Some people can handle the sleeping bag and zippered tent, but not all. So what to do if you love the great outdoors but want to rough it without, well, really roughing it? The answer: glamping, or glam camping. Not all glamping is created equal, and there's a range, from a simple tented cabin in the woods to a luxury safari tent. We've selected five of our favorite glamping spots where you can get up close with nature -- but you know, not too close.
andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Delta 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. But its 17,300-acre wildlife concession is smaller than you'll find at the nearby Xaranna, and the tents lack Xaranna's soaking tubs and private plunge pools.
Macal River Camp at the Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
This collection of canvas-roofed tents is located on the grounds of the luxurious Lodge at Chaa Creek, and guests at the camp are welcome to use the lodge facilities, such as the swimming pool. But the tents allow guests to truly feel alone in the jungle. There is no electricity, and after dark, the tents are lit by the glow of flickering gas lamps. At night, guests can fall asleep listening to the cicadas and the chorus of howler monkeys. Bathrooms and showers are shared, excellent meals are served in the thatched-roof dining area, and campfires are lit on chilly evenings.
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.
andBeyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp
This ultra-remote, luxurious safari lodge on an island in Botswana's Okavango Delta isn't a hotel, it's an experience, where everything -- including the excellent food and the guided excursions (game drives, bush walks, river cruises) -- is included in the price of the stay. Guests can get up close to exotic wildlife on both land and water (think: lions and hippos), and even arriving to the property is an adventure, requiring transport by small plane, safari vehicle, and a boat. The nine safari "tents" are fully screened in and thoroughly high-end, with huge soaking tubs, four-poster beds, lots of wood, and private pools. The decor blends rustic charm with bright, contemporary style -- not an obvious combination, but it mostly works.
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. It may be closer to camping than glamping, but some of the tent cabins do have heaters, and rather than campfire rings, there's a cafeteria with pizza, cofffee, and ice cream.