Rustic & Real Glamping

Explore the West with elevated comfort and experience


by Kim Cooper Findling


The day dawned misty and cool, the sky blooming pink-gray over Coos Bay as it exited to the Pacific Ocean. We sipped coffee from ceramic mugs, wrapped in blankets on Adirondack chairs in front of our cozy Scandinavian-style Drift Cabin at Bay Point Landing on Oregon’s south coast. In the meadow before us, sparrows bounced from limb to ground; farther in the distance, sea birds launched from old dock timbers to soar gracefully over the bay, their caws the only break in the peaceful morning silence.

Bay Point Landing sits on the site of a long-abandoned sawmill, rehabilitated and transformed into a modern camping resort in the late 2010s. Combining comfortable lodging with outdoor living in a concept known as glamping, resorts such as Bay Point Landing allow guests to choose between various cabins, classic airstream trailers, or RV sites. All visitors benefit from a general store, a fitness center, an activity room and a glimmering indoor saltwater pool with a view of the bay.

To be here is to feel the place reclaiming its remote and marshy past; the powerful presence of Coos Bay, the wildlife roaming free, the night sky glowing and radiant. The evening before we had lit a fire and dug into the lodging’s signature s’mores kit, toasting handmade marshmallows and smashing them between gourmet graham crackers and artisan chocolates. I gazed overhead, identifying constellations, planets and the arc of the Milky Way. When the temperature dipped, and we grew weary, we retreated indoors to our perfectly outfitted cabin, complete with a kitchen, bathroom and a king size bed.

Just a few miles to the south sits Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago, rocky cliffs overlooking the vast Pacific with trails, botanical gardens and whale-watching overlooks. Inland are Coos Bay and North Bend, offering delicious seafood restaurants, craft brewpubs and the impressive Coos History Museum. The greater area is known for outdoor recreation, from fishing to hiking to ATV adventures in the Oregon Dunes. But the appeal of my glamping experience–nature and comfort in perfect balance–kept me in my chair by the bay, watching the gulls glide over the stillness as the sun lifted into the sky. See


The Vintages

Dayton, Oregon


To stay in one of the 36 stylish and glitzy restored custom trailers of The Vintages Trailer Resort in Oregon’s Willamette Valley is to step back in time to simpler days, while remaining firmly grounded in present-day amenities. Located in the heart of Oregon’s renowned wine country, The Vintages is perched on the banks of the Yamhill River, just outside of the town of Dayton, home to gourmet dining at the Joel Palmer House and Red Hills Market, with fine wine nearby at Sokol Blosser, Stoller Family Estate, Domaine Serene wineries and more. Each trailer is themed, from oasis to safari to southwestern, and decked out to the nines with custom touches. Guests have all expected amenities plus more, including a personal grill, a set of cruiser bikes, and even a large soaking tub in some. The site in the lush agricultural landscape also features a general store stocked with snacks and drinks, a club house, and fireside area with comfy lounge seating, for guests ages 21 or older. In the summer, the pool is the center of the resort, a place to kick back and catch some sun while sipping on a local rosé. Spend the day hopping from winery to winery, trying Oregon’s famous Pinot Noir, and return to this charming and oh-so-fun lodging.

Mendocino Grove

Mendocino, California


This is not your grandparents’ camping. Yes, there are tents, fire pits and a picnic table at Mendocino Grove. Yet these safari tents sit on a wooden platform with a deck and chairs; inside is a comfy bed with cotton linens and a down comforter. The 37-acre site on the Northern California coast sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and boasts 60 luxury tents. Near to each is a bathhouse offering hot showers with organic bath products and fluffy towels. Visit the commons for board games, coffee and breakfast, hammocks and that modern convenience known as Wi-Fi. Most weekend nights during summer season, live music is performed as part of their campfire series. The site is just a quarter mile away from Mendocino Village, where restaurants, galleries, shops and pubs sit in a charming seaside setting. Mendocino Headlands State Park is the best spot for scenic ocean views and beach or cliffside walks, after which guests can retreat back to their perfect little camping spot in the woods. Mendocino Grove is open seasonally May through November, and reservations fill up fast at this idyllic glamping location in one of the prettiest places in the United States.

Pampered Wilderness

Tenino, Washington


In a lovely wood in western Washington state, south of Puget Sound, discover the glamping destination Pampered Wilderness. Six canvas cabins in the style of safari suites sit tucked into a campground in the heart of Millersylvania State Park, a region rich with history. Millersylvania, which means wooded glade, reflects its name in the large stands of old-growth cedar and fir trees that make up the 903-acre park. Originally a homestead, Millersylvania was gifted to the state in 1921; in 1935, park buildings were constructed almost entirely by hand by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, the park offers numerous trails as well as swimming, kayaking, fishing and canoeing on the clear waters of Deep Lake. This is the place for guests who truly want to retreat into the woods and experience the classic Pacific Northwest wilderness without leaving the comforts of the city behind. Pampered Wilderness’s tents are fashioned in themes from modern wilderness to shabby chic to Western charm. Each tent has a comfortable bed as well as a grill, mini-fridge and microwave, and a porch with chairs from which one can relax in the forested scene. When ready for civilization again, guests venture to the nearby town of Tenino for wine tasting, antique shops and a visit to the Tenino Depot Museum and the historical Tenino Stone Company Quarry, now a summertime public swimming pool. Pampered Wilderness is open seasonally April through October.

Under Canvas Glacier

Glacier, Montana


How does it sound to sleep in a treehouse tent in the wilderness against the rugged backdrop of the Rocky Mountains? Under Canvas Glacier, located just seven miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park in Montana, offers an upscale outdoor experience to remember for a lifetime. Designed to mirror the surrounding wilderness, Under Canvas Glacier offers lofted treehouse canvas tents as well as safari-inspired suite tents equipped with ensuite bathrooms, plush king-size beds and wood-burning stoves. Grills and picnic areas, fire pits and on-site dining help at mealtimes; complimentary activities include live music, kids activities, yoga and more. Under Canvas has several other locations in the United States, all near national parks. What better way to cozy up after a day spent exploring the great outdoors and our national treasures?

Kim Cooper Findling is the publisher of Dancing Moon Press and creative director of the Oregon Coast Visitors Association. She is author of eight books, including Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day Trips for Curious Families.