Camping Hotels: Our 5 Favorite Resorts for Pitching a Tent
Finally, the temperatures across the states -- and around the world -- have begun to rise and it's got us itching to get out in the great outdoors. While exploring completely unchartered territory can be quite the adventure (sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a not-so-good way), we're the types who prefer resort camping grounds; the tent is already assembled, the amenities are plentiful, and staff is on hand should you need some assistance -- way better than having to ask the creepy guy in the neighboring tent, in our opinion. Here are our five favorite resorts for camping this spring and summer.
1. El Capitan Canyon, Santa Barbara
Twenty miles north of Santa Barbara, situated on 300 acres of canyon wilderness, El Capitan Canyon offers a camping, or "glamping," experience with enough modern conveniences to satisfy travelers who would rather just semi-rough it. Guests stay in cabins, tents, or yurts; only cabins have en-suite bathrooms. All accommodations have electricity and wooden floors. El Capitan Canyon provides the fun and adventure of camping but with many of the comforts of a hotel.
2. Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes, San Juan Islands
The Lakedale Resort is not your grandfather's campground. In addition to a lakefront location with picnic spots, this 82-acre property offers everything from an airstream trailer to canvas cabins. The lodge rooms definitely have the most conveniences -- bathrooms with Molton Brown toiletries, TVs (albeit tube-style ones), and patios -- but they are also the least outdoorsy. The Canvas Cabins are no-frills -- but in a good way -- sporting charming rustic decor and comfy beds. The property is best suited for visitors looking for an upscale camping experience, although poor cell phone reception may be a nuisance for some.
3. andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp, Botswana
This luxurious safari lodge in Botswana delivers everything you'd expect from the excellent &Beyond chain: amazing tents with plush beds, phenomenal service, tasty food, and safari excursions with first-rate guides. It's located in the Okavango Delta region, but on land, so you won't need to take a boat to and from the camp. Its peaceful location, beautiful delta views, lovely communal pool, and rustic-luxe design inspired by traditional African hut construction (complete with rich woods and thatched roofs) help make it a truly special place.
4. Curry Village, Yosemite National Park
Curry Village is a community of cabins, tent cabins, and motel rooms along with some retail and dining establishments. The 48-acre property is located in the heart of Yosemite Valley right below Glacier Point and near Half Dome and Yosemite Village. The 499 accommodations are ideal for campers and visitors who want to experience the park and its attractions on a more rugged and communal level. Private bathrooms, heaters, electrical outlets, and phones are hard to come by, except in pricier units. Bigger motel rooms and cabins are outfitted with rustic decor, while the tent cabins are basically just for sleeping and getting dressed -- and soaking up that whole camping experience.
5. Franciscan Lakeside Lodge, Lake Tahoe
Located on the shores of Lake Tahoe, the Franciscan Lakeside Lodge may not have any tents per se, but the grounds -- dotted by cozy cottages and cabins -- feel just like those at a summer camp, and could easily be confused with the filming locations of movies such as The Parent Trap and Wet Hot American Summer. While some rooms are tucked across the street from the lake in a darker, tree-covered area, the lakefront cabins have excellent views and open to the sandy beach and a private pier where guests can swim. Kitchenettes make dining in (and saving money) easy.
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