If you’re going glamping, you’re in for a real treat.
Glamping kicks the normal camping experience up a few notches by introducing additional comforts and luxuries.
Today, I’m going to break down everything you need to know about glamping to get you started.
Whether you want to find an awesome glampsite, learn what to expect on your trip, or buy your own DIY glamping tent, we have you covered.
Let’s get started!
Wait, What Is Glamping?
The word glamping is a portmanteau of "glamour" and "camping."
Think of it as luxury camping.
Instead of roughing it in a sleeping bag in a cramped tent with few amenities, you’ll be surrounded with luxuries to make the experience more comfortable.
It’s actually hard to nail down an exact definition of what makes glamping glamping instead of just camping.
Glamping can be as simple or as extravagant as you want, but it almost always involves a more spacious accommodation than your standard camping tent.
Canvas tents like bell tents are common as are yurts, teepees, and treehouses. Even a cabin can be considered glamping. Heck, even camping in an RV is glamping in a way!
In addition to the shelter itself, glamping usually does away with a sleeping bag and sleeping pad (or camping cot) in favor of a more comfortable sleep setup.
Most glampsites I’ve stayed at provide actual beds with clean linens, fluffy pillows, and warm comforters for the utmost in comfort.
Other amenities that set glamping apart are kitchenettes and restrooms with flush toilets and hot showers – maybe even a private hot tub if you’re lucky.
In reality, the definition of glamping is far from set in stone. I personally like to think of it as camping with a few extra luxuries thrown in, but it can sometimes border on staying in a hotel or bed and breakfast.
I guess that means that glamping is what you make it!
Why I Love Glamping
In my mind, adaptability and versatility are the main benefits of glamping.
You can turn a normal camping trip into a glamping extravaganza with just a few simple accessories.
Even something as small as a comfortable air mattress with real pillows and your comforter from home plus cute string lights and a French press takes your standard camping trip into glamping territory.
At the same time, a well-stocked cabin with its own kitchenette and bathroom with a fire pit and hot tub outside is also glamping. Yes, a more extravagant version, but glamping nonetheless.
I also like that glamping is a great introduction to the outdoors.
I love camping and backpacking, but many people don’t. Others don’t have the right gear or are inexperienced.
Glamping is a great way to introduce these people to the great outdoors in a more comfortable setting without roughing it - or just semi-roughing it.
Personally, I tend to use a glamping trip as a special treat.
Camping is enough of a treat on its own, but a weekend stay at a glamping rental is one of my favorite ways to celebrate a special occasion in style with friends or family around.
Best Places to Go Glamping
All-inclusive glamping rentals are available just about everywhere.
These state glamping guides break down the best glamping rentals in each state and offer in-depth information on what amenities are offered.
Remember, that no matter where you plan to go glamping, it’s important to book early as the best glamping rentals get reserved quickly, especially in summer and near holidays.
How Much Does Glamping Cost?
It’s impossible to pinpoint how much glamping costs since there’s so much variability involved.
Most glamping rentals cost between $50 and, say, $250 per night. The most luxuriously extravagant go for $1,000 per night or even more.
But that doesn’t mean glamping has to cost this much.
You can go glamping at a normal campsite with just a few extra accessories to add comfort and luxury.
But even DIY glamping can get expensive if you end up buying your own glamping tent (just know that a normal tent works just fine).
Basically, you can definitely get away with glamping on a shoestring budget - or you can go all out and spend hundreds of dollars for just a weekend trip.
Sometimes Meals and Activities Are Offered
Some glamping rentals don’t only offer comfortable accommodations - they also offer meals and activities to guests.
I’ve stayed at several glampsites that mimic bed and breakfasts by offering a simple breakfast and coffee each morning.
Others provide light snacks and sometimes even community hot dog roasts or ice cream socials. I’m sure you can find a fully catered glamping rental if that’s what you’re after.
My favorite glampsites either have on-site activities or are located near fun activities.
Of course, hiking and biking trails are common as are swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs. Horseback riding and river rafting also seem popular.
What About DIY Glamping?
So far, the style of glamping I’ve been talking about is primarily staying at an all-inclusive glamping rental.
But DIY glamping is also possible (and a heck of a lot cheaper!).
This basically consists of setting up your own glampsite at a campground (or in your backyard at home).
Rather than a sleeping pad, opt for a comfortable camping cot or air mattress. Skip the sleeping bag and bring your own blankets from home. And don’t forget plenty of pillows!
Countless other accessories help take roughing it to semi-roughing it by adding a few additional comforts to your campsite (well, now it’s a glampsite!).
I personally love DIY glamping because it’s so easy and affordable that anyone can do it!
