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Four Cool Camping Experiences for the Non-Camper

Want to enjoy the great outdoors without exactly roughing it? These new outdoor adventures elevate camping to a whole new level of ease, comfort and luxury.

Horseback ride up to this high country yurt in Wyoming at the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch.   Photo: The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch

Want to enjoy the great outdoors without exactly roughing it? These new outdoor adventures elevate camping to a whole new level of ease, comfort and luxury.

Camping 101 in Michigan

Newly available to groups this year, Camping 101 is a free, three-night program offered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources that provides groups of up to 40 adults with a trailer stocked with North Face camping gear, including tents, camp stoves, sleep pads, camp chairs, flashlights and lanterns, fishing poles, and even marshmallow roasting sticks. Not only does the DNR deliver the goods to an available campground in southern Michigan (try the Dunes at Hoffmaster State Park), they also teach you how to pitch a tent, work the stove, and start a fire. You just have to show up with the rest of your supplies (like food, water, and a sleeping bag) and a willingness to roll up your sleeves. While the program is free, the state parks charge $3 a night per camper and $9 a day per vehicle.

Camping in Yellowstone, Done for You

Imagine showing up on the shores of Yellowstone Lake to a pitched tent loaded with everything you need (including raised beds) as well as guides who take care of everything from meals to hiking and kayaking excursions. Outfitter Far and Away Adventures makes it real with a two-night luxury camping experience that runs $840 for adults and $760 for children. Road trippers to Yellowstone, this is a great way to dive into a backcountry camping experience if you haven’t the foggiest about how to do it right.

Book a Yurt in Wyoming

The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, a lux boutique ranch set on 15,000 acres of Wyoming’s North Platte River Valley, is offering a new high country Yurt experience this summer. For $600 a night for up to four people (added on to stays at the Lodge starting at $725 a person), the full shebang cowboy experience starts with a pack-trip on horseback, toting sleeping bags and, if you so desire, sporting chaps and a cowboy hat. Guests are accompanied by a wrangler and an activities director, who lead the uphill ride to the comfy 700-foot circular tent, prepare meals over a campfire, and arrange activities from hiking to trout pond fishing. At night, expect stargazing, s’mores, and guitar strumming.

Forget You’re Even Camping at Paws Up in Montana

Under big blue skies in the middle of the great wide open, glamorous camping or “glamping” at Paws Up will ruin ordinary camping forever. Stay at Cliffside Camp ($631 a night per person), new last summer and set high above the rushing Blackfoot River, in a huge tent with a king-size bed, layers of fluffy linens, and a full bathroom (heated floor and all). During the day, do cattle drives, skeet shooting, and the one-mile Grizzlyman Fitness Trail as well as the new horse wagon driving class, and even a new half-mile go-karting track. Visit on August 12 for an evening concert from Chicago’s own Scott Besaw and Scott Schaefer. Camping might never look so good.

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