What is Glamping? | Difference Between Camping & Glamping

November 5, 2020

For many, daydreams of a break from the daily grind conjure up images of lake shores and vistas, of babbling brooks and tree-lined trails. A desire to spend free time in the great outdoors is at the forefront of many minds. So when you have some time to plan a vacation, however long it may be, you plan them to be under the sun and stars. The details of how you may choose to do it, however, can range far and wide.


What Is Camping?

Some of us are chasing a challenge that is a polar opposite of our comfortable lifestyles. We may find the most excitement by stripping life down to the bare essentials, or we may require a few extra creature comforts to make the trip more tolerable. But no matter what the trip requires, we call it camping.

What do we need to survive? For some, this statement drives every choice when planning for an adventure. You may have a backpack, a tent, some simple rations, a pair of sturdy boots, water and a sleeping bag or a hammock. For others, this may mean a few more amenities like clean drinking water and a hot shower at the end of a long day full of fun, adventure and time with family.

Or, maybe you don’t need to trek over summits and ravines to have a perfect time outdoors. You have a nice, comfortable tent big enough to stand in, a cooler and some camp chairs. Your idea of roughing it at a campsite is just as valid — your adventure is realized simply by being outside, relaxing by a campfire, brought alive by leaving so much of the modern world behind you.

For many, some degree of roughing it encapsulates the draw of the outdoors. The simplest of simple lives, the break from distractions and opportunity for to unplug and be in the moment make camping an ideal break from everyday life. But for others, a popular movement that offers additional creature comforts is the perfect way to experience the outdoors.

Deluxe Cabin

What Is Glamping?

“Glamping,” short for glamorous camping, has become a mainstay of outdoor recreation over the past decade. If your essentials list contains things such as a real mattress, running water or an actual toilet, you can still find numerous options that bridge the gap between traditional camping and the comforts of home. Here are just a few examples of such opportunities:

  • Camping Cabins: These offer a roof over your head, four walls and a bed to sleep in. No need to worry about packing a tent or an air mattress.
  • Deluxe Cabins: Deluxe Cabins offer the same convenience of a Camping Cabin, and also include a private bathroom. Some also include additional features such as kitchenettes, bed linens and more. Check specific campgrounds for Deluxe Cabins with KOA Patios®.
  • Tree Houses: No matter what age you are, there is something inherently appealing about tree houses. And while you may have had one in your youth, modern tree houses are a stunning way to have a unique experience outdoors. Fully enclosed, with all the familiar amenities, you can’t beat the view through upscale camping in a tree house.
  • Safari Tents: You’ve no doubt seen these in movies, perched in some exotic location and offering a comfortable existence to adventurers away from home. Why not try renting one for yourself? With many featuring furniture, electricity, fully functioning kitchens and storage, safari tents are a perfect marriage between comfort and adventure.
  • Yurts: These circular variations of tents, popular throughout Asia, feature rigid walls and are fully enclosed. You can find some yurts with electricity, running water, real beds and more.

While “cabin glamping” has become more popular, you can also try more unique glamping options if you’re looking for something new!

Here’s the best thing about this list — you can find all these options at hundreds of KOA locations across the country. From Tent Sites to elevated lodging opportunities, there is a wide and wonderful range of options to help you step away from the grind and enjoy the great outdoors.

So the next time you start daydreaming about a getaway, make KOA a part of your plans. You’ll find an option as simple or as unique as you like at a location you’ll love.


1. Where Can I Go Glamping in the U.S.?

From the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to Florida’s warm beaches, glamping opportunities exist throughout the U.S. and even in Canada. With KOA, you can experience the most beautiful vistas, historical sites and peaceful surroundings in almost every U.S. state, all from the comfort of a luxurious lodging option. Check out our campground directory for a list of campgrounds in each state.

2. When Is the Best Time of Year to Go Glamping?

Glamping allows you to bring all the creature comforts you want during your outdoor adventure. So, any time is the right time to go glamping. No matter the season, each has its own interests you can enjoy. Imagine wrapping yourself in a fleece-lined blanket as you snuggle next to a fire pit on a snowy winter’s day. Or, even as the thermometer creeps higher in the dead of summer, you can take it in your stride as you sip on a cool, refreshing beverage by a pool.

3. What Are the Benefits of Glamping vs. Camping?

If you’re trying to decide between a glamping trip versus a more traditional camping adventure, each has its own distinct benefits and qualities to enjoy. Really, it just depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want a more traditional experience in the great outdoors? Camping may be for you. Or, is the idea of doing without running water, electricity or a mattress too much to endure? Glamping may be the answer. Decide ahead of time what you want your trip to look like and the type of experience that will best fit the needs of you and your family.

4. Is Glamping a Better Option for Small Children?

You know your kids better than anyone. Because glamping often offers additional amenities than a traditional camping trip, it may be the best answer to your family’s needs. At KOA, our Deluxe Cabins provide you with private bathrooms. That means no scrambling to make it in time to the bathroom when your little one has to go in the middle of the night. They also offer a bit more privacy. On the other hand, if your kids are really excited by the thought of “roughing it” then a more traditional camping experience may be a better fit. At KOA, even in our more traditional Tent Sites, you still have access to amenities such as clean bathrooms and hot showers!

5. Is “Glamping” a Real Word?

Flashback to more than 10 years ago — “glamping” was a made-up concept which combined the words glamorous and camping to describe an elevated camping experience. However, as travelers picked up on the glamping craze, the concept spread like wildfire across the globe. So much so that in 2018, Merriam-Webster dictionary added the term to their official list of words. So, yes — “glamping” is now a real word!

6. How Do You Turn Camping Into Glamping?

To turn a camping trip into a glamping experience, all you need is some awesome lodgings, those luxuries and essentials you just can’t do without, plus, a little bit of creativity. The main difference between a more traditional camping experience and a glamping trip are those bonus amenities that make your stay all the more comfortable and the special things that you bring along that you know will take your trip to the next level.

Glamping is all about making your camping experience comfy and luxurious. Electricity, plush blankets, running water, mood lighting, scrumptious meals — all these creature comforts and more are what make glamping an ideal vacation for many.

Camping? Glamping? What's the difference?

Enjoy a Greater Slice of the Great Outdoors

Discover even more room to enjoy outdoor living with a KOA Patio Site®. These spacious sites offer your very own patio equipped with outdoor furniture and the perfect place for a fire. Wake up and enjoy a cup of coffee with the sunrise and spend an evening relaxing with family and friends.

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