Next-Level Camp

Next-Level Camp: These novel stays offer the fun of camping and creature comforts
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Glam Camping - From pimped out yurts and chic geodesic domes to tree houses, airstreams, and safari tents, glamping in WNC takes outdoor immersion to a whole new level

Trail Mix
On a campground situated on 15 acres about 20 minutes north of downtown Asheville, along with a few satellite rentals in the surrounding area, Asheville Glamping has a variety of adorable rentals, including a vintage airstream, beautifully appointed safari-style tents, geodesic domes, and even a quaint tree house accessible via two rope suspension bridges. All the units have AC, and some have heat. Some even have electricity and a hot tub. Bathrooms? Some come with them, while others use a shared bathhouse. If you have a large party, book Dome 3, which with 1,300 square feet has partitioned spaces, including a loft and a spiral slide.

Retro Aesthetic
Savvy Instagramers will have a heyday at Junebug Retro Resort in Weaverville, where a fleet of 10 souped-up, vintage campers provide ample inspiration for snapping away. The campers, most of which are from the 1950s to early ’60s era, sleep two to five people depending and are often booked out to wedding parties most weekends. All but one camper has its own bathroom; some have showers. But fear not, the shared bathhouse has subway tile showers, AC, and a sound system for musical enjoyment. The 50-acre property also has hiking trails, fire pits, a playground, hammocks strung across the creek, and a tree house for communal hangs.

Top-notch Tents
The 6,000-acre Bent Creek Experimental Forest is a gem of outdoor recreation in Asheville. The forest, which abuts the excellent North Carolina Arboretum, contains some 30 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, as well as Lake Powhatan Recreation Area at its center. The lovely mountain lake is popular for fishing, swimming (there’s a beach with a lifeguard in the summer), and lakeside camping. While there are regular campsites you can reserve through, Pisgah Glamping has 12, custom-designed canvas platform tents for rent. They come with queen-size beds and linens, a foldable cot, extra floor space for sleeping bags, and a charging station for electronics. The bathhouse is separate but does have hot showers.

Well Rounded
It’s hard to say what’s more exciting at Sky Ridge Yurts: the yurts themselves or their close proximity to the whitewater fun at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, mountain biking at Tsali, or the offerings in quaint Bryson City and Great Smoky Mountains National Park just beyond. One could argue it could be the yurts. Traditional homes of Mongolian nomads, these round structures (usually set upon wooden platforms) are recognizable due to their accordion lattice walls and impervious canvas exterior. Sky Ridge’s round houses do indeed feel more like houses, with partitioned rooms, comfy beds, central AC and heat, kitchens, full baths, washer and dryer, private decks and grills, mountain views, and even Wi-Fi and satellite TV.

Super Domes
Unlike many of the other geodesic domes you can stay in, the two available to rent in Chimney Rock through Blue Ridge Glamping are fully plumbed, with a kitchenette and full bathroom. AC? Check. Wi-Fi? Check. Dome 1 even has an attached deck with a hot tub and bar seating, as well as a gas fireplace/heater, wood floors, and a king-size memory foam bed. But to nab one of these beauties, which are super close to the state park and Lake Lure, be prepared to book well in advance; to say these dome houses are popular is an understatement. They are also only for couples. and Airbnb  

Photographs by Meg Reilley Photography; by Karena Dixon Photography; courtesy Asheville Glamping & Adventure Pisgah; Sky Ridge Yurts by Amelia Winchester; courtesy of Blue Ridge Glamping