Winter Glamping Tips & Ideas | Ways to Go Glamping in the Winter

November 7, 2023

Do you love spending time outdoors but also deeply enjoy crawling into crisp, clean sheets? Enter glamping – a ‘get out in nature’ experience where camping meets luxury.

If you’re already into “regular” camping, then a “glamping” trip just takes it to the next level. If you’re not a huge fan of “regular” camping – maybe sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag isn’t your thing – then the right “glamping” trip could make a believer out of you!

But let’s take a step back. What, exactly, is glamping? It’s a way to experience the untamed and unique parts of the world without sacrificing creature comforts. This fusion of glamor and traditional camping makes for a unique, enjoyable, and comfortable way to explore some awesome locations.

Even though the term “glamping” first became a thing in the early 2000s, the idea isn’t new. So-called “glamping tents” can be traced back hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

One example of historical glamping was in the late 19th century when wealthy Europeans began to travel to places like India and Africa on safari. Those European travelers brought along tents made of canvas and brimming with luxurious fabrics. The tents were often equipped with furnishings like beds, tables, chairs, and maybe a chandelier or two.

These days, you can glamp in a tent, a cabin, or even a yurt. You could purchase and fancy up your own canvas tent, or you could stay in one of KOA’s glamping sites.

If all of this sounds very “exclusive,” it’s not really. One of the best parts about glamping is that you don’t have to be wealthy to take part. Today’s glamping experience is about adding personalized touches of luxury and comfort to your camping stay. Anyone can turn a camp into a glamp; the experience is one hundred percent personal and scalable.

And while we are big fans of glamping any time of the year, winter feels like the most perfect time to try out your hand at this form of camping.

Imagine reclining on a soft, fluffy bed, feeling warm and cozy while the snow falls gently outside your window or tent flap. On those cold, wet winter days, there’s something special about embarking on frost-kissed hiking trails during the day and then dialing up the cozy factor back at camp.

Don’t let the word “glamping” intimidate you. It’s all about camping in a little extra style and comfort, whatever that means for you!

Not sure how to get your winter glamp on? Try these fun ideas.

A happy couple wrapped in a blanket looks out at a snowy scene from the deck of a cabin in winter.


Ways to Go Glamping in the Winter

Glamping is anything but rustic, and glamping in the winter means a warm, cozy place to sleep — even if the snow is falling. When you choose to go glamping in the winter, you avoid huge crowds of avid warm-weather campers. After all, spring, summer and fall are usually the times that campsites get booked up more quickly. Plus, you can still enjoy the great outdoors.

Imagine this — you spend your day hiking and enjoying nature in the cool, crisp air. Then, as the sun sets, instead of going back to your tent, you have a warm and comfy bed to come back to.

Although not all campgrounds remain open in the winter, Kampgrounds of America has quite a few locations that welcome guests all year round and cater to those looking for a wintery adventure. Plus, KOA campgrounds include a variety of lodging options that are perfect for a winter glamping trip, including:

  • Camping Cabins: KOA Camping Cabins are log-style cabins that perfectly blend rustic with a few comforts added in. If you do not want to go full on glamping, this is the perfect option. Camping Cabins come equipped with electricity, so you can keep your phone charged, connecting you with the wider world. They also have beds, so you can cuddle up under your blanket after spending your day out in the great outdoors. If you want to take in the view from your cabin’s porch, bundle up and head out to the charming porch swing.
  • Deluxe Cabins: With the Deluxe Cabin, KOA takes the comforts of the Camping Cabin to the next level. You won’t have to leave your cabin to use the restroom, as each Deluxe Cabin come equipped with your own private bathroom and shower. Many Deluxe Cabins even feature stocked kitchenettes, offer bed linens or include a TV. When night falls, you can gather around the fire pit, play games inside or simply enjoy the company of friends or loved ones.
  • Glamping Tents: KOA is proud to provide unique lodging you won’t find elsewhere. These selections will make your glamping adventure completely out of the ordinary and something that everyone will remember for years to come. Two types of Glamping Tents available at many KOA campgrounds include yurts and walled tents, also called a “safari tent.” Both provide a novel experience and come equipped with comfortable amenities. Both will keep you snug and warm through a long winter night. Also, both will ensure your stay is one you’ll never forget.

Group of friends enjoys a snowball fight in front of a cabin.

Tips For Winter Glamping

As the glamping craze continues to grow, glamping enthusiasts continue to come up with ways to make the experience more posh, more glamorous and even more comfortable. Camping in the winter may sound like a harsh and cold endeavor. However, glamping in the winter is just the opposite. The goal is to ensure you’re snug and warm with the necessities you need to make your wintery vacation extraordinary.

