There’s a reason for the expression “folds like a cheap tent” – it’s true. The same can be said about a great deal of quality tents too, given a bit of wind, hard ground and nasty weather. So this summer, forget the extra tent bags and tarps, and pack a few bottles of pinot grigio instead (which pairs well with surroundings scattered with pine needles).
All across Canada some luxurious “glamping” (glamour + camping) can be had where the most arduous part of setup may involve unpacking the kids from the car, putting on your bathing suit or taking the cork screw and wine out of the cooler.
Here are five fine choices from coast to coast, ranging from cheap and cheerful to those that put the “glam” in glamping.
Point Wolfe Campground, New Brunswick
Located right inside Fundy National Park, just a short jaunt from the tidal flats of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve, Point Wolfe Campground is a prime location to see the astonishing tide changes and fern-studded Acadian forests. There’s also a nearby nine-hole golf course along with the charming Covered Bridge (okay, all covered bridges are charming by nature, but this one is a vibrant red adding that extra touch) which spans the Point Wolfe River.
Within Point Wolfe Campground you’ll find one of Parks Canada’s newest abodes, the water drop-shaped Goutte d’Ô (which inspired its name). Seemingly small from the outside, the interior of these structures makes the most of its circular shape (all six square metres). There’s a cargo net style storage area above the cabin floor that doubles as your kid’s new favourite bed (or your new favourite napping spot), a sofa on the main floor, and room for four to sleep.
What you will need to bring is your own sleeping bags, and perhaps an air mattress if you – like all civilized people – need a bit more under the back. Washrooms and showers are located within the campsite.
Minaki Yurt Adventures, Ontario
Located just 3 km from the Minaki Railway Station, on VIA Rail’s Canadian train route, Minaki Yurt Adventures is perched above the quaint, practically private Camp Lake (the yurts are the only structures on this small lake).
These yurts here are whimsical even by yurt standards, with charming woodsy interiors that feature everything from queen-sized beds, to sky-lit kitchens and wood or pellet stoves. On site, if your campground doesn’t already include its own barbecue, there is a wood-fired pizza oven and a charcoal grill, while the surrounding area features rock climbing, and intermediate hiking and biking trails.
The yurts range in size from sleeping two-to-four, right up to the 2,800 sq. ft., Mee-nah-kee, which sleeps 11. Bring your extended family, or plan a friends’ getaway in this three-tiered yurt that has it all: a full patio with an outdoor dining area with sound system, a large living room, a curved kitchen with a six-burner gas range, three bedrooms with queen-sized beds, two full bathrooms and two half baths, and an upright piano to boot. You can pretend it’s all about the adventure of sleeping under the stars, we won’t tell.
Les Toits du monde, Nominingue, Quebec
If you want to release your inner Baggins, you simply can’t beat the Middle Earth-like setting of les Toits du monde, located right beside north-eastern Quebec’s Lac Barrière.
Even Frodo would be awe-struck by the tree-hugging (in the most literal sense) Perched Chalet and Enchanted Chalet, the first of which is 15 feet above the ground and is accessible via rope bridge. Within this treehouse is a washroom with a shower, a quaint kitchen, and room for four.
For ground dwellers, the eco-friendly Hobbit House (actual name!) features vegetation growing on the roof, a bathroom with shower, a wood stove, and solar panel lighting. This magical land also contains a Mongolian yurt and a wood-clad teepee, both of which sleep six, while the surrounding area boasts of canoeing, Frisbee golf, whitewater rafting, an alpaca farm, a golf course, and so much more.
Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta
Canvas-walled tents with wood floors and an aesthetic that harkens to The English Patient, that’s how they glamp in Dinosaur Provincial Park. Be sure to bring your camera because the surrounding badlands are rich with colourful layers of sediment that line the surrounding hills. Plus, who knows, you just may spy one of the many giant creatures from the Cretaceous who could still be underfoot in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some of the tents are located alongside the Red Deer River, while all the units feature handmade furnishings and are shaded by stands of cotton wood trees. Each Comfort Camping tent features a queen bed with bedding, a pull-out futon that sleeps two, a barbecue, electricity and a furnished private deck. There’s a restaurant and concession onsite too. This place is pretty much the poster child for glamping.
Rock Water Secret Cove Resort, Sunshine Coast, British Columbia
Seated at the edge of the ocean, the shoreline straddling Tenthouse Suites at Rock Water Secret Cove are about as glamped-out as glamping gets. Everything about this place is sublime, from walkways that skirt across the trees, to the hydro-therapy tubs and king-sized beds in canvas rooms with ocean views – not to mention the regular appearance of passing eagles.
With a restaurant that overlooks the Georgia Strait, along with the option to book a package that includes a butler (which surely takes things to the upper limits of glamping), the resort is about as luxurious as comfort camping gets, and man, is it worth it. With everything provided for you, rest assured that you won’t need to bring anything except your charge card.
Top image: ©Les toits du monde