The COVID-19 pandemic has summer looking very different than it ever has before, but what’s summer without a little getaway? It doesn’t take two weeks in Figi to feel like you’ve done something special, fortunately, since travel is off the table for now. This is the year to level up some summer classics that are well within reach and that enable you to follow CDC guidelines as you unwind and gain new appreciation of life’s little moments in the process.
We have one word for you: glamping. And we have eight easy suggestions that will take you from tent-in-the-backyard to camping’s luxurious cousin.
The outdoors are beautiful on their own, but that doesn’t mean your campsite doesn’t need a little sprucing up! Make your glamping spot feel like home with some fun, nature-friendly decorations that can be tied between trees. Bunting (colorful pennants strung together) is perfect for creating the sleepaway camp aesthetic your family might be missing out on this summer, and putting up battery-powered fairy lights outside or inside your tent means your family can keep having fun after the sun goes down. A small beautiful welcome mat tucked under the rain fly keeps the dirt outside the tent and signals that what’s inside isn’t your average sleeping bag.
Sleeping bags are a camping essential, but you’re not camping––you’re glamping.
So start instead with an inflatable mattress or an elevated cot. Add some cozy sheets, blankets, your favorite pillows and duvet, and you won’t even be able to tell that you’re not in your bed at home.
Glamping is all about experiencing the outdoors in comfort, and spending a lazy day reading and snacking on Chocolate Riot while lounging in a hammock is the definition of “lap of luxury”. You can even buy covered hammocks that double as tents, and some hammocks these days are as soft and supportive as mattresses, making them an alternative place to sleep at night as well as to nap during the day.
Jumbo lawn games
Speaking of what to do during the day, how about playing Giant Scrabble? Board games have become such a popular activity during stay at home orders, and there’s no need to give them up while outdoors. Normal outdoor party games like bocce ball and cornhole are truly only the beginning of what you can play while glamping with your family. Outdoor activity companies sell outdoor, supersized versions of your favorite board games––kind of like the life size chess games that Harry Potter and his friends played, but you move the pieces with your hands, not a magic spell.
Nothing says that being outdoors means you can’t have five star meals––in fact, from your campground you will be able to see FAR more than five stars, so why not make some meals to match? Campfires and portable propane stoves are more than sufficient for cooking delicious chilaquiles for breakfast, an herby black rice salad with radishes and ricotta salata for lunch, some coal-roasted eggplants and one-skillet roasted butternut squash with spiced chickpeas for dinner, and a blackberry camp cake for dessert. Start with ingredients that you prep at home and pop into ziplock baggies to make it super easy.
After dinner, glam up your classic s’mores by using creative add-ons. Spread some peanut butter on your graham crackers, or place some sliced strawberries in between the marshmallow and chocolate. And, of course, nothing improves a classic s’more like Chocolate Riot melted into a gourmet marshmallow.
Movie theaters are so 2019––in 2020, buy an outdoor projector to turn any backyard or campground into your own personal cinema. You can set up a backdrop by putting up a sheet between two trees or on the side of your van or tent, or if you really want to get fancy with it, you can also get an inflatable movie screen. The few movie theaters that are still open aren’t showing new movies anyway, so why not watch your old favorites in the great outdoors?
Let’s be real––no matter how comfortable and beautiful your sleeping arrangement is, you still might not sleep quite as well while glamping as you normally do. Instant coffee in lukewarm water is not going to cut it. Luckily, any of your favorite coffee appliances that you have in your kitchen at home are also available in outdoor-friendly versions. One perk of glamping is that you can keep your favorite daily routines, but make them a little extra special––why not pair your morning coffee with some Chocolate Riot? After all, you’re on vacation!