When you think of your most memorable meal, you probably aren’t recalling one you had while camping. But that’s about to change. The concept of "roughing it" has undergone a revolution, and now you can enjoy the wilderness without getting grubby.
Glamping — the term for glamorous camping — is all the rage, not just in the United States, but worldwide. Tents are now extravagant, teepees are all the rage, and eco pods are multiplying, resulting in a luxurious merging of upscale accommodations with the great outdoors. Some glamping sites are so avant-garde they could be considered works of art.
While amenities vary widely depending on your destination, the large majority of these glamping venues actually provide air-conditioning, toilets, heated showers, and even Wi-Fi. With all the comforts of a top-notch resort, glamping appeals to a broader audience and has even been dubbed "recession chic" because of its (relative) affordability. It’s the ultimate travel compromise — and one where everybody wins. Outdoorsmen can get their nature fix while those of us who like to relax on vacation can still be pampered.
Food is definitely part of the posh glamping experience. With on-site gardens, glamping fare is often fresher than what you would normally eat in a major metropolis. Resident chefs add gourmet touches to the regional cuisine, making glamping a more exotic and authentic culinary adventure than what you would have at even the fanciest of chain hotels.
Whether you want to go on safari, try dog-sledding, decompress with yoga, wind-surf, or spend a weekend cooking with the pros, there’s a glamping package that will fit your budget and fulfill your vacation fantasies. From Africa to Australia, New Zealand to New York, your ideal getaway is within reach.
We rounded up the top 30 venues and ranked them based on price, products and services, activities, and overall quality of food served. Now open your mind — and your mouth — to a brave new world!
This article was originally published June 20, 2013.