With that in mind, you can ensure your winter glamping holiday is relaxing, cozy and oh so much fun by planning for it. Be sure to pack along a few glamping essentials when you hit the road this winter, including:

  • Lighting: Lighting is an essential component to glamping. Although most KOA campsites come with a place to build a campfire or a fire pit, you may want to bring along some additional mood lighting to ensure you have the perfect glamping atmosphere. Candles are a great option — LED candles will do the trick if you’re not able to have an open flame. Lanterns or stringed lights are other great options that cast a subtle glow over your abode as the sun sets each evening.
  • Food: No camping trip is complete without camping food, but your glamping trip should reach a bit higher than just s’mores. Winter calls for hot beverages, so be sure to bring along the makings for hot apple cider or gourmet hot chocolate. The kitchenette in many KOA Deluxe Cabins allows you to prepare a few things that might be more difficult to cook over a campfire. Assemble some meats and cheeses into an indulgent charcuterie board or try your hand at another epicurean delight.
  • Comfy Items: When you go camping, you might have to leave behind items that you don’t want to get dirty. Glamping, however, lets you pull out all the stops. So, for your winter getaway, bring items that provide a cozy feel. Fuzzy socks, heated blankets, cushy throw pillows — anything that will make the winter night a little bit warmer and more relaxing.
  • Fun Activities: Vacations allow you to do those things you never have time for at home. Whether you’re with friends and family or are all alone on your winter glamping trip, plan some fun activities — even if you’ve never tried them before. Think board games and charades, singing around the fire pit or cracking open that novel you’ve had by your bedside for years.

A campfire burns near a snowy and icy lake in winter.

Indulge in Some Worthy “Extras”

So we’ve established that glamping is camping without all the hard stuff.

It’s also an opportunity to indulge a bit. So give some thought to what amenities, features, or activities will make you feel like a million bucks.

Maybe your stay has a hot tub or sauna for guests to enjoy. Or, better yet, it’s near some natural hot springs you can melt into on a cold day.

The ideal amenity for any winter glamping excursion is a cozy fireplace or wood stove. Just imagine sitting by your cabin campfire roasting marshmallows as you watch the night snow fall. Talk about a camping dream!

All these extras can feel amazing during a winter camping trip and not only dial up the enjoyment factor but also the comfort factor. That said, don’t forget about those small extras that make a big impact – things like lighting.

Set the mood wherever you decide to stay with a few well-placed candles (maybe scented), vintage-style lanterns, or string lights, if not already provided.

A small Bluetooth speaker is also a great addition for bringing relaxing/romantic/favorite tunes into the experience from the convenience of your phone. (Hey, it’s okay to use a little technology for fun on this trip!) Search or make your playlist pre-trip on an app like Spotify so your musical ambiance hits all the right notes.

If you’re glamping in your own tent, make sure the sleeping conditions are just right. Borrow or invest in a good air mattress or cot, and bring the coziest of blankets and pillows — maybe even a throw pillow or two.

You won’t regret these warm and cozy “extras”! It’s always better to err on the safe side and bring more blankets than you think you’ll need. (Few things feel worse than a winter camping trip where you can’t sleep because you’re too cold – trust us on this.)

Keep reading for a few more amazing DIY glamping tips, proving that you can create your own luxury camping experience – sometimes for less money and lots more satisfaction!

Father and son walk across a small wooden bridge with dog in snowy forest.

Go on an Adventure (and Then Come on Back to Cozy Camp)

Now that you’ve got your glamping digs squared away, it’s time to decide what you want to do while here.

Do you plan to stay in that beautiful vintage Airstream all day and all night, eating chocolate and listening to sleet hit the tin roof? You certainly can! And no one could even fault you for doing so. That sounds pretty great, in our opinion.

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to get out and do things, especially when you’re at a renowned national park or when you’re staying a stone’s throw from a breathtaking natural landscape.

Consider this winter glamping trip a great opportunity to try out some new activities like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Keep in mind that things like sightseeing and visiting shops, restaurants, and historical sights also count as new activities! No one says you have to be outdoors 24/7 on a camping trip – especially in the winter.

If you plan to hit the slopes, consider indulging in a little “apres ski.” The French term for “after skiing” refers to all the things you do after the day’s skiing is done – whether that means entertaining, relaxing, eating, drinking, or enjoying live music.

Ski resorts will likely have lots of great options for apres ski. You can sit in the cozy chalet with your hands wrapped around a hot mug of cocoa or unwind in a hot tub. You get to choose how to celebrate a great day on the slopes.

Fishing is another popular activity for those venturing into the Great Outdoors. If you love to fish, maybe give winter fishing a try! You may end up catching a trout that you can later cook up fireside with a glass of wine and the perfect music in the background.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules for what glamping looks like – it’s kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure experience that allows you to opt for what makes you feel good while you enjoy nature and the outdoors!

But we guarantee that lots of activity during the day, outside in the fresh air will make your accommodations an even sweeter place to return to at day’s end.

A woman smiles as she takes a sip of her hot cocoa with marshmallows on a winter day.

Eat Well

Who doesn’t love the food part of camping? It’s one of our favorite parts!

And food gives you yet another reason to love glamping – the cooking is easier and (ideally) more surprising than on a regular old camping trip. Think of your standard camping meals as square one, and then you can take your winter glamping meals to the next level with the added amenities.

If you plan to do some cooking on the trip, prep a quality cooler and a nice, small stash of spices. Spices are a simple way to really elevate a meal. Start with basics like salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and maybe a favorite blend like cajun or tajin seasoning.

