Camp in luxury, while still roasting marshmallows over the fire, in cozy cabins, teepees and tents from Florida to Tennessee.
It’s already a well-known fact that the American South is teeming with unspoiled, natural beauty. From the lush Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina to Florida’s winding Kissimmee River, there’s an undeniable number of gorgeous sites for the nature enthusiast to take in. But what if you want to enjoy the banks of the Kissimmee River without having to swat mosquitoes? Or hike to the top of a mountain without worrying about setting up your tent afterward? The South offers lovely, outdoor experiences all year long, but not everyone is a born outdoorsman. You need to enjoy your vacation on your own terms, drink in fall’s changing colors while you sip your cup of coffee in a cozy chair. Glamour camping, also known as “glamping,” is a welcome solution for those of us who want something more comfortable than the typical tent, sleeping bag and portable toilet. And, luckily, there are many glamping destinations offering adventure and luxury all over the South. With glamping taking the hard work out of your vacation, the only thing you need to consider while booking your glamping getaway is: teepee or cabin?
Let’s start someplace familiar: cabins and tents. If you’ve been to an ordinary campground, chances are you’ve stayed in a rustic cabin or set up a simple canvas tent before. The Martyn House and GrandView Mountain Cottages are two glamping locations that elevate those classic camping experiences into something more elegant. The Martyn House is an 18-acre farmstead tucked away in Ellijay, Georgia. Colorfully striped, Indian sleeping tents offer the Old World charm of antique washbasins and floral patterns without sacrificing the modern luxuries of private baths and hot water showers. The Martyn House’s bohemian-inspired tents are spacious, simply furnished with twin and king-sized beds, and are nestled across The Martyn House’s woodland, so guests can enjoy their privacy in tandem with the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains.
GrandView Mountain Cottages in Eastern Tennessee prides itself on seclusion. Here guests can enjoy the beauty of the relatively excluded Cumberland Plateau without mingling with other Smoky Mountain crowds. Grandview Mountain Cottages offer both an off-grid and upscale glamping experience. Their Cowgirl Cabin grants guests the opportunity to step back in time while still allowing them to feel pampered. It may be lantern-lit, but it’s outfitted with a plush double bed, a private bath, wood-heat stove and a deck with a great view of the surrounding 145 acres. But if you simply can’t live without electricity, don’t worry. The other cabins here promise the same rustic, glamping experience as the Cowgirl Cabin, just with electric lights. (GrandView’s farm, including 116 acres, an 1800s farmhouse and the Cowgirl Cabin, is currently for sale, and the family is looking for a buyer who wants to continue the glamping vision.)
Luxury canvas tents and cabins are pretty common and can be found in many different locations across the Deep South, but if you’re looking for a more unusual experience, teepees, trailers and yurts are just as luxurious (and popular) as traditional tents and cabins. Blue Bear Mountain Campground sits on 160 acres of land in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, an area of the Appalachian Mountains that boasts some of the most beautiful autumn drives in the United States. Plush cabin accommodations at Blue Bear Mountain Campground are available, but their teepees are the star of the show. On the outside, the teepees are painted with designs that reflect the Blue Ridge’s splendor, and roomy insides are just as finely furnished. The teepees house queen-sized beds, a bistro table and chairs, private bathroom, and on the outside there’s a fire pit, so you can roast marshmallows after a long day of hiking, fishing or horseback riding.
Round structures with solid framings covered by canvas, yurts are becoming more and more popular in the glamping world for their comfort, customizability and energy efficiency. StoneWind Retreat in Arkansas’ Ozark National Forest is just one of many yurt retreats beginning to crop up in the American South. StoneWind’s yurt cabins are set far apart from one another, each offering a unique vista of the surrounding forest, which guests can enjoy from their private deck, complete with a hot tub. Inside, the yurts are stylishly decorated, with a fully equipped kitchen, queen-sized bed and bath illuminated by a skylight.
These yurts and tipis go to show that when it comes to glamping, luxury is definitely the name of the game. “Trailer” isn’t a word we usually associate with luxury, but Central Florida’s Silver Bullet Retreats proves with its comfy trailers that glamping can take many forms. Often the planning and the traveling are the most stressful part of a vacation, but with Silver Bullet Retreats you can simply choose your desired Central Florida Campground, and they will tow one of their vintage Airstream trailers to the site for you. These cute, little trailers are not only decorated with a lot of retro charm but come fully equipped with a stove, electric lights and a refrigerator so you can enjoy your trip to historic Fort De Soto or Lake Manatee State Park in style and comfort.
What if you want a vacation with all the amenities, from the complimentary breakfast to the in-house massage and 18-hole golf course. That’s where glamping resorts like Collective Hill Country in Wimberley, Texas, come in. Glamping resorts feature classic glamping accommodations like cabins or tents, but they also come with a lot of the extra trimmings associated with staying at a fine hotel. At Collective Hill Country, for instance, guests stay in summit tents that sit on a ridgeline overlooking the scenic, 225-acre Montesino Ranch. Each of these designer canvas tents has a private outdoor area, complete with Adirondack lounge chairs and hardwood porches. Inside, you have a pick of a king-sized bed or two single beds, electricity to run your mini-fridge and an en-suite bathroom with hot running water and a rain-style shower. During the day you’re free to spend your time fly fishing, golfing or enjoying an in-tent massage.
Of course, these are just some of the many places to glamp across the Deep South. Glamping is another means of experiencing the great outdoors. So, no matter which form of glamping appeals most to you—yurt, tipi, cabin or resort—what matters is that you sleep in style under the stars.
Visit Glamping Hub for more glamping accommodations around the globe.
Photo credits, from top: Collective Hill Country interior tent courtesy of Collective Retreats; Cowgirl Cabin exterior courtesy of GrandView; Collective Hill Country woodstove and Collective Hill Country dining courtesy ofCollective Retreats.