- Lesli Peterson For the AJC
Communing with Mother Nature is always moving, but sleeping outside on the ground might not be so exciting. If you want to wander the woods and experience a campfire, but hate the thought of pitching a tent then here are eight alternatives that will have you rethinking what it means to camp. There's even a term for it: Glamping
Yurts at Georgia State Parks. It's not a cabin; it's not a tent...it's something in between. Georgia State Parks offers yurts at six locations, all of them north of Macon. You'll still have to make evening restroom escapes wearing your skivvy's, but bunk beds, canvas and wood walls and ceiling fans make up for it.
Teepees at North Georgia Canopy Tours. Far from roughing it, these teepees offer amenities the Native Americans never dreamed of: heating and air conditioning, electric outlets, lighting and mattresses. While you're there, take a stroll through the treetops, Tarzan-style. The ziplines cover two bridges, at least two nature walks and more. Rent a GoPro for the ultimate souvenir.
A treehouse in Buckhead. Forget childhood treehouses; this is more like Swiss Family Robinson-meets-boho-chic. Three treehouses connect with rope-bridges. In the living room hangs a gorgeous chandelier, with a view of the woods. The candle-filled bedroom sleeps two, with a platform overlooking the stream. Finally, the deck is perfect for taking wine in the hammock. The price is steep and the waitlist is long, but the indulgence is well worth it.
Luxury sleeping tents at The Martyn House. Bright colors, an open floor plan and elegant bedding make the tents at The Martyn House unmatched for true glamping. Heating and fans keep you comfortable, and each tent comes with its own private bath, including on-demand hot water and composting toilet. Each tent includes a deck with chairs overlooking the woods. Massages can be arranged, as well as a candlelight dinner for two.
Conestoga wagons at The Rock Ranch. Wrangle the family for a night of fun in a Conestoga wagon. Your retreat includes sleeping for eight in mattress-covered bunks, lanterns, everything you need for a campfire, port-a-potties and drinking water. Additional fees can buy you a storyteller, or a hot dog dinner. Visit during special days at The Rock Ranch for even more fun, like train rides, zip lines, paddleboats and more.
A dome tent in the Appalachian Mountains. Relax in an over-sized dome tent, complete with a bathtub and telescope. Up to four guests can share three beds in this uniquely decorated escape. A private bath and outdoor shower are available, as well as a deck for relaxing. Only a short drive from Carter's Lake, visitors can escape in nature with hiking and canoeing.
An Airstream experience near Ellijay. This camping adventure is old-school done right. Slumber away in an Airstream camper, with beds and bathrooms, but that's not even the fun part. This adventure sits on an Alpaca farm, with bunnies, alpaca, chickens and more. When you're rested, star-gaze around the fire pit or walk along the trout streams with a glass of Bordeaux.
Bunks at Len Foote Hike Inn. Hike five miles into the forest for an unforgettable experience. At the end of your hike, come upon the Hike Inn where guests stay in bunkhouses, dine family style with other hikers and enjoy a relaxing time in the Sunrise Room. Don't miss a tour of the property to learn about Star Base, composting worms and other activities. A gentle drum wakes you in the morning. Sleep through it, or rise early to see the sun come up over the mountain.