Do you hear the call of the wild, but find that camping cramps your style?  Even the most rough and ready campers among us, those who are quick to grab their gear and go on the next nature adventure as soon as a friend calls, will admit that there are some things about camping that are just downright uncomfortable such as:

Trying to sleep on that really hard ground with the creepy crawlers.  Despite the very best preventive efforts, something always manages to slime, slither, or crawl its way into the tent or even sleeping bag.  (Centipedes~slugs~snails~snakes! OMGet-off!)

Having to use the bush as the bathroom (Fireants, thorns: Yikes! Ouch! Lost urges!)

Staying in a tiny tent that could collapse if you roll over in your sleep, or where you’re sure to wonder whether you’re getting bigger or your tent’s getting smaller. (“My legs fit in last year, didn’t they?” you’ve probably asked yourself on at least one expedition.)

And while these discomforts do, in part, actually define camping and even fuel a few good campfire stories, sometimes we’d all just like to be a bit more comfortable when we’re communing with nature — the better to commune with it!  So instead of camping, why not go glamping?

 

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A Traditional Camper. (He could have sworn he fit in his tent last year.) / Image via Shutterstock.

Glamping Lets You Experience Nature from A Cocoon of Comfort

Despite its less than glamorous sounding name, glamping is camping in luxury, the degree of which can range from having the simple comforts of home like a dining table and double-bed in your “tent” (Isn’t that nice? Reasonable, right?) to enjoying the many sophisticated comforts of a swanky hotel as well like fine dining and a swimming pool or spa on site (Sweeter still!).  

At its extreme, glamping can be so glamorous as to barely resemble camping, leaving but an outline of it remaining, possibly to remind us of its raison d’être, to keep us in touch with camping’s roots, to poke a bit of fun at camping, or just because.

Glamping, then, makes happy glampers of us by doing what camping cannot such as:

Taking the sleeping bag and, well, just throwing it right out of the tent for good, replacing it with a bed complete with bedspread (Hooray! Sweet dreams!).

Flushing away the communal bush in favor of communal or private bathrooms with modern plumbing that are regularly cleaned (Refreshing, happily hygienic, so sanely sanitary!).

Supersizing the traditional tent or even chucking it out of the camping experience altogether, providing themed lodging structures instead that can be quite a bit more substantial, comfortable, and cozy – even crazy-cool!  (For instance, how about glamping at Quirky Nights Glamping Village where you can stay in a decommissioned Boeing 767 remodeled as luxury sleeping quarters that look out on the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland?)

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Napping at Noon in a Luxury Tent in the Big Heat of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Africa / Image via Shutterstock

Ultimately, glamping answers the thorny question of “Why can’t I have my nature without all of the privations of camping?”  And well why can’t you, after all?  Why not be able to appreciate the beauty of nature in style and comfortable ease?  Glamping lets you experience nature from a comfortable cocoon, so to speak.  If camping says “Leave home for the great outdoors!,” then glamping says “Yes, but wherever you go in the great outdoors make sure you have all of the comforts of home!”

If camping says “Let’s toast some marshmallows!,” then, at the very least, glamping says “Let’s head for the S’mores Bar for some gourmet dark chocolate coconut S’mores and, by the way, uncork that $100 Cab to wash them down with!”

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Gourmet S’mores Bar by Clean Eats & Treats / Courtesy of Shannon Sargent

Indeed glamping can beat camping into the dusty campground of yore almost to the point of parodying itself a la the Boeing 767 glamping experience at the Quirky Nights Glamping Village previously mentioned. When it comes right down to it, you get to have your S’mores and eat them too with glamping!

Despite the dramatic differences between camping and glamping though, the great outdoors, being so amazing and magnanimous, welcomes campers and glampers alike.  And the reality today is that while there are plenty of rough and ready campers who are completely happy to stick to the basics of camping, a growing number of nature lovers have just unabashedly gone glamping and never looked back, infatuated as they are with all of glamping’s comfort, luxury, and even ostentation.

Glampsites: Where All the Glamping Goes on!

Glampsites are where glampers go to glamp.  It’s where all of the glamping goes on. Glampsites are usually themed.  For example, there’s astral glamping, glamping on farms, glamping in caves, exotic island glamping, medieval glamping, safari glamping, and so on.  Also, many glampsites cater to special interests such as weddings or hen parties.

