Photo: The Dyrt camper Slava C.

The Most Noteworthy Glamping Experiences in the US and Beyond

by Mike Wollschlager Jul 7, 2023

First it was yurts. Then restored Airstreams. Now it’s a king-size bed overlooking a river bend or a mirror space pod in the desert. The idea of what glamping can be continues to expand, with a growing list of seemingly limitless possibilities.

With a 10 percent increase last year, glamping seems to just get more and more popular. As it does, the lines between a luxury accommodation and camping continue to blur. And glamping hosts are getting increasingly creative with their offerings.

The second annual Glampy Awards from camping booking and info app The Dyrt recognizes some of the most unusual and noteworthy glamping stays out there. It highlights some pretty glamorous places to sleep outside in the US and we rounded up some additional options worldwide.

Smoky Mountain Mangalista

Photo: Smoky Mountain Mangalista

Out-of-sight sites

Space Cowboys in Texas, close to the Mexican border near Big Bend National Park, topped this year’s Glampys. The 10-acre glampground features a mirror space pod on a volcanic hill surrounded by meteor rocks with 360-degree views.

If that king-size bed on the river bend sounded inviting, it belongs to the No. 4 glampground on the list. Smoky Mountain Mangalitsa in western North Carolina is a 95-acre pig farm (Mangalitsa is a Hungarian breed of domestic pig) situated along the Pigeon River. This glamping setup is perched on a large deck, which also includes a hammock, that protects the highly erodible stream bank. Bonus points for the bed’s headboard being crafted from tobacco sticks found on the farm.

A couple of the other standouts on the top 10 list are 105 West Ranch in Colorado, which sits at an elevation of 10,000 feet in the shadow of Pikes Peak, and River Island Adventures in South Carolina, which has a 48-acre private island where glampers compete in Survivor-style challenges — a perfect example of the experience being paramount.

Last year’s winners in the inaugural Glampys are just as impressive. Boone Cocoon in North Carolina featured cocoon treehouses suspended above the forest floor. Goldie the Caboose is an old Duluth Missabe Iron Rail car in the woods of Minnesota. And The Blueberry Patch in New York is a yurt in the Catskill Mountains located on, you guessed it, a blueberry farm.

Glamping around the world

airship glamping location in scotland

Photo: Airbnb

We hope you love the spaces we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay.

The Dyrt is a great resource for campgrounds and glampgrounds in the US, but what if I want to take my glamping international? Airbnb has seemingly unlimited domicile options, with everything from mansions and castles to barns and A-frames. A you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it section worth a browse is the “OMG!” category.

AirShip2 is a cylindrical aluminum pod with porthole windows in Drimnin, Scotland. One end of the pod has a completely glass wall from floor to ceiling. It sits on four acres of land with views across the Sound of Mull toward Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, and out to sea toward Ardnamurchan Point.

Airbnb also has a snow igloo with a double bed in Pelkosenniemi, Finland. If you consider warmth part of the glamour side of camping, then maybe this isn’t for you. But if you ever built a snow fort when you were a kid and wished you could just live in it, then this is definitely for you. Bonus: a stay in the igloo includes 24-hour access to a warm house with all the amenities.

If you ever wanted to know what it’s like to live inside a Bob Ross painting, book a stay at the Birdbox in Forde, Norway. The box is perched on a hill overlooking Blegja and the Førdefjord mountain range. The wall of the birdbox overlooking the fjord has a large circular window that resembles a camera lens from the outside. Appropriate, considering how many photos you’ll be taking when you stay here.

Hipcamp has some noteworthy glamping options in Australia such as Bald Rock Station trains in Tenterfield, which are two 1970s Melbourne metro trains that are, ironically, off the grid. They each have three bedrooms and a huge fireplace.

Keeping with the transportation theme, Artisans Park in Turondale has turned a red, 1949 London double-decker bus and a mountain overlook into one of the most unique farm stays in the world. The lower deck houses the kitchen and bathroom and the upper deck is for the bedroom. There’s also an outside deck, which serves as, well, a deck.

The next spot is considered the birthplace of Australia’s hippie movement and was home to the famous Aquarius Festival of the early 1970s. And the party’s still going. The Rainforest Farm in Tuntable Creek has The Patti (a 1965 retro caravan named after rocker Patti Smith) and The Rainforest Hut, which is a hand-built A-frame cabin. Extras included are yoga, vision boarding and Hippie High Tea parties.

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