Where to Get the 72-Hour Swedish Cabin Experience Closer to Home
If you can't travel to Sweden, these U.S. locations provide similar camping benefits.
Photo By: Maja Flink
Photo By: Collective Retreats
Photo By: Ventana Big Sur
Photo By: Resort at Paws Up
Photo By: Primland Resort
Photo By: Douglas Merriam
Photo By: Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge
Photo By: SeeMonterey.com
Photo By: Under Canvas
Photo By: Eastwind Hotel and Bar
Photo By: Tops'l Farm
In 2017, as part of a tourism initiative to promote wellness in nature, Visit Sweden and the West Sweden Tourist Board launched the 72-Hour Cabin project on a remote Swedish island, where they performed a case study to demonstrate the health benefits from spending just 72 hours in nature. The tourism boards chose five people from abroad with stressful jobs, including a taxi driver from Paris, a police officer from Germany and a journalist from London. You can read more about the experiment and results here. If you can't travel to Sweden anytime soon, we found 10 places in the U.S. that replicate the Swedish cabin experience.
Collective Retreats, multiple locations
Collective Retreats is a luxury glamping company with sites in Yellowstone, Vail, Hill Country, Texas and the Hudson Valley in New York. Regardless of the location, large canvas tents possess electricity and outlets, 1,500-thread-count linens on king-size beds, hardwood floors with rugs and all of your furniture needs, including full-length mirrors. And this wouldn't be glamping without books, board games, wine glasses, filtered water and coffee and tea in each tent too. A walkway leads to a private bathroom in a separate tent, where a flush toilet, hot shower and full sink with mirror await. The bathroom is also well stocked with Turkish towels and robes, plus bath products. Dining options vary somewhat from camp to camp, but all include a free breakfast with locally sourced goods and evening s’mores. Picnic lunches are an add-on, as are farm-to-table dinners and outdoor barbecues. Collective Retreats can also arrange activities depending on the location. Keep an eye out for the newest camp on Governors Island in NYC. Governors Island is a popular day trip for locals, and accessible via a short ferry ride from Manhattan or Brooklyn. When Collective Governors Island opens on June 1, it will be the first accommodation on the 172-acre island. In a departure from other camps, this locale will also offer smaller tents with shared bathrooms, as well as high-end lodging equipped with kitchens in former shipping containers. In other news, a new Collective Sonoma addition is expected to open in 2019 near Cloverdale.
Ventana Big Sur, California
Yes, Ventana Big Sur is a proper five-star resort with a high-end spa, daily yoga classes and an afternoon wine and cheese pairing, but it also tosses in the option to glamp. The separate camp offers two sites: a more accessible location in the Redwoods, and a more remote spot in the Canyon, which is actually located in a canyon and requires walking. Both sites offer an Instagrammable bathhouse (marble vanities, teak showers), along with equally Instragram-ready tents and their hipster-worthy features. Highlights include handheld lanterns, heated blankets and a fire pit, plus a basket filled with wine glasses, a bottle opener, cheese knife and board, and, naturally, all the ingredients to make s’mores. Daily housekeeping and morning coffee are other perks, while access to resort amenities (pools, fitness room, social lounge) is available for an additional fee.
Resort at Paws Up, Montana
The five-star Resort at Paws Up covers all the glamping bases, offering six different campsites that possess subtle differences. For example, North Bank Camp can host larger families and is the most secluded, while Cliffside and Pinnacle camps offer spacious honeymoon tents: a freestanding copper tub at the foot of the bed is a standout feature. Regardless of the camp or tent, the high-end experience means staying in canvas tents that feel like a posh hotel suite. Rustic chic furnishings and electricity are all part of the experience, as are large bathrooms with heated, tiled floors and the kind of sinks, showers and toilets one would find in a luxury hotel. What’s missing are TVs and Wi-Fi, although the latter is available at each camp's open-air dining pavilion. Each camp also features a dedicated camp butler who takes care of everything from getting that campfire started to arranging outdoor activities. Last but not least, amazing scenery features into the experience, especially tents that overlook Blackfoot River — the inspiration behind the 1992 movie A River Runs Through It starring Brad Pitt.
Primland Resort, Virginia
Located in the Meadows of Dan section of the Blue Ridge Mountains, both of which compete for the title of most gorgeous scenery, the main lodge at Primland Resort already feels like a retreat. But to really decompress in nature, opt for one of the three treehouses that are within driving distance of the main building. Each cedar-wood cabin surrounds a tree and comes with a king-sized bed, electricity and private bath. And while the décor and elevation for each one differs, the views are equally enviable, especially when your treetop bed overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. But plenty of activities encourage taking advantage of the property’s 12,000 acres, not limited to horseback riding, watersports, a stargazing observatory and even tomahawk throwing. As for meals, options range from a formal farm-to-table restaurant to a more casual space in a former horse stable, where guests can enjoy a weekly chuck wagon-style buffet.
Sandy Pines Campground, Maine
The old-school Sandy Pines Campground near Kennebunkport is now in its second year, and with new glamping options this season. Come June 2018, campers can opt for A-frame cabins or tiny homes on wheels. The former, called Hideaway Huts, fit a queen-sized bed and two people. The latter, called Camp Carriages, are a tad roomier with a king-sized bed and a small fridge. They’re also air-conditioned. Then there are four new glamping tents in addition to the existing 12. The tents are the roomiest way to go, with more than 400 square feet containing a king-sized bed, ample lighting and cozy seating nooks. Bathrooms are shared regardless of the lodging type, but each accomodation offers private outdoor space with fire pits. Just know that you’ll have to provide everything for cooking, including matches and wood. Luckily there’s also casual food available on-site, ranging from breakfast sandwiches and coffee to pre-ordered lobster dinners. And since this is a campground there are plenty of ways to connect with nature, plus bikes, kayaks and paddleboards are available to rent. Rounding out the camp experience are weekly events like ice cream socials.
Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, Alaska
The seasonal Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge on Fox Island is so remote that it requires a 45-minute boat ride from the nearest town of Seward. While en route, it’s not uncommon to spy whales, sea lions or puffins. Once there, you’ll find the lodge with a destination restaurant, eight cabins and nothing else but the great outdoors. Rustic cabins provide just the right amount of comfort with a queen-size bed, sleeper sofa and water views, and lack unnecessary distractions like TVs and phones. Note that electronic devices can only be charged in the main lodge, since cabins lack outlets. But you shouldn’t miss being connected since the lodge stay includes a two-hour guided kayaking tour, plus a glacier and wildlife cruise on the day of departure. Additional kayaking tours are also available for a fee. But despite being surrounded by nature, the overall experience is far from primitive, as guests can also decompress with a glass of wine in the lodge’s light-filled lounge or eat upscale seasonal fare like fresh salmon in the dining room.
Treebones Resort, California
Yurts, a twig hut and a human nest are among the camping options at Treebones Resort in Big Sur. The yurts, a round tent structure, are a comfortable choice, outfitted with queen-sized beds, electricity and a sink. All yurts share a communal bathhouse. The next level of glamping involves what’s dubbed the Autonomous Tent, a 500-square-foot cocoon-like structure that looms over the Big Sur coastline. Here you’ll find a solar-paneled shelter with its own bathroom, gas fireplace, king-size bed and zero neighbors. But to really connect to nature, try spending a night in the unlikely-to-find-anywhere-else options of the Twig Hut or Human Nest (pictured). Both are similar, but the former has two levels, including a writing nook, while the latter requires ladder access. Come prepared with a sleeping bag, food and any other necessary camping gear, since neither structure is protected by the elements. (Oh, and you might have raccoons or bats as bedfellows.) But unlike a remote campsite, bathrooms, water and an on-site restaurant are all within walking distance. Speaking of the latter, the restaurant is available for all of the lodging options, and specializes in locally sourced food. In an unusual twist for a glampsite, there’s even a sushi bar that offers a traditional Omakase tasting menu. Be sure to make reservations well in advance.
Under Canvas, multiple locations
Under Canvas has combined the best of vacationing in nature with the comforts of sleeping in a proper bed since 2009. Current locations are spread across the U.S. near national parks, with sites close to the parks in Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier and Zion. Zion just opened in summer 2017, while Mount Rushmore will be opening in May 2018. Stay tuned for a Great Smoky Mountains camp come August, and a Grand Canyon addition in 2019. Otherwise, commonalities among all the locations are the signature, safari-style white canvas tents on wooden platforms, king-sized beds and minimal yet comfortable furnishings. Most tents are also equipped with a basic private bathroom; bathhouses are available for those that aren’t. Some tents even offer wood-burning stoves, a stargazing window above the bed and neighboring teepees. Each camp can also arrange activities that highlight the area. For example, the Mount Rushmore locale offers gold panning, Yellowstone arranges fly-fishing, while Glacier tempts with llama trekking. But plan ahead, since each camp is seasonal, with different schedules operating from March 1 through November 19.
Eastwind Hotel and Bar, New York
Eastwind Hotel and Bar in the Catskills is among the newest entries to the glamping scene, with a planned June 2018 opening. The one-time bunkhouse has been converted into a small year-round hotel, but nature enthusiasts should opt for one of three A-frame cabins in the surrounding woods up the hill from the hotel. Though each one is just 220 square feet, the cabins squeeze in a queen-size bed fitted with Frette linens, Faribault wool blankets and storage chests. Full insulation means the cabins are available year-round, while a triangular picture window makes the most of Windham Mountain views. Bathrooms are private, but separate from the cabins. Amenities include grilling equipment for a fire pit as well as a wildlife journal. Other outdoor amenities are there for the asking, whether you need to borrow rain boots to forage in the woods in the warmer weather, or snowshoes for winter hiking. Glamping guests also have access to a pool, sauna and hot tubs.
Tops’l Farm, Maine
Tops’l Farm provides just enough creature comforts so that you can focus on becoming one with nature. Lodging options involve canvas tents perched on wood platforms that are large enough to fit two beds (and two people) and simple furnishings like a small nightstand, but not much else. However, linens and thick blankets are provided, as are wood and matches for the outdoor fire pit, battery-powered lights and more. There are also A-frame cabins that are insulated, making them a viable year-round option. Like the tents, they’re elevated on platforms and can fit two people. The same amenities that are provided for the tents are available for the cabins as well, along with access to a picnic area for creating a campfire. Another commonality is that both sites share a bathhouse with outlets for charging electronic devices, since tents and cabins lack electricity. Luckily add-ons are available for those who want to add more glamp to the experience, whether that means ordering all the ingredients to make a hearty breakfast in a cast-iron skillet, or arranging a French Press coffee kit delivery. The farm can also pack picnic baskets or prepare packages with cocktail mixes. Plus, guests can book activities in advance, such as foraging in the woods, working on outdoor skills like building a fire, or even learning how to make cheese. Take note that archery and ax throwing are especially popular.