10 Resorts for Nature Lovers Who Hate to Camp
Not everyone was cut out for tents and sleeping bags. These resorts are for you.
Photo By: Omni Homestead Resort
Photo By: Big Cedar Lodge
Photo By: Tenaya Lodge
Photo By: Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa
Photo By: Heather Anne Thomas
Photo By: Calistoga Ranch
Photo By: Primland
Photo By: Twin Farms
Photo By: Shore Lodge
Photo By: Sunriver Resort
Omni Homestead Resort
There's just something about the great outdoors. Breathing in the fresh air, rising early for a mountain sunrise, splashing in a trickling stream. Then there are mosquitos, leaky tents and portable toilets. So, maybe not so great, unless you can pair the wonders of nature with modern conveniences, like room service and hot stone massages. Now we're talking. For those who prefer high-thread count sheets to scratchy sleeping bags, we've got you covered. Here are our favorite resorts that let you explore nature by day and enjoy sophisticated cuisine and craft cocktails by night.
The historic Omni Homestead Resort sits on 2,000 pristine acres in the small village of Hot Springs, Virginia (population: 738). This secluded mountain resort has been welcoming guests – including 23 U.S. presidents – since 1766. Outdoor activities of all kinds make this resort a destination on its own. As in, no need to leave. Try shooting, ziplines, horseback riding, archery, golf, skiing, even falconry. A 3.5-mile Cascades Gorge Hike is one of the most well-attended outdoor activities, taking guests to see a series of waterfalls. In summer, the mini golf course, spring-fed water park, and lawn games, like cornhole, are especially popular with families. Nearly a half-dozen on-site restaurants appeal to all tastes and cravings.
Big Cedar Lodge
For rustic elegance, look to Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri's Ozark Mountains. This world-class wilderness resort spans 4,600 acres across rolling hills and lush, forested canyons. Book a private wildlife tour at Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, which is also well-suited for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Take in the spectacular views from 40 feet up on the Timber Ridge Ropes Course, lounge by the lake or get in a round of mini golf on the nine-hole course that requires guests to putt through the mouth of a gigantic Big Bass. Stay in a luxurious lodge room, rent a charming cottage or glamp it up at Camp Long Creek, the resort's brand new glampsite.
For towering evergreens and slow-moving streams, not to mention giant sequoias, book a nature-centric stay at Tenaya Lodge in Fish Camp, CA. Just minutes from Yosemite National Park's south gate, Tenaya Lodge wows with a rustic mountain ambiance, culinary sophistication and first-class spa treatments, like the Mirror Lake Skin Polish. Arrange an all-day tour of Yosemite with one of the lodge's expert local guides, then settle in at Embers for Sesame Crusted Salmon or Grilled Moroccan Lamb Chops. In June, new Explorer Cabins made their debut, allowing guests to sleep tucked away in the forest, yet able to enjoy full access to resort amenities, like swimming pools, guided hikes and an impressive fitness center.
Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa
For clay pigeon shooting, guided geology hikes and scenic trail rides across a landscape of spectacular desert and red rock canyons, set your sights on Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa. Situated in Western Colorado, this full-service resort boasts 58 well-appointed guest rooms, as well as 14 luxurious one- and two-bedroom casitas, each with awe-inspiring canyon views. Stop in at the on-site Adventure Center to sign up for daily mountain biking, UTV tours and horseback rides to take in the sublime, yet rugged landscape. In the evening, elegant restaurants wow with signature dishes, like Cast Iron Scallops.
Tucked away at the base of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Blackberry Farm, a bucolic 4,200-acre estate in East Tennessee. Nature-loving guests enjoy easy access to the park's 900 miles of biking and hiking trails thanks to a location that's just 15 minutes from the Townsend park entrance. Hike to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, then bike along the popular Cades Cove Loop. Back at the resort, take in a daily cooking demonstration, slow down on a horse-drawn carriage ride or indulge in a spa treatment, like a Hesse Creek Stone Massage.
Nestled into a canyon in California's Napa Valley, Calistoga Ranch boasts 157 acres of aromatic vineyards, mighty oak trees and rocky streams. Fifty secluded guest lodges allow guests to luxuriate in nature thanks to patio hot tubs, gas fireplaces and refreshing outdoor rain showers. Join a weekly guided hike that take guests to Davis Estates Winery for an exclusive wine tasting. Test your skills on the private bocce court or paint colorful landscapes in a private painting lesson in the vineyard or overlooking a creek. For little ones, the resort's "Fun Around the Sun" features outdoor adventures, like tending to beehives, as well as regionally-inspired activities, like stomping wine grapes.
Situated on 12,000 acres in Virginia's majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Primland offers the ultimate retreat for nature lovers. From fly fishing to horseback riding to kayaking on the Talbott Reservoir, even nature walks and tree climbing, there are multiple ways to enjoy the region's exquisite scenery. Enjoy premium high-thread count sheets and in-room fireplaces in one of the lodge rooms. Or, get even closer to nature with a stay in one of the resort's three Tree Houses. These beautifully-appointed cabins are built into tree top branches, affording sweeping views of the Kibler Valley. Innovative farm-to-table dishes, like elk with baby beets and shitakes, await at Elements.
In Central Vermont, all-inclusive (and adults-only) Twin Farms offers multiple accommodation styles across 300 acres of verdant forest, rolling farmland and wildflower meadows. For an intimate stay, book one of 10 comfortably elegant cottages with screened porches, woodstoves and fireplaces. Alternatively, stay in one of four well-dressed rooms in the Main House, each of which boast picture windows, rustic artwork and in-room fireplaces. Embrace nature with a paddle on Copper Pond or a hike across miles of nature trails. Seasonal dishes with locally-grown vegetables and herbs grace the menu in the dining room of the Main House.
As one of the top-rated resorts in Idaho, Shore Lodge in McCall enchants from the get-go thanks to its location on the south shore of glittering Payette Lake and sweeping views of Brundage Mountain (home to a popular ski resort in winter). Many of the resort's 77 luxurious rooms and suites face the glacial-fed lake, allowing guests to embrace the natural landscape even before leaving the room for the day. Check out a complimentary cruiser bike or take to the water on a stand-up paddleboard or canoe. After a full day, indulge in an aromatherapy massage or exfoliating body treatment at The Cove, the resort's on-site spa.
Set on 3,300 acres in Central Oregon – just 15 miles from Bend – sits Sunriver Resort. This all-season resort is a spacious home base for rafting along the Deschutes River in summer and skiing at nearby Mt. Bachelor in winter. It's easy to take in the natural beauty of the region while soaking up views of the spectacular Cascade Mountain Range. Rent a bike from the Bike Barn to explore more than 40 miles of on-property bike trails or get in a round of golf on one of four golf courses. Breathe in the fresh mountain air during outdoor yoga classes offered six days a week. A variety of dining options, both indoor and outdoor, feature locally-sourced ingredients and regional dishes, like Oregon Albacore Tuna.