw of five-star amenities, luxury camping’s popularity taps into its ability to fulfill the growing appetite among affluent travelers to connect with nature in a meaningful way. They want a vacation with opportunities for transformative experiences. And they don’t want that transformation to be forced. Focusing on health, wellness, and personal growth during getaways will allow overall well-being to emerge holistically.
The current traveler’s spirit wants exclusive, Instagrammable adventures where collecting memories trumps collecting things. Glamping’s blend of indulgence and ruggedness captures that desire perfectly.
Boutique Camping Brings Nature to your Doorstep
The great outdoors is nature’s sanctuary. Here, travelers get a mental break from high stress, work culture, and a chance to digitally detox. Safari tent simplicity contrasts our modern world, and we experience travel’s romantic golden age.
Participating in emerging wellness practices like forest bathing, meditation, and restorative local cuisine attracts travelers craving experiences as part of their relaxation.
Somehow, hiking to a remote area to view a sunrise or marvel at a star-filled sky enhances the experience, the journey becoming just as spectacular as the destination. The low-impact or high-intensity outdoor challenges foster personal growth, bonding, and skill development. Even just simply “being” in nature lowers cortisol levels.
Under starry skies, with a sense of isolation from the modern and sometimes “mad” pace of our everyday life, glamping strips travel to its purest emotional core. In its place, we can return to a sense of awe, wonder, aspiration, and perhaps peace.
It’s a marriage of nature and life’s comforts; the luxury camping experience can sustain the soul. That keeps people returning to the experience.
Where to Glamp
Destinations range from untouched National Parks and sleepy towns off the beaten track to well-established resort areas and beaches.
The swelling demand for Glamping runs the geographical gamut from rugged, remote Northwestern forest terrain and Wyoming’s Jackson Valley ranches to sunny Southwest desert and Florida wetland locales. California’s wine country offers perfect symbiosis alongside idyllic vineyards and rolling vineyards.
The broad spectrum spans from pure wilderness immersion to sites close to historic inns, boutique shopping enclaves, and fine dining options for those not ready to fully disconnect.
Recent data shows the densest concentration of glamping sites in mountain states, with California, Washington, Texas, Montana, and Colorado topping the list. Yet the exotic camping trend continues gaining traction across states east of the Mississippi, like North Carolina, Vermont, and New York.
Destinations range from untouched National Parks and sleepy towns off the beaten track to well-established resort areas like California’s Napa Valley, ski-lover’s Aspen, or Cooperstown village amidst New York’s baseball and Americana charm.
Luxury Camping Locations in the United States
Public lands are now even more accessible to nature enthusiasts of every level of experience.
Here is a partial list of top glamping sites and locations across the United States:
Lost Creek Safari Camp (Washington) – Luxury tents in remote wilderness near Mount Adams
Wilderness Collective (Oregon) – Scattered sites within Willamette National Forest
Under Canvas Yosemite – Safaris tents, villas, and suites near the national park
Vineyard Camp (Napa) – All-inclusive vineyard camp amongst the vines
Amangiri Camp Sari (Utah) – High-end and remote tented camp near Lake Powell
Lone Mountain Ranch (New Mexico) – Glamping cabins on a 17,000-acre cattle ranch
The Resort at Paws Up (Montana) – Luxury camping on 37,000 wilderness acres
Dunton River Camp (Colorado) – Charming tent retreat in the San Juan Mountains
Niche Retreats (Michigan) – Scattered tent sites on two private islands
Haber Farms Glamping (Illinois) – Farm site with canvas cottages & activities
Collective Retreats Hudson Valley (New York) – Upscale tents & dining in Hudson River Valley
Under Canvas Acadia (Maine) – Glamping on 200 forested acres near Acadia National Park
Glamping in/near America’s National Parks
In addition to safari-style tents, thoughtfully outfitted cabins signal a movement toward refined wilderness.
If you want to sleep under the stars in our best National Parks USA but don’t love the idea of sleeping on the ground, you’re in luck! Public lands are now even more accessible to nature enthusiasts of every level of experience.
And before you think that Glamping is not “hardcore” enough, you may be correct; however, there are some conditions when this camping option is perfect.
For example, suppose the idea of sleeping on the ground in the snow will deter you from visiting a National Park during the colder months. In that case, Glamping allows you to see Mother Nature (comfortably) in a completely different season.
Hardcore or not, that experience may be priceless!
