Kicking Camping Up a Notch Florida Style
When the best glamping you can find, is right in your own backyard.
By Alona Abbady Martinez
Most of us have memories of camping as kids that inevitably involved cramped, stuffy tents, sleepless nights spent on uncomfortable floors, and soggy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sure, we were eight at the time so all that stuff didn’t really matter. But South Florida life, with all its comforts and luxuries, can have a way of softening up the inner child in us, so, if you’ve given up nature for, let’s say, Egyptian cotton sheets, and still long to enjoy the great outdoors, you’ll be happy to learn that glamping, the happy marriage of “glamour” and “camping” has found its way to the Sunshine State. Here are four spots that focus on luxury, comfort, and pampering, all the while providing you the opportunity to bond with the great outdoors.
Everglades Adventure Tours
Guests visiting the Trail Lakes Campground in the Everglades can enjoy either traditional tent glamping or a unique native-style Chickee Hut, an accommodation inspired by the Seminole In-dian tribe that called Florida’s swampland home. Soak in the breathtaking panoramic landscapes, diverse wildlife, and the stunning sunsets without sacrificing your Wi-Fi connection. Everglades Adventure Tours is the first company to offer private, guided eco-tours in the Western Everglades Big Cypress Region featuring the traditional pole boat method of transportation. Pole boats have been utilized throughout the years by the indigenous cultures and in later years by the Gladesmen cultural community to hunt, fish, and navigate the shallow marshes of the Florida Ever-glades. Nighttime here is a stargazer’s paradise.
Megan Langan knows all about living in nature. After all, her father was a park ranger, which means she and her brother grew up at camp-grounds. Three and a half years ago, her brother called her up. “He’s always the guy that calls with crazy ideas,” she giggles. Only this time, his idea—to create a pop-up luxury camp in Florida—made sense to Megan and her husband Josh. They started Fancy Camps, based in Grayton Beach State Park and Topsail Hill State Park, both in the panhandle area. The bell tent accommodations are elegant and pet-friendly, decorated with rugs, end tables, and cozy lighting. A fire pit and electricity are just some of the numerous amenities available to campers. The couple’s slogan, “Get out, stay comfortable and create memories that will last a lifetime,” is one they are proud to stand by, ensuring that all needs or desires of their customers are met. “We can do anything,” Megan proudly adds.
Located on the scenic Loxahatchee River, this eco retreat offers a full tour of Florida’s native plant life with access to hiking, kayaking, and canoeing. There is also an organic garden and thoughtful landscaping. Guests stay in two-bedroom up-cycled and re purposed shipping containers designed as full-service, comfortable homes. These unique dwellings include a foyer, kitchen, living and dining room, and bathroom. There are also spacious patios to relax and enjoy your morning coffee with a view. Nearby Riverbend Park is directly across the river from Headwaters, and you can spend hours paddling the historic sections of the Loxahatchee or biking the trails. Headwaters Eco Retreat values privacy and serenity without compromising on comfort.
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo
If you are nostalgic for City Slickers and crave the dude ranch experience without wanting to head West, Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo gives you a taste of being a cowboy without sacrificing cushiness. And it’s just one hour south of Orlando. Visitors will find themselves in fully furnished, air-conditioned canvas tents, each with a king-size bed and two twin beds. Guests get their own private bathroom and even better, a Personal Glamping Concierge that will cater to your every outdoor whim. Coffee, tea, and juice are delivered to your tent every morning, and the