People often have romantic notions of camping – nestled around cozy campfires roasting marshmallows and falling asleep under a starlit night – that don’t match the reality of pitching tents and sleeping on hard, bumpy ground.
Those looking for the “softer side” of camping will appreciate the newest trend: “glamping,” shorthand for glamorous camping. Take a load off and enjoy the outdoors without all the work, the theory goes. Here in northern Michigan, you’ll find plenty of examples of glamping the area’s luxury campgrounds and upscale RV parks.
RV sales and bookings have recovered nicely from the recession a few years ago, according to Delinn Keetch, co-owner of Rose City RV Center, one of the largest RV outlets in the state.
“RV campground owners that I spoke with at recent RV shows are expecting a good season, and this is the busiest start to the RV sales season for us in recent years,” she said. “Many of these people have sold their homes and live in their RVs, spending six months up here and going south for the winter months. They want luxury. The RVs are like little homes on wheels. Upscale camping is alive and well.”
Traverse Bay RV Resort, just east of Traverse City off M-72, has been experiencing the same trend, according to Kathy Scheppe, who along with husband Dave owns and operates the upscale RV resort.
“We’re a condo RV resort with daily lot rentals also available,” she explained. “The majority of our 217 sites are sold, and many of the owners stay here the six months we are open, spring through fall, and the rest of the year down south. We have some sites available for daily rental and also rent sold sites if the owner is away with his RV.”
The resort has been awarded a perfect rating from Trailer Life magazine. It offers 150-acres of trees, ponds and meadows with wooded nature trails. Most lots have personal patios and are landscaped. Amenities include a resort size pool, spa and fitness center, full hookups, restrooms, showers and laundry facilities for guests. Rental rates for lots are $70 through Sept. 7 and $60 through October. For more information log onto traversebayrv.com.
Petoskey KOA RV & Cabin Resort is one of the top KOA RV parks in the nation, according to manager Ken Forrest.
“The park is rated number one in Michigan by Trailer Life, and is among the highest rated KOA RV resorts in North America,” he proudly stated. “We have 203 spacious RV sites and 30 cabins of varying size. The entire 30-acre park is filled with flowers and landscaping, and log cabins are nestled into the trees. We’re within minutes of everything popular in Petoskey.”
Each RV site has paved parking area and concrete patio. Amenities include a pool, hot tub and sauna, snack bar, Kamping Kitchen for group cook-outs, picnic tables and a pavilion. There’s even a pet playground. For more information, including rates, log onto koa.com/campgrounds/petoskey.
Hearthside Grove Motorcoach Resort, nestled between Crooked and Round Lakes on U.S. 31, offers over 300 lots to accommodate most sized vehicles. Each site offers full hookups, complimentary wireless, and natural gas for outdoor barbecues. There’s a pool, Jacuzzi and fitness center. Ponds, wetlands and a creek flow through the property. Log onto hearthsidegrove.com for rates.
Wild Cherry Resort, near Lake Leelanau, offers a true glamping experience, a yurt featuring a queen-size bed, dresser, table and chairs, a fire pit and charcoal grill, and a separate bath and shower tent. It rents for $135 per night. Owner Jim Spikinnen says it has been so popular that he’s considering adding a second yurt.
“People seem to love the experience. It’s rustic camping at its best,” he laughed.
The resort also offers RV sites and a few tent sites. Each RV site has water, sewer, electric and a picnic table. A few have fire pits.
Visitors to Indigo Bluffs in Empire enjoy many luxury amenitites Rates through Sept. 2 are $55 to $69 per night. They drop to between $45 and $64 through October. You can log onto wildcherryresort.com for more information. The resort even has its own two-hole golf course.
Indigo Bluffs Motorcoach Resort, located east of Empire on M-72, offers treed sites with gravel pads, concrete patios, picnic tables and fire rings. On site you’ll see motorcoaches that look more like luxury homes, and the amenities follow suit. Full hookups, water and electric sites are available, as well as a few rental cabins. There’s also a reception building and pool. Sites run between $38 and $48, and a rustic cabin is $70. For more information log onto indigobluffs.com.