Make it easy on yourself (because stress is not luxurious nor comforting) and plan for simple meals cooked simply, with quality ingredients. Sautee your meat or fish in a cast iron skillet using salt, pepper, and olive oil. Roast or sautee a fresh veggie side and indulge in a great loaf of homemade bread to make it a meal.

And don’t forget drinks. If you enjoy wine, grab a bottle you love and sip it while cooking. DOn’t skip on some good hot coffee o brew first thing in the mornings and maybe even after meals. If hot cocoa is more your speed, skip the instant packets and instead go gourmet. Or maybe enjoy a hot, spiced cider or quality tea that helps you move into that zen state of mind.

Skip the paper plates and instead serve each meal with real mugs and plates to add just the right level of glamping to your experience.

Romantic couple on a winter holiday. Man and woman standing together in a hotel room balcony wrapped in blanket. Couple embracing and smiling.

Make ‘Absolute Comfort’ Your New Mission

Remember how glamping is all about the details? Don’t stop at the tasty treats and twinkle lights. Make the ultimate comfort your goal.

What makes you feel cozy and safe after the end of a long day? Pack that up. We’re talking things like your favorite slippers, that warm cashmere sweater, and a super soft throw blanket to snuggle up with in the evenings.

Since you won’t need to pack as many utilitarian goods on this non-traditional camping excursion, use the extra suitcase and vehicle space for your favorite cold-weather comfort items!

If you live in a cold climate, or even if you’re just visiting, quality baselayers are always a good idea and ensure you stay toasty warm whether you’re inside or outside. A good set of merino wool baselayers is an investment piece that you will have for years to come.

Why merino wool? This material is naturally breathable, insulated, moisture-wicking, and odor-resistant. And on top of that, it is extremely lightweight and comfortable.

Also give some thought to what shoes and boots you’ll bring along, depending on the weather and the activities you plan to do. Make sure your footwear is warm and comfortable, and up to the task of daily hikes and activities. Bring a spare pair, too as chances are good your boots will get wet in the rain and/or snow.

When the day is done, and you’re ready for a nap, lounging, or games, slipping into a good pair of sturdy slippers or ‘inside shoes’ will feel like heaven.

And finally, don’t forget to bring along a great book or three. Reading is one of the very best ways to unwind on a winter glamping trip.

Friends celebrates beginning of winter in mountains, jumps and having fun

Invite Your Friends, Family, and Festivities

It seems that the winter months are packed with festivities and ways to celebrate. Consider taking your regular family celebration/vacation or fest “on location” to a glamping destination that the whole family will enjoy.

Celebrating a holiday away from home can be a nice change of pace. Decide if you’ll want to spend the trip in the company of extended family, just your immediate family, and/or friends. Or bring everyone along for an even bigger adventure in the great outdoors.

If the group is large, reserve a cluster of cabins, tents, and yurts so each family has privacy in addition to a communal place to hang.

Once you agree on dates, locations, and things like meals, there’s not much else to consider except for how to relax and have fun.

Imagine not having the stress of speed-cleaning the house before guests come over. Imagine not having to prep that giant, intricate meal (unless you want to cook a giant meal in an exciting new place.). And imagine not driving here, there, and everywhere on snow-covered roads.

When you take your holidays off the grid, you get a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle. Instead, you can simply enjoy winter’s quiet, natural beauty together in a fresh and exciting way. You never know – this could become your new family tradition!

Since you may have spent a bit more on this beautiful and unique ‘glamping’ experience, you might agree to go light on the gifts and instead just enjoy the company of one another. You can do this by playing board games and maybe even a round of fireside charades; you can go on solitary or group walks in the crisp winter air; you can drive into the nearest town to explore all it has to offer.

However you decide to pass the time, you’ll no doubt remember this trip for years to come.

Book Your Winter Glamping Trip With KOA Today

Winter glamping offers many advantages. You can enjoy activities that may be less comfortable under the summer sun. Plus, smaller crowds mean you will usually get your pick of the best campsites KOA has to offer. Many KOA campgrounds are open year-round and offer amenities you won’t find anywhere else, including:

  • Clean and comfortable campsites and lodging options
  • Friendly staff providing impeccable customer service
  • KOA store for last minute items you might have forgotten at home
  • Playgrounds and fun activities for the kids
  • Laundry facilities
  • And so much more

Even if you’re planning a winter glamping trip, don’t wait to book your campsite. Make your reservation online today or contact a campground directly for more information. A cozy and unique winter getaway await you at KOA.

Leslie K Hughes

Leslie, a.k.a. Copy Girl, is a copywriter who gets butterflies from telling stories through words.

Her voice comes from a place filled with passion, dreams, and lots of sugar. “Cake over steak” is her go-to motto.

With over 10 years of experience in crafting words, and years of embarking on travels that have taken this Montana girl to some incredible places, Leslie love the adventures of both body and mind her writing takes her on.

Everywhere she goes, she takes this advice with her:

“Hold on to your divine blush, your innate rosy magic, or end up brown.” – Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

To see what Leslie’s up to in the writing world, visit her website here.

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