5 places to go glamping in Virginia - TravelMole


5 places to go glamping in Virginia

Saturday, May 13, 2023 0

 

As the campfire dies down, an evening chill settles over Central Virginia. I step into my tepee, but a few camp chores remain before bed: I still need to power down the TV, adjust the thermostat, and flip off the lights.

 

Only then can I call it a night at Sandy River Outdoor Adventures outside Farmville, where a half dozen tepees welcome overnight guests. The cone-shaped vinyl tents have heated floors, Wi-Fi, walk-in showers, and comfy king-size beds. In short, nobody’s roughing it here.

 

That’s the joy of glamping. From safari tents and cabooses to tepees and yurts, glamping accommodations offer travelers the opportunity to vacation in natural settings and still stay in comfortable—or even luxurious—digs. But despite the trappings, glamping, at heart, is about enjoying the outdoors.

 

“It bridges the gap between campers and non-campers,” says Sandy River owner Mark Smith. “Our customers are looking for a deeper connection with friends and family, and are tired of the same old concrete jungle,” he says. “This is a movement toward a deeper connection with Mother Earth and getting closer to what really feels right.”

 

Here are 5 places to try glamping in Virginia.

 

1. Sandy River Outdoor Adventures

 

Rice, Virginia

 

Sandy River Outdoor Adventures patio

 

 

Relax on the patio at Sandy River Outdoor Adventures in Rice, Virginia. Photo by Larry Bleiberg

 

Smith’s 24-acre retreat near the center of the state is convenient to Farmville, with shopping, restaurants, and access to the 31-mile High Bridge Trail, which gets its name from a historic crossing over the Appomattox River. Smith also owns a bike-rental shop, making it easy for guests to pedal the linear state park that follows a former railroad right-of-way.

 

But there’s really no reason to leave the “glamp grounds.” During the day, guests can lounge at a pool or challenge themselves at the park’s adventure course with dozens of zip lines and rope bridges. There’s also kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing on a nearby reservoir.

 

Inside a Sandy River Outdoor Adventures tepee

 

 

The tepees at Sandy River Outdoor Adventures outside Farmville have heated floors, Wi-Fi, walk-in showers, and king-size beds. Photo by Larry Bleiberg

 

Come evening, things get more cushy: Sip a cocktail or flights of bourbon at the on-site distillery. Back at camp, each tepee has its own fire ring and picnic table, a comfortable spot for stargazing and quiet conversation. In the mornings, guests can stop by a chicken coop and pick up freshly laid eggs to cook back at their tepee’s microwave or over a campfire.

 

Smith got the idea to open a glamping resort when he moved to the area 25 years ago and built his own tepee. “I remember waking up in it thinking: It would really be nice if there was air-conditioning, a bathroom, and a kitchen in here.” The tents vary in configuration, with room for 4 to 7 guests. Rates start at $199; pets are not allowed in the teepees, but they are allowed in cabins at $50 per pet.

 

You may also like: 7 places where the art scene is flourishing in Richmond, Virginia

 

2. Rose River Farm

 

Syria, Virginia

 

A luxury yurt in a field at Rose River Farm

 

 

Enjoy the luxury yurts and Shenandoah Mountain views at Rose River Farm. Photo courtesy Rose River Farm

 

At Rose River Farm, located just outside Shenandoah National Park, guests can escape daily life in a luxury yurt. These 3 roomy structures with 17-foot-high ceilings each offer 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, comfortable leather furniture, and Shenandoah Mountain views. There’s also air-conditioning and heating.

 

Owner Doug Dear was inspired to build the yurts when he saw similar structures on a fly-fishing trip in Patagonia. “We could have had the same log cabins you see everywhere, but I thought these were just super cool.”

 

The yurts are a few miles from the trailhead to Shenandoah’s most famous peak, Old Rag. An easier hike on forest roads leads to Rapidian Camp, the mountain retreat established in 1929 by President Herbert Hoover. It’s also a quick drive to DuCard Vineyards, where yurt guests can get a discount on tastings.

 

But the biggest appeal is much closer: the trout streams of Rose River. Guests can book private fly-fishing lessons from the banks of the pristine waterway, which is home to 4 types of trout. Cabins are $275 per night; no pets allowed.