Of the many glampsites that we discovered in our research on this travel trend, we chose to focus on Treebones Resort in South Big Sur, California because it’s a great place to stay and because its variety of accommodations illustrates the range of luxury that you can get with glamping.

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Big Sur, California, United States / Hkomala for Shutterstock

 

Treebones Resort, South Big Sur, California, United States

The Setting: high in the cliffs of the remote, very rugged central coast of California known as Big Sur, which is a 90-mile sweep of dramatically beautiful coastline that runs from Carmel-by-the-Sea to San Simeon.  The area offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia mountains amid a legendary serenity that has made this one of the great destinations of the world for those who are seeking spirituality and want to contemplate life and nature.

It’s a sparsely populated area woven with miles of nature trails and has isolated beaches, redwood forests, preserves, and several national parks.  A delight for nature lovers, Big Sur also draws artists, writers, and other creative types who seek inspiration from its natural wonders.

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Yurts on the Cliffside at Treebones / Sue Danials for Treebones Resort

The Glampsite: Treebones Resort is a good-sized, family-run glampsite perched on the cliffs of South Big Sur on about 11 acres of land that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.   They very ambitiously balance their guests’ experiences of the surrounding nature with the comfort and luxury of a resort while minimizing the impact of the resort on the environment.  Treebones makes a great base to experience and see all that Big Sur has to offer.

The Accommodations:  Treebones provides a very unique and interesting range of accommodations, from small campsite rentals to yurts to The Autonomous Tent, each of which gives you a different level of luxury and experience of nature.

Campsite Rental:  At the most basic, camping-cum-glamping, end of the range, you can rent a small campsite from Treebones where you have to bring everything you need for camping, including your tent, but are given access to the resort’s facilities such as its bathrooms, restaurants, pool and hot tub, and other amenities.   This is a nice hybrid option for those campers who are on the fence about glamping or who just can’t afford its higher cost.

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Interior of a Yurt / Sue Danials for Treebones Resort

Yurt Rental:  In the middle of the range at Treebones, you can stay in any one of 16 yurts, which are tent-like circular places to stay that have wood lattice frames.  Most of the yurts are grouped together on the property along the cliffs and feature the following:

  • Sleeps two persons in a queen size bed that has linens, pillows, and comforters.  (Two of the yurts, however, are big enough to accommodate an additional two persons on a futon at extra cost.)
  • Vanity with hot and cold sinks
  • Bath and hand towels
  • Electricity with lighting
  • Pinewood floors
  • Redwood deck with spectacular views of the coast
  • Breakfast buffet, which is self-serve
  • Heater for cold nights
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The Autonomous Tent / Kodiak Greenwood for Treebones Resort

The Autonomous Tent:  And for a high-end, out-of-this-world glamping experience, you can stay in the secluded Autonomous Tent, which looks like a large band shell or cocoon, faces the Pacific Ocean at the end of the resort in its own area, and has about 500 square feet of fully furnished space complete with en-suite bathroom and heat.  Here you can sit in the lotus position on its redwood deck and easily meditate as you become entranced by the sounds of the surf pounding the rocks below.  It’s also a great place to watch the night sky and wish upon a shooting star or two.

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Looking out on the Pacific Ocean from inside The Autonomous Tent / Kodiak Greenwood for Treebones Resort

Other Amenities:

  • Communal bathrooms and shower facility
  • Upscale restaurant with sushi bar
  • Tranquil massage studio
  • Hot tub and heated, ocean-view swimming pool
  • Yoga workshops
  • Gift shop and small convenience store
  • Large, attentive staff to tend to guests’ needs
  • Internet access in the lobby

Some Things to Bring:

  • Thermal wear
  • Beach towels
  • Flashlights
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McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California / Rudy Balasko for Shutterstock

Fun Things To Do:

Cost:  Campsites are US $95.00 for a maximum of two persons; Yurts start at US $263.00 per night; the Autonomous Tent is US $495.00 per night for two guests.  All options require a minimum stay of 2 nights during peak season (March through October).  In off season (November through February), there is a minimum stay requirement of 2 nights on weekends and holidays.

There’s no bones about it, a stay at Treebones Resort is sure to be a fantastic experience for campers and glampers alike — a place for campers to make their glamping bones!

Are you a camper or a glamper?  Let us know in the comments section below and tell us why.  Also be sure to let us all in on some of your favorite campsites or glampsites.

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