Do you yearn to get away from the rat race and reconnect with yourself, your loved ones and nature, to feel the inner peace of simply being under the quiet of the twinkling stars by the crackling campfire, rather than endlessly scrolling through a deluge of news and noise in the blue glow of your smartphone? While camping is a romantic notion, let’s be honest. Some of us don’t necessarily relish the experience of lugging heavy equipment, trying to put said equipment together, using the tree as a ladies’ room, dealing with bugs and wearing bug spray, cooking beans over a fire and hot dogs with forks, washing dishes with limited water, collecting trash, devising systems to keep food and trash from wild animals, worrying about said wild animals attacking, hearing strange noises in the night as your husband sleeps soundly and all you can think about is the bears that circled Timothy Treadwell’s tent in Grizzly Man before his imminent demise … OK, I might be delving into my own fears here, but you get the point.
Finally, there’s a way to experience the wild beauty of nature, the romantic adventure and even luxurious amenities without all the bug bites and bruises from sleeping on the ground in fear of losing your life to wild animals. It’s called “glamping,” or glamorous camping! Glamping combines the glamour and luxury of a resort vacation with the exotic and wild — and sometimes “scary” — elements of Mother Nature for the perfect his-and-hers adventure!
Because of this global phenomenon, there are now myriad gorgeous glamping options, such as yurts in Mongolia, Airstream trailers along the California coast, ecofriendly pods and cubes in Loch Ness and Patagonia, huts and cottages suspended above the waters of Maui and Bora Bora, tepees in Portugal and treehouses in the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Ohio, among other stunning global glampsites. Unfortunately, the phenomenon hasn’t fully caught on in Alabama, with the exception of these romantic Gulf State Park Outpost campsites in Gulf Shores.
But if you are looking to embrace the beauty of Alabama’s wilderness in this perfect, bug-free season of long, sunny days and cool evenings with a quick weekend glamping trip of your own, we’ve got you covered. We reached out to the camping experts at Alabama Outdoors for tips, tricks and products to create the perfect glampsite for a dreamy weekend getaway from the Magic City. We met at a remote location, and within one hour we created our own comfy haven, complete with glamorous camping gear, nestled in the Alabama woods.
Tips & Tricks to Glamping in Alabama
For a more “glamping”-style camp experience, Walter recommends the following three Alabama campsites:
Oak Mountain State Park
20-minute drive from Birmingham
Reserve a cabin or a primitive campsite and get access to hiking, biking, boating, golfing and more. Perfect for those trying to “glamp” with a few extra amenities like restrooms, bath houses, laundry facilities and electricity.
Horse Pens 40
45-minute drive from Birmingham
Horse Pens 40 is home to some of the best bouldering near Birmingham and also features plenty of hiking and picnicking opportunities. A minimal fee gets you overnight access to the gorgeous boulder fields and a campsite.
Cheaha State Park
1.5-hour drive from Birmingham
Adjoining part of the Talladega National Forest, Cheaha State Park encloses the highest point in Alabama atop Cheaha Mountain reaching 2,116 feet. Reserve a modern campsite, a hotel room, cabin or primitive site, and enjoy dining at the mountaintop restaurant. There are trails, creeks, overlooks, lakes and waterfalls found within the park that make it a perfect location to experience plenty of natural splendors.
Happy glamping! For more on local weekend travel check out our travel section!
And thank you to Eric and Jamie Gay of Eric & Jamie Photography for the gorgeous photos of our Alabama glampsite.
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