If winter camping brings to mind the idea of huddling in a tiny tent covered in icicles and snow drifts, think again. Or at least, shift your perspective to include the luxurious and ultimately cozy idea of winter glamping.
Winter glamping has all of the beauty of a quiet winter night without any of the discomforts. Think warm and cozy, s’mores and stars overhead. Think about being snuggled up with your favorite people, or taking the ultimate solo vacation.
Then add in no bugs, more wildlife, fewer people, and maybe a dash of the northern lights blazing in the night sky, and you have the beautiful, unique experience of winter glamping.
The Best National Forests for Winter Camping
Here are five ultimate cold-weather glamping destinations, perfect for a winter adventure.
1. Eastwind, Lake Placid, New York
When it comes to winter destinations, there are few places in the U.S. as well known as Lake Placid, New York. Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympic Games in both 1932 and 1980, and is the site of one of the most famous hockey games in history, when the U.S. Olympic team upset the Soviet Union in what is now known as the “Miracle on Ice.”
Olympic lore aside, Lake Placid is a delight in the winter. Enjoy ice skating at the Olympic Center, alpine skiing and gondola rides at Whiteface Mountain ski resort, or snowshoeing at the Olympic Sports Complex.
At night, snuggle into the glamping warmth at Eastwind, where the pet-friendly Lushna Petite glamping cabin features a king bed, bathroom, winter views through a floor-to-ceiling window, and an outdoor deck, all within walking distance to town. Eastwind offers eight glamping cabins in total, nestled along the Chubb River.
2. Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, Orderville, Utah
Zion National Park is most visited during the summer months, but its beauty doesn’t fade in the winter. Instead, those who dare to brave the chillier weather are rewarded with rare solitude and the occasional sparkling winter snowfall at this gorgeous national park. Winter is the only time of year that you can drive your personal vehicle on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive—at all other times, riding the shuttle is required.
Perched on the canyon rim above Zion lies Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort, a full-service recreation destination that offers 4,000 private acres with lodging, dining, and adventure tours. Touted as the “quiet side of Zion,” the Ranch has glamping and deluxe camping sites with a queen bed or three twin beds, a deck, table, and grill. The glamping sites open each year in March, but if you don’t want to wait that long, check out the year-round Cowboy Cabins.
Plan Your Trip to Zion National Park
3. Flamingo at the Everglades, Flamingo, Florida
Looking for somewhere a bit warmer? Head south—way south—to the snowbird favorite of Florida’s Everglades National Park. At the “end of the park road” lies Flamingo at the Everglades, a campground, marina, and adventure outfitter.
The 8 Best Locations and Campgrounds for Snowbirds
After being heavily damaged by successive hurricanes in the 1990s and early 2000s, Flamingo rebuilt its camping amenities to include an updated campground, houseboat lodging, and winter eco-tents, which are deluxe safari-style glamping tents with comfortable beds, power outlets, fans, and sweeping views of Florida Bay.
Wildlife lovers value Flamingo as a reliable spot to see manatees, crocodiles, and alligators. Active travelers won’t want to miss the chance to bike at Shark Valley or paddle one of the many canoe and kayak trails through the park. If neither of these sound like your style, you can spend your time simply basking in the beautiful views at this wild and unique national park.
4. Basecamp 550, Ridgway, Colorado
In the heart of the San Juan Valley in southwestern Colorado lies the Million Dollar Highway, a storied mountainous route that winds through the historic mining towns of Ouray and Silverton. Now known as adventure destinations, these spots are popular year-round for skiing, ice climbing, hiking, and natural hot springs.
While most campers visit the area in summer, those in the know make their way to this beautiful stretch of mountains in the winter, too, for a stay at Basecamp 550 in Ridgway. In addition to all-season campsites for RVs and tents, Basecamp 550 offers canvas glamping tents with propane fireplaces, queen beds with a heated mattress pad, a mini fridge and microwave, and comfortable seating. If the thought of tucking into the snowy landscape of Colorado in winter is too daunting, rent one of the deluxe casitas, instead.
The Ultimate Guide to Colorado’s Obscure San Luis Valley
5. Camp LeConte, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park in the U.S. This expansive park has a little something for everyone, with beautiful auto touring routes, 800 miles of hiking trails, more than 90 historic buildings, and plenty of wildlife. It’s also free to enjoy, with no entry fees into the park itself.
You may think of the Great Smoky Mountains as a summer or fall destination, but it’s spectacular in the winter, too. With no leaves on the trees, vistas open up that don’t exist in the warmer months, and the solitude that you can find in this popular park makes throwing on an extra layer of clothing worth the effort.
Make the trip extra special with a stay at Camp LeConte in Gatlinburg. This luxury outdoor resort offers all sorts of unique camping opportunities, including safari glamping tents, vintage camping trailers, and open-air treehouses. Book a winter stay in a glamping tent for up to six people and enjoy the comfortable beds and space heaters after a night of roasting s’mores at your own fire pit.
This winter, explore a new season of camping at these cozy and inviting winter glamping destinations.