By Dakota Parks for Pensacola Magazine
In our fast-paced world, sometimes it’s hard to find the time to breathe, disconnect from our phones and computers and smell the pine trees and crackling campfire logs. Camping has always been a summertime staple, but for many the cost of purchasing gear, setting up camp and waking up to an aching back is a turn off. Glamping offers a luxurious solution to many of these woes allowing people to connect with nature and keep their household comforts. Plus, if you prefer primitive tent camping, there’s room for you too! There is no need to settle or argue about the choice of classic camping or fancy glamping. You can pack up your favorite camping gear while your friends or family members camp out next door to you in a cabin, cottage, tiny house or decked out glamping tent, then come together to enjoy the rivers, lakes, woods and beaches around you. Both camping and glamping are also great weekend getaways that still abide by the recommended social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Fancy Camps is a luxury camping company based out of Santa Rosa Beach that strives to provide the old- fashioned camping experience with a modern twist. Since 2015, they have partnered with Florida State Parks to provide glamping services to guests. With operations currently in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, guests can experience the great outdoors with a middle ground between staying in a cabin and primitive tent camping. The canvas bell tents are equipped with AC and heat, queen beds with linens, seating areas, exterior lighting and extra outlets for small electronics. Fancy Camps also runs a camp store, recreational rentals and a sister business Kith + Kin, a coffee shop on site. In the next few months they will be creating a glamping village as they begin the development of 10 new sites for canvas bell tents.
7009 Creek Stone Rd, Milton, Florida
Running alongside Big Coldwater Creek, Coldwater Gardens is home to beautiful glamping accommodations, gardens to tour featuring produce, European honeybees, aquaponics and hydroponics and, of course, the creek to swim in and enjoy. Guests can choose from a variety of accommodations including hillside tent camping, platform tent camping, a tiny-house cabana, glamping tents, eco-design cottages and a modern treehouse. Whether you want to try out tiny living, gaze at the stars from the treehouse or stargazer platforms, or kick back in the luxury glamping tents, Coldwater Gardens has you covered.
12375 Shammah Rd, Holt, FL
Located on 48 acres of campground along the Blackwater River, Blackwater Joe’s is known for its cabins, camping and river adventures. In addition to $40 RV hook-ups and $15 a night primitive tent camping, there are three rustic cabins for rent—the lodge, villa safari and country cottage all with indoor kitchens, bath, AC and linens. Whether you relax in the cabins that sleep 6-8 people or tent camp overnight, the river is where everyone spends the day. With kayak, canoe and tube rentals and various day trip packages, a shuttle transports you to drop points along the river, allowing you to float or paddle back to your car or tent. If that’s not enough, coming soon after the busy summer season is over, Blackwater Joe’s is expanding to offer several glamping tents for rent.
Twin Lakes Camping Resort
580 Holley King Rd, DeFuniak Springs, FL
Nestled on King Lake and Holley Lake, Twin Lakes Camping Resort is the perfect spot to kick back and relax fishing, swimming or taking a boat or kayak rental out on the lake for the day. The campground features a swimming pool, bathhouse, 55 RV hook-up sites, five cabin rentals, two lake houses and several glamping/eco tents. The cabins, lake houses and glamping tents are fully furnished with all the household comforts. Twin Lakes’ glamping tents put the glamor in camping with running water, sinks, toilets, small fridge, microwave, fire pits with cooking grills, a large cooler for drinks, picnic tables and AC/heat. Don’t forget the furry companion— many of the rental suites and glamping tents are pet friendly!
10005 US-98, Miramar Beach, FL
Of all the beautiful lakes, rivers and creeks in the Panhandle, we can’t forget about glamping on the beach! Camp Gulf is located on Miramar Beach and offers the most luxurious beach get- away trip. Dig your toes in the sand in comfort with just a short walk from the campground to the beach. Along with RV hook-ups, cabins and beach house rentals, Camp Gulf now offers small and large glamping tents. The small tents feature two single beds, a stand-alone AC, covered porch and a charging station for electronics. The upgrade to the large tent features a kitchen, bathroom, king beds, sofa and TV and several other amenities. Be sure to check out Camp Gulf’s recreational rentals like golf carts, paddle boards and floating islands, as well as the pool featuring a big water slide.