10 Incredibly Cool Tented Resorts — Plus Design Tips to Steal

published Jun 21, 2021
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Tops'l Farm
 exterior image
Credit: Tops'l Farm

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Summer camp — it’s downright magical. The memories of sleeping in tents, racing to plunge in cold ponds, and learning to ride horses among towering pine trees are the stuff of novels. And for some reason, those friendship bracelets were more powerful at creating BFFs in IRL. As adults we can still go back, albeit with some amenities that are decidedly more grown up (spas, anyone?). With our families, we can blend the best memories with the top amenities of tented resorts to create multi-generational outdoor fun. 

From Maine to Montana, we highlighted our favorite tented resorts in the U.S. and grabbed some design inspo to transform your backyard into the neighborhood’s coolest camp. After all, life just feels better by the campfire. 

Paws Up: Greenough, Montana 

Credit: The Resorts at Paws Up

The OG of glamping — glamorous camping — this enormous property sprawls under Montana’s epic big sky, encompassing scrub-brush dotted cattle ranges, dense woodlands teeming with wildlife and the famed Blackfoot River (Lewis and Clark transversed the rapids, as did Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It), among other topographies. It’s a multi-generational wonderland where accommodations include timber homes and oversize canvas, safari-style tents. And there’s an excursion menu packed with classic camp activities — fishing, horseback riding, swimming — and only-on-posh-vacation amenities like Top Chef-prepared meals and spa treatments in the wilderness. 

Our design takeaway: No matter your preferred guest room (we can’t gush enough about Cliffside Camp, where the accommodations are positioned for the best rushing river views), it comes equipped with Adirondack chairs that are perfect for reading, lounging, stargazing, and pulling up to the campfire. These unfinished wood chairs are perfect for pretending you are truly on vacation. Position them around your firepit for gourmet s’mores making using handmade marshmallows a-la Paws Up.

Camp Sarika by Amangiri: Canyon Point, Utah

Credit: Amangiri

This set of just 10 tented pavilions all with private plunge pools recently debuted in Utah’s spectacular setting of towering red-rock hoodoos, craggy slot canyons and desert fauna. The superlative hideaway is exquisite in every detail and offering, from horseback riding and rock climbing to yoga, spa-ing, and being pampered — really, there are few hospitality brands on the planet that boast such stellar service as Aman — including perfect perches from where to savor the unimaginable views and the star-laden night skies. 

Our design takeaway: Square, stone fire pits are not only functional — and safe — they’re a chic alternative to the usual elevated round designs. This gas model promises less smoke and more efficient burning. Get a pro to help with installation before you all cozy up to the roaring fire all year long. Keep camp-inspired blankets (see below for our picks) nearby for movie nights. Note: As with all firepits, ensure they are a-ok according to local ordinances. 

El Cosmico: Marfa, Texas 

Credit: El Cosmico

Marfa, the tiny West Texas town known primarily for its endless horizon, that famous Prada store and its unlikely position as a vibrant arts hub, is home to this eclectic property that artfully avoids being kitsch with its reuse of airstreams, vintage trailers, yurts, and tents. Here, activities are heavy on the style while still appealing to those looking for active stays — yoga is super popular, as is hiking in nearby Big Bend State Park. And there are festival celebrations throughout the year. 

Our design takeaway: One of the standouts of the quirky property is its use of vintage fabrics in everything from throw pillows and bedding to custom robes. The throwback striped designs evoke an old-school camp stay and can also be made-to-order at the property’s Provision Co. Spread yours across the lawn for picnic dinners and star gazing parties.

Tops’l Farm: Waldoboro, Vermont

Credit: Tops'l Farm

At a working farm in the state where “the way life should be,” there’s a perfect-for-the-main-feed, 85-acre property complete with a red clapboard cottage, old-school farmhouse, adorable animals and a sugar shack (a maple syrup-making structure), where events are hosted, and a series of cozy A-frame cabins outfitted in vintage furniture. In the Mid Century movement, the Modernist mini-homes were widely constructed with kits sold at local lumber yards. 

Our design takeaway: Today, thanks to the tiny home boom, the DIY plans and construction are back. Raise one in your yard as a playhouse or super-fun sleepover space. The Den Cabin Kit gives options for finishes, is a great family project that can be completed in a long weekend. For a less involved option, pitch an A-frame tent. It’s the perfect perch for campouts and ins no matter the weather. 

Dunton Hot Springs: Dolores, Colorado

Credit: Jack Richmond

So technically this former Colorado mining town that’s now a collection of cabins positioned around the eponymous waters isn’t a camping property, but it’s chock-a-block with outdoors pursuits and its picture-perfect setting of towering pines framing the boutique expanse infuses the entire property with a sleep-away summer camp vibe. Meals are even served family-style. 

Our design takeaway: Most guests savor the organic and local bounty at the central dining cabin around an oversize antique wood table. The tapered legs of the Harvest Dining Table from Williams-Sonoma evoke a time long ago and the extensions allow for 10 comfortably; it’s perfect for gathering — and crafting.