An old Christmas carol muses there is no place like home for the holidays. Those interested in broadening their definition of home to include the great outdoors, however, may want to consider giving their immediate or extended family the gift of a potentially life-changing winter vacation. In these settings, trees do not need to be cut down, there are far fewer distractions, more goodwill toward all men, and just enough luxury and pampering to make this year’s Christmas or Hanukkah a gift that will keep giving for years.
Glamping, a term fusing the rustic appeal of a specific outdoor destination with luxury amenities and resort-style perks, has long been associated with adult couples’ travel. However, several camps and destinations expanded their appeal through unusual lodging (geodesic domes, yurts, tiny homes, etc.) and age-inclusive activities to create an investment trip blending elements of educational experiences, healthier (but still festive) dining, multigenerational bonding and unforgettable immersions into new outdoor settings and cultures.
Fireside Resort, situated in Wyoming’s deep woods yet minutes from Jackson Hole, weaves the amenities of a luxury boutique hotel with the atmosphere of a wooded campground and homesteader cabin lodging rooted in the spirit of the Old West, outfitted with cozy fireplaces, full kitchens, private furnished decks and outdoor fire pits. Other potential guests to your holiday festivities may include moose, elk, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles and deer.
The American Prairie Reserve in Montana connects what will be the largest nature reserve (3.5 million acres) in the lower 48 states. At the heart of it, APR’s Kestrel Camp offers five yurt-style luxury suites set around a central lounge and dining room serving chef-prepared meals, as well as a safari-style experience with special access to tour the reserve’s ecosystem with personal naturalists explaining how the inception of this reserve will facilitate habitat and species restoration.
During Adventure Life’s High Deserts of Bolivia & Chile tour, lively conversations are sure to surface between travelers as they explore the extreme geography of Lake Titicaca, mountains, canyons, lagoons and Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt desert in the world. The pinnacle of the glamping endeavor here is the Kachi Lodge dome, offering the comfort of a luxury hotel room and festive dining on the salt flats at the foot of Tunupa Volcano, at an altitude of 11,800 feet.
On the Namibia Under Canvas tour, climb the sand dunes of Sossusvlei, explore the coastal city of Swakopmund, marvel at the natural wonders of Damaraland and search for wildlife in Etosha National Park. Return each night to a camp like Sossus Under Canvas, where tents are protected from the elements by natural stone walls and roofs built from recycled oil drums, and furnishings are made of recycled metal and wood. The camp is virtually invisible from any distance and has a low environmental footprint.
Those considering giving their family the gift of travel to enjoy after the holidays may want to consider the Ponoi River in Russia as a destination. This camp, open May to October, offers some the world’s best Atlantic salmon fishing. At Ryabaga Camp, guests enjoy their own cabin with queen beds and en-suite bathroom with hot water, electricity and internet (email access). Gourmet, chef-prepared meals are served in the Big Tent, the camp’s social hub. For a true wilderness location, Ryabaga Camp stands alone with its level of service and accommodations.
Go Glamping in Yeats Country
On a camping expedition in Sligo, Ireland, hike the breathtaking lakes, mountains, beaches and waterfalls that once inspired many of the great works of the Nobel Prize-winning writer W. B. Yeats. As the sun sets, hop in a kayak for a nighttime paddle on the Lake Isle of Inisfree to a private island. Leap onto the sand where a forested paradise awaits, along with a night of glamping in one of the world’s premier stargazing destinations. But first, enjoy wood-fired pizzas al fresco, while a local expert shares the tales and legends of the area.
Niagara Parks Power Station offers visitors a unique, interactive experience. Located on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, the once-dormant power station features all-day attractions where visitors learn how the hydropower station used the power of Niagara Falls to generate electricity.
Although some people consider Virginia Beach a summer destination, it thrives in the fall as well. This autumn, Virginia Beach is pulling out all the stops to become a prime destination for the season. Check out the list of offerings.
Through Oct. 15, Key West Attractions Association spearheads the Kids Free Florida Keys program, offering free admission and opportunities for children age 12 and younger. Parents, grandparents, extended families and their kiddos can explore Florida Keys attractions, tours, watersports and more with this value-added program.
Sign the family up for a volunteer project while on vacation to create new memories, help others and make the world a better place. Consider one of these organizations for your next family vacation.