After 20 years of marriage, I camped with my husband for the first time this year. Purists will say we didn’t really camp because we slept in a king-size bed, had electricity, and even access to a full bathroom.
I’d argue that our version—glamorous camping, aka glamping—served its purpose by getting us to spend more time outside. We wouldn’t have considered camping if not for the promise of a big, comfy mattress when we were ready to sleep and an air conditioner to protect us from the uncomfortable heat and humidity on the other side of the canvas covering our Conestoga wagon, where we slept on a farm in Oklahoma City.
Whether it’s a wagon, yurt, teepee, or safari-style tent, glamping puts you closer to nature while providing some of the comforts of home. And when the structures are climate-controlled, they can often operate year-round. Here are five winter glamping spots to inspire your next trip:
Collective Hill Country, a Retreat at Montesino Ranch, is less than 20 miles from San Marcos Regional Airport between Austin and San Antonio. In the middle of scenic Texas Hill Country, this property has beautiful views, access to outdoor recreation and relaxation, personalized guest attention, and culinary experiences.
The Texas property is one of five intimate Collective Retreats destinations in unique locations across the United States and the only one to offer winter glamping. All have luxury outdoor accommodations with five-star amenities. Collective Hill Country offers large summit tents with a king bed or two single beds, quality linens, electricity, wood-burning stoves for heat, and private en suite bathrooms “with rain-style shower, full flush toilet, and hot running water.”
Ruby 360 Lodge, named for its panoramic views of the Ruby Mountains and Lamoille Valley in northeastern Nevada, opened three years ago to host guests of Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing, a backcountry service operating since 1977.
Outside the 10-room lodge, which is 25 miles from Elko Regional Airport, are two yurts for rent year-round on the company’s 120 acres of private land. Conrad Creek Yurt is at 7,000 feet elevation, steps from the creek. It is accessible by vehicle and sleeps four people in a queen bed and futon.
Ruby High Yurt is at 9,700 feet atop Conrad Creek ridge, where “skiing in the winter begins as soon as you clip into your skis.” The yurt sleeps four and there are two additional fully insulated structures next door with room for three people each. Guests bring their own sleeping bags and pillows. The Ruby Mountain Helicopter Skiing guided winter package includes transportation to and from the Ruby Yurt by helicopter or snow cat, lodging, and guided skiing.
Both yurts have propane fireplaces for heat, full kitchens with two-burner propane stoves for cooking, cookware and utensils, furniture, and solar power. In addition to bedding, guests can bring their own food or opt for a catering package.
Retired veterinarian Glenn Orr opened Orr Family Farm 15 years ago on 107 acres in Oklahoma City to give families and school groups a farm experience with rides, activities, and educational opportunities. The farm is open to the public in the spring and fall but offers year-round overnight stays in Conestoga wagons and teepees.
The 25-foot-long, 10-foot-wide wagons give 180 square feet of space and sleep four or six depending on bed types. There’s a king bed and either one or two sets of bunk beds, as well as a table, microwave, refrigerator, overhead lights, five electrical outlets, and heating and cooling.
The teepees sleep four or five depending on layout, and they feel even roomier inside. Both structures are set up in circles, making it easy for groups to glamp together. Each glamping site has a picnic table and charcoal grill, and shares a central fire pit with the camping circle. Each circle has access to bathrooms, either mobile or full structures.
Even when the farm is closed seasonally, overnight guests can access about 20 activities, from giant jumping pillows and human foosball to oversized lawn games. There is also a small indoor combination hot tub and current pool for overnighters, who Orr also allows to fish in the main pond known to have 6- to 8-pound largemouth bass.
Wiley Post Airport, Max Westheimer Airport at the University of Oklahoma, and Will Rogers World Airport are all within 22 miles of the farm.
Northeast Minnesota’s Boundary Country and Wild North are popular during the winter for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, dog-sledding, and other active pursuits. Staying at a remote wilderness yurt off the Gunflint Trail only adds to the adventure. Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B, 30 miles from the Grand Marais/Cook County Airport, rents two yurts.
Tall Pines Yurt is open year-round on a small BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) lake and about half a mile from parking. Croft Yurt is along the Banadad Ski Trail and only available in the winter as part of the yurt-to-yurt skiing program through Boundary Country Trekking.
Yurts come with access to a canoe; bunk beds; and a kitchen with pots and pans, dishes, and a wood stove.
The driveway to reach Catherine’s Landing is long enough that some guests start to wonder if they’re in the right place or lost in the mountains outside Hot Springs. That remoteness and the property’s natural setting while being just five minutes from historic Hot Springs is what brings back regulars.
There’s a mile of Lake Catherine on one side and forest surrounding the rest of the park that offers yurts alongside cottage rentals and sites for tent camping and RVs. The 400 acres feature hiking trails, kayak and bicycle rentals, a playground, a fitness center, a disc golf course, zip lines, fire pits for roasting marshmallows, and more.
Eight yurts in three sizes for four, eight, and 12 guests form Yurt Village, which shares restroom and shower facilities with tent sites. You’ll have a picnic table, deck, and fire ring at each yurt, along with concierge service. Inside the yurt is Wi-Fi, wooden floors, windows, beds with linens, and climate controls to “take the edge off extreme temperatures.”
Catherine’s Landing is just 10 miles from Hot Springs’ Memorial Field.