The National Parks of North America are regarded the world over as true natural treasures, offering some of the most mind-blowing geological wonders in the northern hemisphere.
However, as a dream travel destination for millions of people each year, the hotels fill up, the crowds surge in and the magic of being in “nature” gets less and less appealing.
But what if there was another way to do it? A better way? A place where you can lay under the stars, a fire crackling beside you while you experience the ultimate American Glamping experience? Well, I found just that and I can assure you it’s just as dreamy as it sounds. The Under Canvas brand now has camps in some of the most striking locations the US has to offer – including Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Moab, Glacier and a new camp in The Great Smoky Mountains set for 2018. They are truly the first company to create a luxury camping experience at a surprisingly affordable cost that immerses you in nature with all the comforts you would ever want.
I discovered Under Canvas because my parents had wanted to see Zion National Park for years and I wanted to make their first visit to this incredible park magical. So, without telling them, I booked us two tents at Under Canvas’s latest location. After driving up from LA, our first glimpse of the camp was a network of cream colored dots across the vast wilderness, surrounded on all sides by the fiery red peaks and towering canyons of Zion.
My dad looked at me suspiciously as we rolled up the mountain towards this mysterious camp. “Wait…we’re staying in a TENT?”
“Don’t worry dad. This isn’t just ANY tent.”
As we pulled up to the main reception area, the first thing we noticed was the silence. Surrounded by breathtaking wilderness as far as the eye can see, Under Canvas is located as close to Zion as you can possibly get, with a park entrance within walking distance. But this is far from the parts of the park swarming with tourists. This area of the park feels like a carefully guarded secret that is still waiting to be discovered.
The tents themselves have the feeling of a luxurious African safari, each one located far enough from its neighbor to feel isolated without feeling unsafe. Inside they are wonderfully spacious, with a shower, toilet and sink (and if you opt for the Suite you even get a beautiful bathtub). The best part is, if you choose the Stargazer tent option, your king size bed will have its own viewing window directly above it, enabling you to see the sweep of the Milky Way across the perfect desert sky.
If you’re concerned that camping in the desert in the summer will be too hot, or conversely in the winter will be too cold, Under Canvas has you covered on both counts. For those hot summer nights, each tent has a wonderful misting system that cools the air perfectly. And for the winter there is a wood burner to keep you cozy through the night.
Being purposefully located far away from the bustle of civilization, you can dine directly at Under Canvas at their restaurant – Embers. They have a small but delicious menu for both breakfast and dinner as well as making a terrific packed lunch you can buy for a day exploring the park, which is far better than the majority of the food you will find in most national parks.
After dinner, we sat around one of the communal fire pits, made s’mores and stared up at the sprawling night sky. With almost zero light pollution, it’s likely you’ve never experienced the stars quite like this. Being under the stars and surrounded by mountains reminded me that it’s so important we take time to check out and disconnect for a while and there’s no wifi at Under Canvas for this very reason. I urge you to discover it for yourself. It’s worth it. You can book at Zion—-https://www.undercanvas.com/camps/zion/