 

You may also like: 5 beautiful historic gardens in Virginia to visit now

 

3. Getaway Shenandoah/Getaway Shenandoah North

 

Stanardsville and Bayse, Virginia

 

Woman standing outside a tiny cabin

 

 

Getaway’s tiny cabins tucked into the forest offer comfort and modern amenities. Photo courtesy Getaway

 

The camping communities of Getaway Shenandoah feature dozens of sleek, modern cabins tucked away in the forest. The homes, which look like stylized shipping containers, pack all the comforts of home into 140 to 200 square feet. A queen bed next to a large window makes guests feel like they’re waking up in the woods, and some cabins have an additional queen bunk.

 

Designed to maximize space, the cozy interior includes a kitchen with a 2-burner stove, running water, and a bathroom. The cabins have heating and air-conditioning, and feature a private picnic table and fire ring.

 

Inside a Getaway guest room

 

 

The tiny homes at Getaway have heating and air-conditioning, as well as a kitchen with a sink and a 2-burner stove and a bathroom. Photo courtesy Getaway

 

Getaway Shenandoah, about 30 miles north of Charlottesville, spreads 45 tiny homes across 80 acres. The company’s newest addition, Getaway Shenandoah North, located north of Harrisonburg, has 42 cabins on 47 acres. Each site includes a nature trail where you may encounter white-tailed deer, red foxes, cardinals, and maybe even a black bear.

 

Both properties are so serious about encouraging guests to disconnect that they provide a lockbox to hide your cellphone during your visit. Rates start at $109; dogs are permitted for a $50 fee.

 

You may also like: Ashland, Virginia, is one of the nation’s best train-watching spots

 

4. Virginia State Parks yurts

 

14 locations

 

First Landing State Park yurts

 

 

The Virginia State Parks rental yurts at First Landing State Park are among more than 50 across the state. Photo by Emanuel Tanjala / Alamy Stock Photo

 

From the Eastern Shore to the Kentucky border, Virginia State Parks offers more than 50 rental yurts. The Commonwealth was one of the first state park systems to add the shelters, which debuted in 1998. Unlike other glamping options, these yurts are pretty basic. As the park system’s website puts it, the yurts “offer the halfway point between tent camping and staying in a full-service cabin.”

 

The shelters, which are lined with latticed wood strips, are a step up from a tent. They have wood floors, kitchen tables and chairs, decks, and outdoor seating. Guests use a shared campground bathhouse and must bring their own sleeping bags or bed linens and towels.

 

Some of the most popular yurts are at Shenandoah River State Park near Front Royal and at Natural Tunnel State Park in Southwest Virginia. Yurt 1 at Kiptopeke State Park on the Chesapeake Bay has air-conditioning, heating, and electricity. Prices start at $75 for Virginia residents and $88 for nonresidents. Pets are not allowed in the yurts, but cabins are available where they can stay for an extra fee.

 

You may also like: 9 surprising adventures in Virginia state parks

 

5. Grassy Creek Cabooses

 

Fancy Gap, Virginia

 

Grassy Creek Caboose

 

 

Have you ever wanted to sleep in a caboose? You can do just that at Grassy Creek Cabooses near the Blue Ridge Parkway, close to wineries, hiking paths, and scenic sites. Photo by Donnie Yow

 

For another take on glamping, the Grassy Creek Cabooses near the Blue Ridge Parkway offer a chance to sleep in a caboose. The 1-bedroom, 1-bath cars are a nostalgic getaway for rail fans, but they include amenities like heating and air-conditioning. Two of the cars even have hot tubs.

 

Each caboose includes a kitchenette, satellite TV, and a charcoal grill. Decks with oversize rockers offer sunset views, while nighttime brings dark skies for stargazing.

 

Located in a high meadow at 2,700 feet above sea level, the grounds offer guests glimpses of deer, wild turkeys, and the occasional bear passing through the surrounding pine and laurel thickets.

 

The cabooses are close to wineries, hiking paths, and scenic sites like the parkway’s Mabry Mill. Mount Airy, North Carolina, the inspiration for the town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show, is just 30 minutes away. Prices start at $99. Pets are allowed for a $20 flat fee.

 

By Charlottesville-based writer Larry Bleiberg.  Courtesy of  AAA Tidewater Virginia.



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