Travel

Canada's Epic Wilderness Has Glamping Trip Written All Over It

Escapism without the survival-ism.

Sundance Lodges
Sundance Lodges
Sundance Lodges

While airports across the world remain complete and utter chaos, it might be time to travel somewhere closer to home. Better yet, take a road trip 2020 style, but this time without the borders being closed. In the words of Kelso, it’s time to see Canada, a “great country with its spacious skies and fruited waves of plain.”

Yep, Canada is a gorgeous country with epic national parks and 62% of the world’s lakes-but even if you want to submerge yourself in nature, why rough it at a rustic campsite when you could relax in a yurt, dome, or treehouse? After the shitshow of the past couple years, you deserve some easy-to-access escapism.

Here are two handfuls of glamping sites to get you inspired for a much-needed Canadian glamping trip.

Adventure Domes
Adventure Domes
Adventure Domes

Adventure Domes

New Denver, British Columbia
Rates start at $190 CDN
Near the village of New Denver in BC are four Adventure Dome cabins that look like hobbit houses, only you’ll be much comfier than Bilbo ever was. In the summer or fall, you can wander down to Slocan Lake for a kayak adventure (it’s right there in the name!). Come wintertime, the domes are close to ski resorts like Whitewater, Red Mountain, or Revelstoke, as well as the Nakusp, Halcyon, and Ainsworth hot springs. And it’s dog-friendly, too.

Sundance Lodges
Sundance Lodges
Sundance Lodges

Sundance Lodges

Kananaskis Country, Alberta
Rates start at $89 CDN
Ever dreamed of sleeping in a tepee? Sundance Lodges in between Calgary and Banff (a.k.a. arguably the prettiest part of Canada) has some off-grid canvas Sioux tepees and trapper’s tents with single or double beds and wood floors. The tents are a little more rustic than some other glamping spots on this list, but you can rent bedding, towels, and cooking utensils, and there are on-site hot showers as well as flush toilets.

Lake Glamping with Private Beach

Anderson Lake, British Columbia
Rates start at $195 CDN
Glamping search engine Hipcamp offers a glorious lakeside yurt with a king-sized bed and its own skylight-and the best part is, you get the whole site to yourself. The yurt overlooks little-known Anderson Lake, and a private beach is just a five-minute walk down the mountainside. If you really want to let off some steam, you can go au natural in a private barrel sauna for an extra fee.

Long Point Eco-Adventures & Marshview Patio
Long Point Eco-Adventures & Marshview Patio
Long Point Eco-Adventures & Marshview Patio

Long-Point Eco Adventures

Turkey Point, Ontario
Rates start at $149.95 CDN
Whether you’re a family, a big group, or a couple, this glamping resort has everything covered. First off, each cabin is gorgeous. Options include a 150-year-old farmhouse, cluster of pod cabins, or a huge log cabin that can fit 11 people. The resort also has plenty to do, with activities like axe throwing, zip-lining, kayak tours, and its own restaurant.

Heartwood Farm & Cidery
Heartwood Farm & Cidery
Heartwood Farm & Cidery

Heartwood Farm & Cidery

Erin, Ontario
Rates start at $200 CDN
Just outside of Toronto, this small farm will make you want to drop everything and start your own. Over 42 acres, Val and Brent’s farm does ‚Äč‚Äčregenerative farming with chickens, goats, and piglets (that you can cuddle!). They also have a sugar beach and their own orchard from which they make craft cider. The accommodation itself is lovely, too, with a queen-sized bed, bedside tables, and a furnished patio.

Parc Omega
Parc Omega
Parc Omega

Parc Omega

Montebello, Quebec
Rates from $559 CDN
You can go full Stark mode and sleep with actual wolves at Parc Omega-well, at least in view of them. Fully-equipped luxury cabins have floor to ceiling windows, so you can eat your bowl of cereal as you watch wolves graze just outside. Or go on a car safari to see deer, bison, boar, and turkeys.

Meska Outdoors

Turner Valley, Alberta
Rates start at $219 CDN
Booking site Campspot offers Meska Outdoors, which has turnkey glamping tents just outside an artist village. Each tented canvas has its own couch and there’s a concierge service to direct you towards some hikes and activities in the area. Big bonus: There’s a distillery and a German-style brewery two minutes from the campsite.

