I could get used to this type of social distancing. An endless blanket of stars, dreamy meteor showers and a view of the Milky Way. Stunning sunsets and peaceful sunrises framing a fantastic view of majestic Arches National Park. Isolated in the desert; disconnected from the world yet connected to love ones.
While the idea of watching your significant other struggle to set up your temporary tent abode may sound deviously appealing, it can be extremely draining, pushing your frazzled patience to the limits. Tent construction, is often followed by immediate tent re-construction coupled with some choice expletives, due to “faulty” directions. Those stressful events often infecting the rest of the evening. Oh and don’t forget the extremes, either muggy sleepless nights or freezing blue toes depending on the time of year. The relentless mosquitos and the nasty bites they leave behind. Eating food out of a can and drinking water out of a “bladder.” Digging a hole to do the preform the most common of human functions and doing it all without a shower in sight.
Even though I find the word “glamping” fairly cringeworthy, it has opened my eyes to any entirely new world of camping. After a long day of hiking and site seeing, you can arrive to an elevated tent adorn with a comfortable mattress, cooling misters, wood burning stove, full bathroom (with hot water shower and flushing toilet) and clean towels and sheets. Although intrigued by glamping, I would usually gravitate to hotels or Airbnb accommodations, casting pour ol’ glamping back to the bottom of my bucket list. But this year, 2020, is different, isn’t it? So I finally pulled the trigger this summer while traveling Utah, and decided to see what all the glamping excitement was about.
With COVID warnings for traveling and social distancing on the forefront of our minds, there was no better time to experience glamping first hand than the present. An alternative to the busy hotels, glamping allowed us ample space to safely distance ourself from the Virus and coincidentally from other nutty tourists. Check-in at the Moab location required masks when entering the main tent and there was plenty of space to spread out throughout the camping site.
DISCOVERING UNDER CANVAS
LUXURY TENT OPTIONS
Under Canvas is a luxury tent experience located near two of Utah’s National Parks as well as several other beautiful settings around the country. Elevated tents come with different amenities for different price points. Accommodations range from shared triple twin bed tents with communal bathrooms to private tents with plush king sized beds, flushing toilets, hot water showers, wood burning heaters, bed viewing windows and misters to make you comfortable during winter or summer stays.
- Daily Housekeeping
- USB Battery Packs
- Grab N Go Snacks
- Fire pit & S’mores
- West Elm Furnishings
- Organic Bath Products
- Picnic Areas & Grills
- Guest Experience Coordinator
- Complimentary Camp Activities (Yoga, Live Music etc…)
Upon arrival (after 4pm), we were greeted by an energetic young women who not only made us feel welcome but shaved us up a welcome snow cone during the check-in process. Did I mention it was 105 degrees in August? After a quick and easy check-in process, we made our way to our tent. Our host informed us there would be also be live music that evening as well as sunrise yoga the following morning available at no charge. In the main lobby, there were an assortment of cold sodas, juices, to-go meals and snacks available for purchase or you could grab food in Moab just 15-20 minute drive away, or even bring groceries to the campsite and prepare food on grills located on site. We decided to keep it simple and grabbed take-out from a recommended Mexican joint called Gilberto’s Mexican Taco Shop which was very good.
We booked a night in a “suite” tent with en suite bathroom, sitting area with pullout couch and a king sized bed. This location is newer than some of the other properties so the tent and furnishings were still pretty new and it was spotless. The king bed was very comfortable, but as you can imagine the pullout sofa was extremely uncomfortable. Perhaps suitable for children, but would not recommend for adults. They did offer a roll away cot as another option for an additional charge. The shower had hot water and quality bath products were provided. Check out my video for a quick tour of our tent #23.
After settling in and devouring our Mexican food, we took showers and watched the sunset while sipping cold cocktails discussing our adventure packed day at Arches National Park. Although there is no WIFI available through the campgrounds, our cells phones had service (see Sean above – ha) and there were power packs available for charging phones. One important thing to be aware of, it that the Under Canvas, Moab location sits convenient but noisy, major road with a fair amount of traffic throughout the day and into the evening. I read about this before booking and requested a tent furthest away from the road. I always travel with ear plugs but I believe the facility also included some if requested?
Get plenty of beauty rest and rise early to catch the sunrise at least one morning during your stay. It was spectacular and worth the early wake up call. You can then head over to sunrise yoga. Also, don’t be too concerned about the summer heat (if traveling in the summer). It was 105 during the day, but cooled down enough at night to sleep comfortably. Under Canvas tents are equipped with tiny little nightstand fans for your slumber hours, but they are VERY small.
UNDER CANVAS LOCATIONS AND DATES OF OPERATION
- Lake Powell – Grand Staircase
- 2021: April 1 – October 31
- Location: 14 miles from main Lake Powell Marina
- Acadia (NEW)
- 2021 May 13 – October 31
- Location: 35 minutes from Acadia National Park
- Mount Rushmore
- 2020: June 19 – September 28
- 2021 May 6 – September 27
- Location: 4 miles from Mount Rushmore Monument
- Great Smoky Mountains
- 2020: June 11 – October 21
- 2021: April 1 – November 29
- Location: 10 miles from Gatlinburg
- Grand Canyon
- 2020: June 11 – October 26
- 2021: April 15 – October 25
- Location: 25 miles from South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon Park
- 2020: June 11 – September 8
- 2021: May 20 – September 6
- Location: 10 minutes from the west entrance
- 2020: June 4 – November 9
- 2021: March 11 – November 8
- Location: 20 miles from Zion main entrance
- 2020: July 1 – September 14
- 2021: June 10 – September 13
- Location: 7 miles to the entrance
- 2020: June 4 – October 26
- 2021: March 4 – October 25
- Location: 7 miles north of Moab; minutes to spend a Day at Arches National Park
- Coming soon
- Location: 20 miles from main entrance
- Joshua Tree
- Coming soon
- Location: 15 minute drive from main entrance
**Make sure to check website for date opening and closing changes.
I will say glamping comes at a cost and snagging a room at the last minute will not be cheap, at least not in Utah. It’s become a popular travel destination since COVID and deluxe tents ranged from $400-$600 a night at both Utah locations (Moab & Zion). **This was in August/September 2020. Check availability and costs on their website.
MAKE YOURSELF EVEN MORE COMFORTABLE
A FEW ADDITIONAL ITEMS TO BRING WITH YOU:
- Additional phone or electronics charge/battery pack
- Flip flops for walking around site and your tent
- A small folding cooler and ice – to keep drinks and other things cool
- A Chill Pal towel to keep you cool in the summer.
- Mask (2020) – must be worn in the main tent for check in and into shared rest rooms.
- Ear plugs and eye mask to sleep in (if you can)
- Drone – they did allow us to drone from the property – be respectful and do it away from the other tents.
Although not for the faint of pocket book, Under Canvas is conveniently located a 20-30 minute drive from Arches National Park. Check out My One Day Summer Visit to Arches National Park and to help plan your visit. Plan to drive west? You might want to check out my 10 Tips for Hiking the Narrows, Zion National Park, or my Day Trip to Bryce Canyon.
What do you think?