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.

Glamping village under starlight | Image: Ian Norman via undercanvasevents.com

Glamping village under starlight | Image: Ian Norman of Lonely Speck via undercanvasevents.com

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. While the phenomenon hasn’t fully caught on in the South, there are some romantic Gulf State Park Outpost campsites in Gulf Shores.

Gulf State Park Outpost campsite in Gulf Shores, AL | Image: Alabama State Parks

Gulf State Park Outpost campsite in Gulf Shores | Image: Alabama State Parks

A ladies' weekend gathering under desert skies in Southern Utah, as chronicled on cosmomuse.com | Image: Britt Chundleigh Photography via cosmomuse.com

A ladies’ weekend gathering under desert skies in southern Utah, as chronicled on Cosmo Muse | Image: Britt Chudleigh Photography via cosmomuse.com

Get lost in "East African bohemian chic" at Singita Mara River Tented Camp | Images: Singita Mara River Tented Camp

Get lost in “East African bohemian chic” at Singita Mara River Tented Camp | Images: Singita Mara River Tented Camp

But if you are looking to embrace the beauty of the Southern wilderness in this perfect summer season of long, sunny days and cool(-ish) 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. 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

"Just like regular camping, make a checklist," says Walter McCorkle, Marketing Director at Alabama Outdoors. "Keep up with what you will need and what you bring, so that nothing gets left behind at home or at the campsite."

“Just like regular camping, make a checklist,” says Walter McCorkle, marketing director at Alabama Outdoors. “Keep up with what you will need and what you bring, so that nothing gets left behind at home or at the campsite.”

"An ENO Hammock works perfectly as a nice place to relax, to use as a picnic blanket or as a tarp to shield you from the sun," says Milan Ballard, marketing coordinator at Alabama Outdoors. Find the ENO Sub7 Hammock, $69.95; ENO Atlas Hammock Suspension System, $29.95; and the ENO Festy Flags, $19.95 at Alabama Outdoors. 

“An ENO Hammock works perfectly as a nice place to relax, to use as a picnic blanket or as a tarp to shield you from the sun,” says Milan Ballard, marketing coordinator at Alabama Outdoors.

Bring your favorite glamorous appetizers to kickoff the campfire. Set them on this light, durable and collapsible Helinox camp table, $99.95, from Alabama Outdoors.

Bring your favorite glamorous appetizers to kick off the evening bonfire.

You don't have to sacrifice culinary quality just because you're in the great outdoors. Forego the chips and hot dogs for your favorite epicurean delights!

You don’t have to sacrifice culinary quality just because you’re in the great outdoors. Forgo the chips and hot dogs for your favorite epicurean delights!

"Bring a Hydro Flask True Pint to cut down on garbage from paper cups," says Milan. "It works perfectly for coffee, water, beer or wine."

“Bring a Hydro Flask True Pint to cut down on garbage from paper cups,” says Milan. “It works perfectly for coffee, water, beer or wine.”

A YETI Cooler and Rambler will keep things luxuriously cool and fresh, and this electric blue wireless speaker will keep your glampsite feeling relaxed and fun with great tunes. Find the YETI Tundra 35: $299.99; YETI Rambler Insulated Bottle (64 oz.), $89.99; and Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 2.0 Wireless Speaker, $79.95 at Alabama Outdoors.

A YETI Cooler and Rambler will keep things luxuriously cool and fresh, and this electric blue wireless speaker will keep your glampsite feeling relaxed and fun with great tunes.

Bring flowers, greenery and candles to add a touch of ambience to your campsite. And make sure to gather kindling for your campfire before the sun goes down!

Bring flowers, greenery and candles to add a touch of ambience to your campsite. And make sure to gather kindling for your campfire before the sun goes down!

"Bring something to share," says Jana Mayfield of Alabama Outdoor's operations department. "There’s no better way to make friends and have a great time than sharing food, drink and stories around a campfire." Local beer is always a good option for camping!

“Bring something to share,” says Jana Mayfield of Alabama Outdoors’ operations department. “There’s no better way to make friends and have a great time than sharing food, drink and stories around a campfire.” Local beer is always a good option for camping!

Bring walking sticks if you are an avid hiker. And it never hurts to bring extra blankets and towels, especially if there's a swimming hole or waterfall nearby!

Bring walking sticks if you are an avid hiker. And it never hurts to bring extra blankets and towels, especially if there’s a swimming hole or waterfall nearby!

"Rent a tent! Don’t let a lack of gear keep you from spending time outdoors," says Milan. If you don’t own a tent and are not ready to commit to a big purchase, you can rent at tent from Alabama Outdoors.

“Rent a tent! Don’t let a lack of gear keep you from spending time outdoors,” says Milan.

"Bring a book," says Alabama Outdoors creative designer, Will Ansley. "You never know if the weather could turn, and you could be stuck in your tent.""Bring a book," says Alabama Outdoors creative designer, Will Ansley. "You never know if the weather could turn, and you could be stuck in your tent."

“Bring a book,” says Will Ansley, creative designer for Alabama Outdoors. “You never know if the weather could turn, and you could be stuck in your tent.”

Walter echoes the advice he once heard in his camping experience, saying, "Leave no trace! Take nothing but pictures."

Walter echoes the advice he once heard in his camping experience, saying, “Leave no trace! Take nothing but pictures.”

"This isn't really a camping tip," says Milan with a smile. " But I recommend making 'S'moreos' or Oreo s'mores. Use Oreos in place of Graham crackers. It's delicious!"

“This isn’t really a camping tip,” says Milan, with a smile, “but I recommend making ‘s’mOreos’ or Oreo s’mores. Use Oreos in place of graham crackers. It’s delicious!”

Happy glamping! 

Thank you to Eric and Jamie Gay of Eric & Jamie Photography for the gorgeous photos of our glampsite.

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