Glamp Camp
Glamp Camp
Glamp Camp

Glamp Camp

Waterborough, New Brunswick
Rates start at $179 Canadian
Glamp Camp has panoramic views over Grand Lake, but what really makes it stand out is its kitsch. Each of the 10 stargazer domes on the 90-acre site have their own themes like “hashtag millennial,” “I’m so fancy,” and James Bond-themed “007.” You also get access to your own private wood-fired hot tub for an extra charge.

True North Destinations
True North Destinations
True North Destinations

True North Destinations

Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
Rates from $200 CDN
Along the Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail, True North Destinations has huge domes for those who wouldn’t be caught dead on a camping mat. Its floor-to-ceiling bay windows, a wraparound deck, and your own personal hot tub are the height of luxury. Plus, the 5-star resort even has its own smoothie bar.

@treetophaveninc
@treetophaveninc
@treetophaveninc

Treetop Haven

Mount Tryon, Prince Edward Island
Rates from $210 CDN
Over Canada’s longest bridge in its cutest province, Treetop Haven has five elevated glamping domes and a couple of cabins in a fifty-acre forest. No matter which one you pick, each site comes with a deck, hot tub, and a fully-equipped kitchen. There are striking red sand beaches and hikes nearby as well, and some breweries and charming colourful villages.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Joel Balsam is a freelance journalist and travel guidebook writer whose work can be found in National Geographic Travel, Time, The Guardian, Lonely Planet, and Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Instagram.

Travel

Hollywood's Favorite Mountain Town Isn't Where You'd Think It Is

It's all hot springs and Hemmingway lore here.

Michael Godek/Moment/Getty Images
Michael Godek/Moment/Getty Images
Michael Godek/Moment/Getty Images

“Idaho is like the new Colorado, and Sun Valley is like the new Aspen,” a woman leaned over and said as we began our descent into Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho. “Everyone’s coming here now.”

Similar to Aspen-which has seen an unprecedented influx of transplants from around the country since the pandemic began-Sun Valley has served as Idaho’s venerable ski town ever since it was established as the country’s first designated ski resort in 1936. But those same snow-covered mountains people swish down all winter look awfully pretty come summertime, surrounded by the nearby Sawtooth Mountain range and set within the sweeping Wood River Valley.

Peter Jacobson/500Px Plus/Getty Images
Peter Jacobson/500Px Plus/Getty Images
Peter Jacobson/500Px Plus/Getty Images

Celebrities, artists, and fiercely passionate locals have long been a part of the fabric of this town ever since Ernest Hemingway was invited to live and write in the Sun Valley Lodge in 1939.

“Many celebrities were invited to come for free.” actress and Sun Valley resident Ali Larter told me at The Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) in April. “Hemingway was one of the first famous people to come and help build up what this mountain town was, and it’s become a part of what makes this valley the creative hub that it continues to be even today.”

Sun Valley’s cach√© remains alive and well, with its contingent of laid-back locals, cool bars, restaurants, and always-sunny Sun Valley vibes. While the secret about this idyllic mountain town may be out, Aspen, I can assure you, it is not. From spending some time soaking in the local hot springs to visiting a few of Hemingway’s favourite haunts, here are all the ways to enjoy Hollywood’s favourite mountain town, no matter the season.

Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images
Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images
Karl Weatherly/Photodisc/Getty Images

Walk in Hemingway’s footprints or drink amid the flowers

With 50 peaks, 300 lakes and rivers, and 250-miles of trails, wherever you are in Sun Valley, adventure isn’t far behind.

A good place to get your bearings is the White Cloud Trail. One of the most popular hiking loops at a leisurely 2.5 miles, it’s a short walk or bike ride from the Sun Valley resort area. As you make your way along the trail, plan to stop by the Hemingway Memorial, which is a fantastic place to soak in some views.

About four miles down the Wood River Trail is the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, which makes for a lovely bike-ride destination. The garden is a beautiful place to spend a few hours, especially in the summer when numerous events take place, like tours, wine tastings, and cocktail evenings.

Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images
Cavan Images/Cavan/Getty Images

Spend the morning soaking in local hot springs or angling for rainbows

Just 10 miles west of downtown Ketchum on Warm Springs Road, Frenchman’s Bend is the best place to soak in local hot springs. This shallow spring has long been a local Sun Valley hot spot, though it’s very much not clothing optional, so skinny dippers beware.

But getting hot and pruny isn’t the only way to enjoy the water here. Stretching 137-miles long and running directly through Sun Valley, Big Wood River is a great spot to go white water rafting in nearby Stanley or try your hand at fly fishing.

