Forget Camping, My Toddler Loves Glamping

Yahoo Travel executive editor Laura Begley Bloom goes glamping for a night on Orcas Island in Washington’s San Juan Islands.

When you think of camping, you usually think of an uncomfortable tent in the dirt.

You don’t think of a fancy canvas structure on a platform in the woods, with a real bed and all the luxuries of home. Or at least most of them.

I’m not a camper. But glamping (short for “glamorous camping”), now that might be more my thing.

So my family and I decided to try out it for a night at Wanderlust Camps on Orcas Island in Washington State. The campsite is located in Moran State Park. A short drive — or a decent hike — away from Wanderlust is Mt. Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands.

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Photo by Jonathan Bloom. Design by Lauren DeLuca for Yahoo Travel.

But here’s the question: can three New Yorkers survive in the wilderness for a night?

The day before we arrived, the forecast was for an overnight low of 46 degrees. These tents don’t have electricity or running water. That means: no heat.

Scott Hale, one of the masterminds behind Wanderlust, assured us that our body heat would warm up the tent at night (sounded bogus, but ok). Heated water bottles are also delivered at night to keep the bed toasty.

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Our Wanderlust glamping tent. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

One downside to Wanderlust is that the bathrooms and showers are a short walk away. But we were up for an adventure. After all, this is as close to camping as I’ve gotten since I was a kid. Though truth be told, I think the closest I got to camping was when my parents dragged me to a wooden cabin in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters (I was miserable).

Like I said, I’m not a camper.

Orcas Island is known for its bountiful seafood, shellfish, and produce. On our way to Wanderlust, we stopped at farmstands and picked up fresh fruit and veggies (I’d never heard of a strawberry tomato). The gas station down the road from Wanderlust had incredible salmon, local oysters, and a great selection of Washington state wines.

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On Mt. Constitution, the highest peak in the San Juan Islands. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

We also stopped at an adventure outfitter in town and loaded up on layers from Columbia Sportswear, which is based in the Pacific Northwest and an expert on guarding against this kind of weather.

After we unpacked our bags and explored a bit, the first order of business was cooking dinner. Luckily, Jonathan figured out how to operate the camp stove. We had quite the feast, then sat around the makeshift campfire. A no-burn policy was in effect because of the Washington state wildfires, so Wanderlust had devised an equally alluring substitute: candles floating in a tin bucket.


Cooking dinner al fresco. (Photo: Laura Begley Bloom)


Cuddling by the campfire. (Photo: Jonathan Bloom)

It was definitely chilly that night, and Wanderlust gave us tons of extra blankets. Scott wasn’t wrong: it was comfortable in the tent. We slept like babies, but woke up to a little surprise. Rain. No matter how glamorous your glamping arrangements, you can’t prevent rain.

No matter: we survived our night in the wilderness. And boy did we enjoy it — especially Lucy, who loved being out in nature.

My favorite part? Cuddling up next to my daughter by the campfire. That’s something you don’t get to do in New York City

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