Need a social distancing-friendly vacation? This is the summer to try glamping

Larry Bleiberg, Special to USA TODAY
·4 mins read

If you love the outdoors, but don’t relish the idea of roughing it, glamping may be for you. So-called “glamorous camping” offers posh amenities in rustic settings. “It’s about making nature more accessible to folks, to get out there more easily,” says Anne Howard, who with her husband Mike wrote the new book "Comfortably Wild: The Best Glamping Destinations in North America" (Falcon, $29.95).

The couple, who travel full time and blog at HoneyTrek.com, spent 2½ years researching the book. They say glamping makes even more sense for travelers now. “It’s a smart, safe and appropriate way to travel in a post-COVID world.” They share some favorite destinations with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY:

Depot Lodge, Paint Bank, Virginia

In a forgotten whistle-stop town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, this former rail depot now welcomes overnight guests in safari tents, a caboose and trailer. National forests offer hiking, biking, fishing and rafting. “You can have a private lake or your own riverfront. They’ve got so much Appalachian character,” Anne says.

More details: DepotLodge.com

Cypress Valley, Spicewood, Texas

Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, this modern treehouse resort is connected by zip lines and suspension bridges. “These are tree mansions. They’re so creative,” Mike says. Visitors can also enjoy hiking and swimming and tastings at a nearby winery.

More information: CypressValleyCanopyTours.com

Nomad Ridge at the Wilds, Cumberland, Ohio

The Howards say they’re generally wary of animal-centered entertainment, but this 10,000-acre refuge affiliated with the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo won them over. “Before they ever had guests, they were bringing back endangered populations of animals,” Anne says. Visitors stay in a yurt with dinner and breakfast included and can take a jeep safari through the property.

More information: TheWilds.ColumbusZoo.org

“Before The Wilds ever had guests, they were bringing back endangered populations of animals,” Anne says.
“Before The Wilds ever had guests, they were bringing back endangered populations of animals,” Anne says.

Teton Wagon Train & Horse Adventure, Jackson, Wyoming

This family-run operation lets glampers take their adventure on the road with a covered wagon journey from camp to camp. “You can drive the wagon, or you can do a horseback ride,” Mike says. There’s also a chance for swimming, hiking and sharing Old West stories around a campfire.

More information: TetonWagonTrain.com

Teton Wagon Train & Horse Adventure lets glampers take their adventure on the road with a covered wagon journey from camp to camp.
Teton Wagon Train & Horse Adventure lets glampers take their adventure on the road with a covered wagon journey from camp to camp.

Firelight Camps, Ithaca, New York

You don’t have to head deep into the woods to glamp. This tent camp, located on the grounds of a hotel-spa resort, offers visitors the best of both worlds, with access to spa treatments and chef-prepared food. “They’ve thought of everything. You can get a fabulous cocktail or glass of wine and bring it back to your tent. It’s tucked into a forest, it’s really nice,” Anne says.

More information: firelightcamps.com

Firelight Camps, located on the grounds of a hotel-spa resort, offers visitors the best of both worlds, with access to spa treatments and chef-prepared food.
Firelight Camps, located on the grounds of a hotel-spa resort, offers visitors the best of both worlds, with access to spa treatments and chef-prepared food.

Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California

Bed down in a yurt, designer treehouse or whimsical artist-made hut in this retreat along the famed Pacific coastline. “You can hike in a redwood forest or go jade hunting along the ocean,” Mike says. There’s also an organic garden and gourmet restaurant, along with yoga, massages and seasonal whale watching. “You can choose your own adventure.”

More information: TreebonesResort.com

At Treebones, glampers can sleep in a yurt, designer treehouse, or huts.
At Treebones, glampers can sleep in a yurt, designer treehouse, or huts.

American Prairie Reserve, eastern Montana

Soon to be the largest nature reserve in Lower 48 states, this Great Plains conservation area connects a huge patchwork of ranches. “It’s massive,” Mike says. Outfitters can help visitors plan stays in luxury yurts or canoe, bike, or hike between huts. There are also cabins and traditional camping sites. “It’s a little more rustic and self-starting.”

More information: AmericanPrairie.org

Glampers can canoe, bike or hike between huts at American Prairie Reserve.
Glampers can canoe, bike or hike between huts at American Prairie Reserve.

Bull Hill Ranch, Kettle Falls, Washington

Guests can take part in a real-life cattle drive while overnighting in cabins or glamping tents on this ranch in northeast Washington state. “These are real cowboys moving 1,000 head of cattle and you can join in,” says Anne. “It’s a communal experience.” Other activities include skeet shooting and even a visit to a secret saloon.

More information: BullHill.com

Live out your "City Slickers" fantasy at Bull Hill Ranch, where you can take part in a real-life cattle drive while overnighting in cabins or glamping tents
Live out your "City Slickers" fantasy at Bull Hill Ranch, where you can take part in a real-life cattle drive while overnighting in cabins or glamping tents

Bison Peak, Lake George, Colorado

Take your pick from teepees, Conestoga wagons, tree tents, and even clear bubble tents open to the night sky at this Rocky Mountain resort. Proceeds support stays for military veterans and first responders. The area, west of Colorado Springs and surrounded by national forests, has limited availability now due to construction.

More information: BisonPeakGlamping.com

Take your pick from teepees, Conestoga wagons, tree tents, and even clear bubble tents open to the night sky at Bison Peak.
Take your pick from teepees, Conestoga wagons, tree tents, and even clear bubble tents open to the night sky at Bison Peak.

Cozy Peach, Queen Creek, Arizona

Just outside Phoenix, this U-pick vegetable and peach farm welcomes overnight guests in restored vintage Airstream trailers. “They’ve totally freshened them up with fun paint colors and chic pillows,” Anne says. Families can enjoy deer feeding, mini-golf and make dinner with campfire cooking and s'more kits.

More information: SchnepfFarms.com

Guests at Cozy Peach sleep in restored vintage Airstream trailers.
Guests at Cozy Peach sleep in restored vintage Airstream trailers.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Social distancing vacations: This is the summer to try glamping