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.
A camping trip in a national park or other area away from city lights is a perfect opportunity to enjoy the wonders of the night sky. Children living in cities rarely have a chance to see the myriad of stars that fill the sky, so stargazing can be a new experience to enrich your family travels. These tips will make stargazing fun — and a learning experience as well.
YOUR SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT FAMILY VACATION ENDS HERE
It’s time to start dreaming of your next family trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Seoul, South Korea, with us.
Add a touch of education, but make it fun, to family travel at WonderWorks Myrtle Beach. Your kids will avoid the summer slide and keep up with their learning, all while having a good time. WonderWorks is indoors, allowing people to visit no matter the weather; dubbed “an amusement park for the mind” the whole family will head home having learned something new.
Embark on a family journey through The Last Frontier with Celebrity Cruises® and experience an unforgettable luxury vacation in the untouched natural beauty of Alaska. The breathtaking landscape of this pristine wilderness sets the stage for every memorable moment from up-close, awe-inspiring views of glaciers to observing native wildlife, including whales, bears, bald eagles, and moose. This corner of the world offers not only spectacular scenery, but also opportunities to learn about the history and culture of Alaska — from the native people who’ve lived here for centuries to the adventurers seeking their fortunes during the gold rush. No matter which sailing you choose, you’ll journey through the ever-popular Inside Passage — one of the most popular experiences on any Alaska vacation — and visit Hubbard Glacier or Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier.
Family travelers and fans of nature and the great outdoors must try Skunk Train’s newest offering, Hike to the Glen. Following the railroad tracks, hikers walk through Pudding Creek into the untouched redwood groves, previously only accessible via the Skunk Train or its railbikes.