Glamping Adds A Touch Of Luxe To The National Parks

The notion of nodding off under the stars to the crackle of a fire in the shadow of ancient ponderosa pines sounds dreamy. Here’s the catch. Though I love communing with nature, I detest discomfort. This includes interacting with moist soil and insects as well as partaking in tiresome camp chores like tent pitching, fire making, food schlepping and foraging for makeshift, leave-no-trace toilets.

Sleeping on the cold, dank ground? Not happening. I paid my dues slogging it out in summer sleep-away camp where I felt transcendental meditation (of the pediatric variety) was required to endure itchy nights within a soggy, Saran Wrap-thin tent that doubled as a cafeteria for red ants.

Ironically, I am a sporty gal. I may not like sleeping in dirt, but intense, outdoor recreation — especially hiking — transports me to my happy place. So, when my children, ages 14 and 10, expressed interest in camping, it made me think: Would I be willing to give the great outdoors a rematch? If an upgraded sleeping scenario were involved, absolutely.

I am not alone in my predilection for a touch of luxe in the wild. “Glamping,” or glamorous camping, has spiked in popularity over the last decade. Now, a handful of savvy adventure companies and experiential campgrounds offer luxury getaways (think of cots inside state-of-the-art tents, outdoor furniture, chef-crafted meals, better-than-basic bathroom facilities) for not-so-rustic folks to unplug in comfort. With this summer commemorating the National Park Centennial (Aug. 25 marks the official date on which President Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service), I wondered: Was it possible to glamp inside of (or, within proximity to) America’s most celebrated playgrounds? It turns out, the answer is yes. Suddenly, roughing it seemed almost appealing.

(source: NewYork times)