Here are some National Park Glamping locations in the United States:
Acadia National Park
Sandy Pines Campground – Elevated “glamping” tents near Acadia’s coastline trails
Under Canvas Acadia – open from mid-May to mid-October. *Check the site for the most current dates. It is about 30 minutes to one hour from the park’s entrance. Provides upscale, safari-style tents.
Arches National Park
Night Sky Glamping – Furnished bell tents with incredible Arches panoramas
Bryce Canyon National Park
Under Canvas Bryce Canyon, opened from the beginning of May to the end of September *check the site for the most current dates
Capital Reef National Park, Utah
Capital Reef Resort Wagons – open late May through mid-October
Glacier National Park
Under Canvas Glacier– opened from the beginning of June to mid-September *check the site for the most current dates
The Resort at Paws Up is a 37,000-acre working cattle ranch in western Montana.
Grand Canyon National Park
Under Canvas Grand Canyon, it is open from April 17 – October 28. *Check the site for the most current dates. Gorgeous tented retreat on 40 acres bordering the canyon
Mahal Yurt is solar-powered and off the grid.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains – Opened from April 4-December 2 *check site for most current dates. Upscale tents with mountain views bordering the park.
The Ridge Outdoor Resort – RV Resort and Outdoor Resort located in Sevierville, TN, just 3 miles from Pigeon Forge.
Lake Powell- Grand Staircase
Under Canvas Lake Powell, opened from March 14 – October 28 *check site for most current dates
Moab National Park
Under Canvas Moab, Opened from March 28 – October 28 *check site for most current dates
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Under Canvas Mount Rushmore – opened from May 2 – September 30 *check site for most current dates
Olympic National Park
Lost Creek Resort & Camp – Rainforest glamping on the Quinault River inside the park
Yellowstone National Park
Under Canvas North Yellowstone – open from May to the end of September *check the site for the most current dates. Luxury safari tents minutes from the park’s west entrance
Under Canvas West Yellowstone – Opened from the end of May to the beginning of September *check the site for the most current dates
High Sierra Camps – Backcountry camping for avid hikers. It stays open each year and can be reserved on a lottery basis. You can stay in one site or all six along the route. Note, as of this writing, the Vogelsang and Merced Lakes camps are suspended for the 2024 season. Be sure to check the website for availability during your anticipated dates. Click Here for Lottery Information.
Zion National Park
Zion Mountain Ranch – Canvas cottages nestled on a wildlife preserve abutting Zion
Under Canvas Zion, opened from March 14 – November 4 *check site for most current dates
Brands that elevate the customer experience through service, innovation, and connection to the land are poised to capture loyal and enthusiastic fans.
Luxury camping seems to be a travel alternative that is here to stay, mainly because, in a way, it’s how travel began!
As the glamping trend continues to sweep the travel scene, its popularity ties in directly to the more extensive wellness and lifestyle shifts among travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.
For them, seeking restorative experiences and authentic connections is becoming the norm, not the exception. Glamping blends the best of nature’s gifts with elevated accommodations and services. And while some may call this a “sanitized” version of nature, others see it as a sanctuary from urban and suburban life.
In addition to safari-style tents, thoughtfully outfitted cabins signal a movement toward refined wilderness. Some travelers prefer hotel-caliber comforts in a peaceful, remote setting. It’s a way to enjoy the great outdoors, reset mental health, live simply, experience something different, and have a cool beverage and hot shower at the end of the day. The best of all worlds!
Who is Glamping?
Millennials and baby boomers are driving the luxury travel niche in the US. Those nearing retirement age often have the time, resources, and desire to travel and experiment with something new. It seems they (we) don’t want the kids to have all the fun!
Where are the Glamping Hotspots?
Glamping locations run the gamut from America’s treasured public lands with incredible natural backdrops to urban Glamping, redefining metropolitan exploration with eco-conscious overnight options and anything in between. Because the US has nearly four million square miles of land, the where and the how of Glamping have room to roam.
Regionally, the Western United States may lead Glamping’s market share thanks to existing tourism infrastructure, high incomes, and population. However, East Coast destinations like New York and Maine, where climate variety intersects with heritage charm, also seize potential as this lodging segment evolves.
While the industry remains highly competitive, brands that elevate the customer experience through service, innovation, and connection to the land are poised to capture loyal and enthusiastic fans. With early adopters like The Resort at Paws Up, Under Canvas, Collective Retreats, and Huttopia at the helm, the future of Glamping looks bright for nature-loving American travelers.