If you’re angling to get out and catch those elusive rainbows, try a guided fishing trip or even a women’s intro to fly fishing clinic with Sun Valley Outfitters. Big Wood is known for wild trout, though Silver Creek Preserve is another excellent spot (and a Hemingway favourite).

Warfield Distillery & Brewery
Warfield Distillery & Brewery
Warfield Distillery & Brewery

Eat homey dishes in cozy settings

Sun Valley’s food scene rivals that of any big city, starting with coffee and a ham and cheese croissant at Konditorei. Otherwise head straight for The Kneadery for a country frittata and ultimate Belgian waffles topped with whipped cream in downtown Ketchum.

Walk it all off before heading to Warfield Distillery & Brewery, which serves up some of the best elevated pub food. The beautiful rooftop is perfect for drinking in the views over downtown Ketchum and Baldy mountain. Don’t miss the signature Warfield Burger and Bacon Blue Ridge Salad and save some room for the carrot cake if you can.

Set on a side street in downtown Ketchum, The Covey‘s hearth style, seasonally inspired menu more than delivers when it comes to homemade pastas and some of the best locally caught trout you’ve ever had. It’s also got a killer wine list and a gorgeous new outdoor garden to enjoy it all in. If push comes to shove, don’t be afraid to post up at the bar, where you can chat with some of Sun Valley’s coolest team of locals and longtime friends who own and operate this awesome spot.

Rickshaw
Rickshaw
Rickshaw

Rickshaw is the cozy [read: tiny] neighbourhood joint to satisfy all your Asian- fusion cravings. The Korean Fried Chicken (KFC), Chiang Mai Curry Noodles, and Green Papaya Salad are cooked to chef-kiss perfection. Just note that this place packs up quick and reservations can be tough to come by, so if you can’t get a spot, grab your food to go and post up for a picnic in any of the nearby parks.

One absolute can’t miss when you’re in Ketchum is the chance to guzzle down schooners at Grumpy’s, a true Sun Valley legend. You can sit out front and enjoy the chilli fries and beers, but you’ll be missing out on the indoor ambience of this time-capsule-of-a-ski-town dive.

Come nighttime, head to Pioneer Saloon for margaritas, pints at The Cellar Pub, a tipple and some of Tom’s Mom’s Meatloaf at the Sawtooth Club, before an obligatory lap at Casino.

The Gold Mine Thrift Store
The Gold Mine Thrift Store
The Gold Mine Thrift Store

Strike gold at the local thrift

There’s no shortage of high-end boutiques in and around the Sun Valley Resort and downtown Ketchum, but for a real taste of local goodness, Gold Mine Thrift Store is considered the ultimate choice for all your thrifting needs. There’re always gems to be found here and it’s an added bonus that all of the proceeds go towards The Community Library next door.

For all your gear and outdoor needs, head to the Elephant’s Perch; or for some great local reads, look no further than Chapter One Bookstore on a side street off the Main drag. Finally, The Farmer’s Daughter is the perfect place to pick up some cool, local home d√©cor and Idaho knick knacks.

Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley Resort
Sun Valley Resort

Sleep like a star at Sun Valley’s best hotels

The Sun Valley Lodge is the go-to spot for a five-star stay in Sun Valley. Dating back to 1936, it’s also the former residence of Ernest Hemingway, whose room here is said to still house his typewriter.

The hotel’s pool area and bowling alley are always buzzing with activity, but if you’re in the mood for some bonafide “me time,” head straight to The Spa at Sun Valley, where a spin inside one of their “Experience Showers” in the locker room is enough to make you a believer in the power of one really good shower.

Right across the courtyard from The Lodge, the Sun Valley Inn is a bit more rustic than its glamorous counterpart-but recently remodelled and offering access to all of the same amenities as the Lodge at a fraction of the cost, the Inn is a more economical way to stay in the resort area.

Just off Main Street in Ketchum, Limelight Hotel is the perfect, pet-friendly place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the action. Word to the wise, snag a room with balcony views over Baldy, and don’t miss a chance to wind down with a dip in the pool and hot tubs.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Michelle Gross is a travel, food and lifestyle writer who loves a small-town vibe. An alum of the University of Colorado Boulder, she spends a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors. This summer you’ll most likely find her on a paddleboard or on her porch in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.