DIY Glamping Tips for a Cozy Stay
Start with our big list of the best luxury camping gear to turn glamping into camping.
Turning your campsite into a glampsite is as simple as adding in cute string lights, comfortable bedding, and maybe a way to make delicious camp coffee (like a French press).
To me, comfortable camp chairs - and, heck, a large camping table, why not - give your campsite a living room vibe.
Add in a bug screen like the Nemo Bugout Screen Room to keep bugs at bay and create a cozy hang out space.
There are a ton of different ways to make your camping sleep setup more comfortable, but the Exped MegaMat Sleeping Pad is my go-to for DIY glamping.
Of course, you can always bring your own bedding from home, but the REI Co-op Kingdom Insulated Sleep System is a super comfortable sleep system that combines a top sheet, padded cover, and insulated quilt with a queen size air mattress for the utmost in camping comfort.
Don’t forget about your camp kitchen while you’re at it.
To me, delicious meals are a huge part of the glamping experience. Sure, you can always cook campfire meals or on your camping stove, but why not up the ante?
If you’re really going all in on glamping, you might take a few minutes to think about your camp bathroom setup.
The Mr. Heater Basecamp Portable Shower is a tankless hot-water heater that can use water from any source to give you the most wonderful camping shower imaginable.
Basically, what I’m saying is that the options for glamping luxuries are nearly endless.
Use our list of our favorite glamping accessories to find even more DIY glamping ideas.
How to Choose the Best Glamping Tent
If you’re serious about glamping, then a dedicated glamping tent might be in your future.
Of course, your standard camping tent will do the job just fine. You can use pretty much any tent you already have at home (although the bigger, the better).
In fact, using a normal camping tent is a great option for those on a budget. If you don”t have one already, our list of the best family tents will help you find the perfect match.
As for a full-blown DIY glamping tent, your options include canvas wall tents, canvas bell tents, tepees, portable yurts, and much more.
The most important factor to consider is how often you’ll move the tent.
Do you plan to create a permanent or semi-permanent glampsite on your own property?
Or do you plan to take your glamping tent to campgrounds where you’ll need to set it up and take it down each time?
If you don’t have a semi-permanent place for your tent, you’ll want to consider size, weight, and ease of setup.
The best glamping tents are quite bulky and heavy. They take around 30 minutes (or sometimes even more) to set up.
My favorite glamping tent is the PlayDo 4-Season Bell Tent. It’s spacious, weather resistant, and stylish. You can even safely use a portable wood stove inside of it.
Luckily, this canvas glamping tent is relatively quick and easy to set up (at least compared to other models). It’s still best suited for longer trips, but can be used for weekend trips.
If at all possible, using a wooden platform underneath the base of your glamping tent adds tremendously to the overall glamping experience.
A platform not only creates a level, hard surface, but also helps keep bugs and other critters out, improves weatherproofing, and can even be used as a deck to keep your tent more cleanly.
Of course, a platform is only really suited for those creating a DIY glampsite on their own property.
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best glamping tents to help you choose the best option for you.
What About Glamping in a Van or RV?
You don’t have to limit yourself to glamping in a tent - or a cabin, yurt, or treehouse.
Glamping is totally possible in an RV, trailer, van, truck - even a car - as well.
In fact, glamping originates from RV camping (at least in my mind). Folks have long been flocking to RV camping because it lets you enjoy the great outdoors while still relishing the luxuries of home.
Or, maybe you’re ready to pull the trigger and buy your very own RV? We’ve also put together a comprehensive guide to buying an RV so you make sure to get your moneys worth.
But just because you don’t have an RV doesn’t mean you cant go vehicle glamping! A camper van is nearly just as luxurious. Check out our top van camping hacks to turn any old van into a seriously luxurious camping machine.
It’s also completely possible to camp in the back of just about any car. Of course, hatchbacks, SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans offer the most space. But I’ve seen people camping in a Prius - even camping in a Honda Fit.
When it comes to vehicle glamping, your options are truly endless - you just need a little motivation and creativity to make it work.
Find the Best Glamping Destinations!
At Beyond The Tent, we’re dedicated to providing the best glamping resources online.
Check out our full list of glamping resources and make sure to check back often - we have several best glamping state guides in the works.
Coming up soon are best glamping guides for Utah, Georgia, Colorado, New York, and Tennessee - even more will follow.
Still have questions about glamping? Or want a recommendation for your neck of the woods?
Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below.
- About the Author
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Since 2015, Jake has been the technical heart behind our in-depth content. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, he’s the one you’ll find crafting extensive gear reviews and detailed camping guides. With a decade of outdoor writing under his belt, Jake brings the beauty of the Sawtooth Mountains and his beloved Cascade and Olympic ranges right to your screen.