How to Turn Your Camping Trip Into a Glamping Trip

Looking to step up your camping game this season? Check out these easy-to-implement ideas that will make your time sleeping outside feel like a luxury getaway!

A camping teepee on a lake surrounded by mountains and trees.

Photo by Tim Peterson 

Published on

Summer is right around the corner and the internet is buzzing with epic trip ideas. No need for a luxury cabin or expensive retreat though—some of the best memories are made by camping with family and friends. This year, up your game and create a unique outdoor oasis in Mother Nature with these tried-and-true glamping tips!

What Is Glamping, You Ask?

Great question. Glamping is taking your love of the outdoors and combining it with the comforts of home. Imagine sleeping under the stars all bundled up in warm, cozy bedding. Staying clean and fresh after a long day exploring the area. Cooking up your favorite hot meals for some of your favorite people—even enjoying them from some of your favorite fancy dishes. As more people seek solace away from it all in the great outdoors, you’ll find ideas popping up everywhere for 'glamorous camping.' Below are a few of our favorites!

Sleep in Style

Woman in a hat drinking something and eating some food outside of a tent.

Photo by Lucija Ros

First, take stock of what you already own. Will your tent comfortably fit your family, pets, and plans this year? If you’re looking to upgrade, consider buying a reasonably priced traditional style, but one that’s oversized. This way you can bring more cozy amenities from home, or just have more space to stay organized. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, check out a safari-style, canvas bell tent or teepee.

The beautiful aesthetic of canvas glamping tents offer a cozy and comfortable vibe, while taller sidewalls and high ceilings will also feel more like home. From window-filled, open-air designs to layouts with separate rooms, you’re sure to find one that will accommodate your needs—even some that fit king-sized beds! No matter which option you choose, learning how to sleep comfortably in a tent will make every trip feel a little bit more like home!

If you’re sticking to what you own, pull everything out and give it a good clean. Sweep it out, repair any mesh holes, and finish by wiping it down with your favorite fresh-scent, natural cleanser. Bring your comfy bedding and extra pillows; spritz with lavender or cedarwood essential oil. Hang a camp-friendly, tea-light chandelier or lantern from the center loop, and stack a few books on either side of your air mattress for late-night reading. Stuff your eye mask and earplugs in an interior pocket for easy access and prepare to slip into your coziest camp sleep yet!

Morning Routine

A bowl of yogurt and blueberries and granola.

Photo by Dan Counsell

Ready to watch the sunrise? Head to your screened-in porch ‘cafe’ and enjoy a bug-free coffee or breakfast to start the day. Leave the typical instant oats or protein bars behind—glamping is all about treating yourself! Think bed-and-breakfast style: granola and berries from the local market, fresh-ground coffee with bread and jam. Consider taking a slightly fancier set of dishes for your meals, too! Keep this area tidy, with all food stored safely from critters so you have a clean space for meal prep later in the day.

Soap, a brush, and towels.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska 

Next up, skip the campground bathrooms and enjoy your own nice hot shower with a portable solar system. A small, foldable table will keep your towels handy and a wooden outdoor mat offers a slip-resistant platform to stand on. Bring your favorite soaps from home, hang a small mirror from the nearest tree branch, and treat yourself to a eucalyptus spritz post-shower for an invigorating start to the day.

Skip the Tourist Traps

A hot springs with mountains and a field in the background.

Photo by Levan Badzgaradze

Choosing a location with lesser-known attractions, such as a tucked-away natural hot spring, can elevate your trip to a whole new level. Find a spring that requires hiking at least a few miles off the beaten path to avoid crowds. Pack in a portable speaker and a few cold ones, sit back, and take in the surroundings in nature's ready-made hot tub. Olympic Hot Springs in Washington or Umpqua in Oregon are a few notable spots in the Pacific Northwest, but there are endless options elsewhere in the country to get out and explore!

Make Meals Memorable

A table with candles and plates and utensils. The table is outside.

Photo by Anastasua Shuraeva 

Arguably, the best part of camping is enjoying a delicious meal after a long day of outdoor adventures. Make dinnertime special by setting up your workstation overlooking the best view from your campsite. Be thoughtful in your table decor with pinecones and stones, native flowers, or even things the kiddos found while exploring the area. Take your meal prep nice and slow, then cook over the fire dutch-oven style while you relax by the campfire. Pour your favorite beverage, light some candles, and enjoy a beautiful dinner with your favorite people. Who knew camping could be so boujee?

Create a Vibe

A person sits in a camp chair outside with a projector on a screen. There are lights and blankets around.

Photo by Li Yang

The day has ended and the kids are worn out; it’s time to wind down in your outdoor lounge area. Scatter a mix of lanterns or solar lights around, hang a few hammocks, and strategically place camp chairs around the fire, game table, or even a portable movie screen! Keep late-night snacks and beverages within reach and light a few tea lights to complete the mood.

As the sunset marks the end of a beautiful day outdoors, you can start making plans for the rest of your trip. Below are a few more ways to enjoy your new favorite activity!

Go Off-Grid

An off grid teepee. It is nighttime and there are two men looking at stars and the teepee is lit up.

Photo by Garrick Sangil

Boondocking is gaining popularity across the country, and for good reason. There are plenty of BLM-managed ‘campsites’ that offer acres of freedom to create your own space in the wild. BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management and looks after over 247 million acres here in the United States, much of which you can camp and recreate on. No fees and generally no close neighbors—this option is perfect for large families that enjoy bringing all the toys, like dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles. There are websites dedicated to helping you find the best boondocking spots, complete with cell phone coverage, visitor reviews, and even local weather information!

Fall Camping

A blanket with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmellows. The cup is sitting on top of a book and there are leaves around.

Photo by Alisa Anton

While summer months are the most popular time to get outdoors, consider planning your trip for later in the year. In much of the U.S., early October offers mild temps and stunning fall colors with notably fewer people at campsites. Activities become more fun, too–hiking through crunchy leaves and taking photos of stunning scenery seem to make the miles fly by. Your kids will love a visit to the local pumpkin patch and bringing a few back for carving at camp!

Enjoy the cooler temps with dutch-oven hot cocoa or apple cider, and up your s'mores game with cinnamon graham crackers or pumpkin spice marshmallows. Starting the holiday season with a final glamping trip is an awesome way to get outside one last time before the long winter sets in. It might even tide you over until spring!

Rent a Travel Trailer

Two people camping with a camper. It is dawn and there is an umbrella over where they are sitting.

Photo by Blake Wisz

… or a van! Today’s rentals come equipped with everything you need for a comfortable, warm place to cook, eat, and sleep. Private bathrooms, kitchenettes, and queen beds can make even the best tent pale in comparison, not to mention you’re now a campsite on wheels. Hit multiple destinations over a week, dip into the tourist areas for the best food and local entertainment, or just hunker down at camp with your windows open by the river. It’s definitely worth spending the extra dough at least once to see what all the hype is about!

If you're looking for even more glam and less work on your end, there are endless options to create a memorable glamping experience. From Pacific Northwest tree houses to suite tents with private bathrooms, there is something for everyone who wants to experience the outdoors in a unique way. Start making your plans now—connect with one of our Camping and Hiking Experts to get all the gear you need for your best camping season yet!

Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
20+ years of camping, mountain biking, winter sports, climbing, fly fishing, backpacking, hiking and traveling - there's no place I'd rather be than outside. Here are my favorites (so far!) ​ CAMPING: Blue Mountains, Australia. HIKING: Mt Cook or Nelson, New Zealand MOUNTAIN BIKE: Moab, of course! F...

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy