Courtesy of El Capitan Canyon
Photo by Bailey Made
Whether you’re Under Canvas or in a reimagined Conestoga wagon that sleeps six, you’ll have a memorable vacation with the whole family.
In the world of family travel, there’s a big difference between “kid friendly” and “kid tolerant.” One understands the importance of a kitchenette and twin beds or bunks, and has a dedicated menu for children; the other will allow children on site with only a hint of side eye. Keeping that in mind, here are 10 of the best places to go glamping with kids in the U.S. this summer.
Book now: prices vary, elcapitancanyon.com
An easy getaway just up the coast from Los Angeles, El Capitan Canyon is a favorite of Angelenos and their kiddos. The site is surrounded by 350 acres of oak and sycamore trees but is no more than a 20-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara. Cedar cabins, with en suite bathroom, allow a multi-generational family or group to have their own spaces, but still congregate together around a private fire pit. Enjoy splashing and playing at nearby El Capitan Beach, feeding the llamas and sheep at the on-site farm, and roasting marshmallows come dusk. A swimming pool and live music on weekends are added bonuses, while the property’s market store sells everything from wine to barbecue kits.
Book now: from $125, highwaywestvacations.com
Near Santa Barbara, in the Santa Ynez Valley wine country, Flying Flags is part RV campground and part glamping resort. With canvas tents, Airsteams, and two-story trailer cabins, the property is a perfect family-friendly base for exploring the nearby wine country towns of Los Olivos and Solvang. Families will love the renovated cabins, which feature a living area, kitchenette, bathroom, and king-size bed below, as well as a loft with two twin beds above.
Enjoy meals at a dining table on the deck; some cabins also have a private fire pit. If you can tear the kids away from the on-site swimming pool, stroll the Danish village of Solvang; sample beers (and order copious amounts of fries for the kids) at Firestone Walker in Buellton; and don’t miss Full of Life Flatbread for delicious mushroom and caramelized onion pies in quaint Los Alamos, a 20-minute drive away.
Book now: from $165, mendocinogrove.com
With an enviable setting atop a coastal bluff and surrounded by redwood forest, this northern California property immerses families in nature from the moment they arrive. Of the 60 luxe canvas tents, 15 are configured for families with a queen bed and two twins. The family tents, which come with a fire pit, grill, and picnic table, are set near the contemporary bathhouse (think subway-tiled showers and EO toiletries) and the Meadow, an open space with outdoor games and a swing set. Spend the day hiking in Hendy Woods State Park or canoeing along Big River, then return to the simple pleasures of a hammock or s’mores under the stars.
By day, rent bikes from Bright Angels Bicycles and ride along the Grand Canyon’s South Rim with your crew; by evening, return to the beauty and comfort of your canvas home away from home, and catch a glimpse of a road runner speeding by. With nine locations and more on the way, Under Canvas has certainly nailed the formula for glamping success: pitch appealing tents with West Elm furnishings and en suite concrete bathrooms near national parks, and add great food and programming. The limited but tasty menu at Under Canvas Grand Canyon’s outdoor restaurant includes quesadillas, curry bowls, and burgers. Yoga, painting, and guided hikes are also on offer.
Book now: from $1,988 (inclusive of all meals and unguided activities), pawsup.com/glamping
Under the big open skies of Montana, the uber-luxe Resort at Paws Up also operates six glamping sites along the Blackfoot River. The most family-friendly of the bunch are the Moonlight, River, and new North Bank camps. The first two feature mostly two-bedroom tent configurations, while North Bank also offers three-bedroom, two-bath tents ideal for families. Each camp has a standalone dining pavilion/restaurant serving carrot-ginger soup, grilled trumpet mushrooms, and strawberry cheesecake as well as kiddie-friendly bites. While the property takes comfort and cuisine seriously, the star attraction is still the outdoors. Ride horses through wildflower-filled meadows and go white water rafting down the Alberton Gorge (class III+ rapids).
For a taste of pioneer life, consider a stay in an authentic Conestoga wagon at this northern Utah resort. Family wagons can be configured with a king-size bed and either one or two sets of bunk beds (while the bathhouse sits nearby). Or choose a family tent with king-size bed for parents, separate guest room with twin beds for kids, en suite bathroom, mini-fridge, and private fire pit and picnic table. There’s an on-site restaurant serving salads, burgers, and pizzas. Along with water activities at Bear Lake, explore the stalagmites and stalactites of Minnetonka Cave nearby.
Book now: from $1,800, double occupancy (additional $215 per child sharing tent with parents), duntondestinations.com
Up 9,000 feet in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado and with only eight tents (with soaking tubs!), Dunton River Camp feels especially intimate and secluded. Families can learn to fish or fly-fish together on the nine miles of river cutting through Dunton’s private property. You can also mountain bike using the camp’s complimentary wheels or simply feed the horses carrots with your little ones. An hour away is Mesa Verde National Park. Stays are all-inclusive of meals, alcohol, and all unguided activities.
The newest location from Autocamp, this woodsy 14-acre Cape Cod campsite gives families plenty of peace and quiet (and upscale amenities), while also putting them close to beaches, the Shining Sea bike trail, and the town of Falmouth, a seven-minute drive away. There’s the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard or picking berries at nearby Coonamessett Farms, too. Choose from tents with Tempur-pedic beds and midcentury-modern bathrooms nearby, flat screen–equipped Airstreams, or cabin-like suite setups (108 accommodations in total). Families will also appreciate the nature-inspired playground with swings and balance beams opening soon.
Book now: from $279, sandypinescamping.com
Is there a more idyllic family destination than Maine in the summer? Near fit-for-the-Kennedys Kennebunkport and bordered by a marsh, the 60-acre Sandy Pines Campground is a mix of RV and traditional camping sites as well as glamping-style accommodations. The family camp cottages, 12 in total, come with either bunk beds or trundle bed configurations, while the 9 family glamping tents feature a trundle bed or a separate 8 x 8-foot kids’ tent. Kids will love the saltwater pool and playground, plus the arts and crafts sessions on-site. Or set off for a day at Goose Rocks Beach, a mile away, and finish with rolls at nearby Nunan’s Lobster Hut.
Book now: from $119, getaway.house
The concept for Getaway came to founder Jon Staff when he turned to nature to destress from a demanding startup job. Today, the cabin outpost company has 13 locations, typically in woodsy areas, all within a two-hour drive of major cities, such as Getaway Chattahoochee, set within the Chattahoochee National Forest near Atlanta. On arrival, families will find custom-built cabins, ranging from 140 to 200 square feet, equipped with bathrooms as well as a two-burner stove, mini-fridge, and sink. (Cookware, plates, and cutlery, as well as such basics as olive oil, salt, and pepper are included.) Best of all, for each stay, Getaway plants a tree (23,000 so far and counting) through nonprofit One Tree Planted.
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