Airstreams, cabooses and teepees, oh my! Here’s our guide to glamping KOA-stylePut your own glamorous spin on the camping experience
By Anna Hider
Glamping; some people love it, others think it defeats the purpose of camping entirely. What few realize, though, is that it can take many forms. “Glam camping” doesn’t have to mean gourmet s’mores hand-roasted for you by an expensive, all-inclusive resort’s butler (although that does sound pretty nice.) It can also mean you still get to rough it a bit, making campfires beneath the stars and having a chance to get away from your laptop and those constant work emails… but, you know, with a bed and a bathhouse only a few steps away.
If you’re looking for the glamping experience that the whole family can enjoy, look no further than your friendly neighborhood KOA. Some of their campgrounds offer unique accommodations that put a totally one-of-a-kind spin on the concept of cabin camping. Plus, the other amenities that come along with staying at a KOA (pools, laundry, WiFi) mean you’ll never be without the comforts of home.
Is there anything more awesome than a night camping out in a vintage Airstream? Especially when it means you can reap the benefits of staying in one without investing in an RV 😉 The Airstreams are perfect for anyone who wants to rough it a bit, but still wants some of the comforts of home. They feature electricity and comfy beds so you don’t have to sleep on the ground. Some (but not all, mind you) even come with full bathrooms and partial kitchens! Find them in beachy locales like Florida’s Sugarloaf Key / Key West KOA Holiday, California’s Santa Cruz / Monterey Bay KOA Holiday or Maine’s Bar Harbor / Oceanside KOA, as well as at the Carbondale / Crystal River KOA Holiday in Colorado and the Eureka Springs KOA in Arkansas.
Sleeping in a caboose isn’t just for hobos anymore! The cabooses offered at KOAs are historic cars from train lines like the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe, the Louisville & Nashville and the Boston & Main, and have all been renovated to be pretty swanky inside. Some can sleep up to 6 people, and most have at least half-baths included. It’s a totally unique experience that you won’t find most other places, so take advantage at the Mount Pleasant / Charleston KOA Holiday, the Oregon Dunes KOA Holiday, South Carolina’s Point South / Yemassee KOA Journey, the St Louis West / Historic Route 66 KOA, or the Twin Mountain / Mt. Washington KOA Holiday in New Hampshire.
Though a teepee may conjure images of camping out in the days before electricity, KOA’s teepees come fully equipped. Almost all of the Sioux-inspired structures feature electricity and come furnished, which sets the glamping scene perfectly. Just bring some linens! Some teepees even come with bonus amenities like mini-fridges or porches as well. Teepees can be found at many KOAs across the country. Here’s a map of where you can find them!
Yurts are pretty similar to teepees, but are Mongolian in origin. The round structures were super portable for nomads on the steppes of Central Asia. The yurts at KOA can come furnished, with skylights, windows, cable TV, and even electricity, AC and/or heat! Find them at the Bay Center / Willapa Bay KOA Journey in Washington, Utah’s Bear Lake / Trail Side KOA Journey, the Higgins Lake / Roscommon KOA in Michigan, Virginia’s Luray KOA Holiday and Williamsburg / Busch Gardens Area KOA, and Ohio’s Shelby / Mansfield KOA Resort.
There’s a yurt at the Deerpark / New York City NW KOA that can sleep up to nine people, and includes a full bath and partial kitchen, and a party yurt at the Santa Margarita KOA in California that you can reserve as an event space for up to 50 guests.
Also called “Deluxe Tent”, a “glamping tent”, a “canvas tent”, or a “safari tent”, these give you the closest feeling of actually camping, minus the setup and plus furniture and electricity. You can find them in California at the Barstow / Calico KOA, the Lake Isabella / Kern River KOA, the San Diego Metro KOA, the Ventura Ranch KOA Holiday; in Utah at the Bear Lake / Marina Side KOA and the Panguitch KOA; in Colorado at the Royal Gorge / Canon City KOA and the Buena Vista KOA Journey; and at the Lake Placid / Whiteface Mountain KOA in New York, the Ludington East / Pere Marquette River KOA in Michigan and the Sturgeon Falls KOA Holiday in Ontario, Canada.