— GLAMPING IN NORTH ALABAMA — The first questions that come to mind are, “What is glamping?” and “Why would Baby Boomers want to go glamping?” Glamping is the contraction of two words, “glamorous” and “camping.”
The concept originated to allow its participants to experience nature in all its glory while still having the comforts of home. Many Baby Boomers probably tried camping the old-school ways with plenty of roughing-it, sweat, and uncomfortable sleeping arrangements involved when they were younger. They still want to be in the woods or off the paths of chain hotels and interstates but don’t want to invest in the equipment, and they’ve really come to appreciate creature comforts. After all, tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, and lanterns are just the beginning of the requirements, and they aren’t cheap.
Other Boomers have envied their friends with the financial means of owning and maintaining a motorhome or travel trailer but don’t want those payments, the high gas prices while hitting the open road, or the storage dilemma when the RV is not in use. By booking a glamping site, you can have the luxury of a real bed and waking up to a quick cup of morning coffee without having to gather firewood and start a fire.
What to Expect While Glamping in North Alabama
Many sites go even further by providing television with cable channels, Wi-Fi, a toilet that flushes, hot and cold running water, and a full refrigerator. So rather than contending with the sound of endless traffic, you can enjoy idyllic views in serene settings.
Cabins and motorhomes are only two of the possibilities offered by GlampingHub.com. They also have treehouses, giant tents, refurbished campers, huts, trendy tiny houses, cottages, lake cabins with a boat included, and yurts on their list. Glamping resorts have also popped up where guests can enjoy jacuzzi spas and plush bathrobes. Glampers have a chance to try many lodging options without having to make any permanent purchases.
The second question is, “Why go glamping in North Alabama?” That answer is easy. North Alabama has a surprising number of notable features and attractions. Opportunities for fishing, boating, or skiing in the Wheeler Lake, Wilson Lake, or Guntersville Lake portions of the Tennessee River or the Lewis Smith Lake off the Sipsey River lure thousands of locals and visitors every year.
The Alabama Space and Rocket Center located in Huntsville is the state’s number one paid attraction. The Cook Museum of Natural Science in Decatur was recently voted the number one new museum in the United States. There are festivals, sports tournaments, and music events galore. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Alabama is recognized for its quality and beauty throughout the country. Muscle Shoals was where much musical magic was recorded. The list of reasons to visit North Alabama covers every taste and hobby imaginable, and don’t even get me started on the hushpuppies and fried okra.
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The ten sites described here are scattered across North Alabama. You can easily choose one that is close to attractions that interest you, or you can choose according to the amenities you desire and simply savor the unique setting.~Connie Pearson
1. Cabin By a Gurgling Creek Near Arab, Alabama
If you’ve ever wanted to isolate yourself and write the Great American Novel, this would be the place. The peace and tranquility are sure to relax you and inspire creative thoughts. The cabin is equipped with a full kitchen and an outdoor grill. The furniture is comfortable, the air conditioner and Wi-Fi work well, and the full bathrooms have plenty of hot water. A family of 4 or 5 will have room to spread out, and there’s a covered bridge, a small chapel, and a general store within an easy walk. If you don’t have time to stock up on groceries, a couple of local cafes are within 5-miles.
2. Lakeside Cabin With a Boat Near Clanton, Alabama
Being at the water’s edge is wonderful by itself. Still, when you add a boat for getting ON the water, this glamping site becomes even more attractive. With 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, there is ample room for a large family or group of friends. The lake views can be enjoyed from the screen porch or the deck while you grill your fresh catch for supper. A kayak and a motorboat are included in this rental, along with free Wi-Fi, cable television, and a full kitchen.
Lake Mitchell is near Clanton, Alabama. The Clanton area is famous for its peaches, pecans, Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, and the Ozan Winery and Vineyard.
3. Mountain Cabin Near Mentone, Alabama
Not only is this large cabin situated near some of the highest elevations of Alabama, it also has great views of Little River with 2 canoes available for exploring. Take a large group with you to this 2500 square-foot accommodation with 6 bedrooms, 5 ½ baths, a fireplace, loft, and 2 full kitchens. Up to 20 people can sleep here.
Mentone is a quirky, artsy village with several interesting shops. Where else can you visit both a ski resort and a dude ranch within just a few miles? In this case, it’s the Cloudmont Ski Resort and Shady Grove Dude Ranch. You’ll want to sample the famous Tomato Pie at the Wildflower Café or have a meal at Green Leaf Grill in town. In its past life, the building was used as an American Indian trading post.
4. Tiny House Near Kimberly, Alabama
HGTV has made the tiny house concept and movement wildly popular. Have you ever wondered what it would actually be like to live or stay for a while in one of them? Here is a great chance to have that experience. This tiny house is in a secluded, wooded setting near the town of Kimberly but is still less than 30 minutes away from Alabama’s largest city of Birmingham.
The house has 2 queen beds with memory foam mattresses and many green features, such as a composting toilet, a solar electrical system (with a backup generator), and a wood heater. Perfect for glamping in North Alabama.
5. Remote Cottage Near Cullman, Alabama
A family of 4 or 2 couples would be very comfortable glamping in North Alabama in this private cabin with views of nature and a bubbling creek nearby. With an electric fireplace indoors and a firepit outdoors, this is a great place to settle in for long conversations. The walk-in shower features Bluetooth speakers, and the kitchen has all you need for meal preparations.
The city of Cullman is known for its German roots and for the Ave Maria Grotto. The homemade orange rolls served at All-Steak are legendary. The shops along 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Avenues SE have a wide variety of alluring merchandise, in case you want to venture out from the solitude for a few hours.
6. Refurbished Airstream Near Crane Hill, Alabama
This glamping site is the perfect time to try RV life on for size. This Airstream has the added benefit of location with views of Smith Lake and access to a boat dock. BYOB here means “Bring Your Own Boat.”
Inside, the space is designed for a couple with a queen-size bed, a shower, sink, and toilet. The kitchen is small but adequate for preparing light meals or snacks and breakfast.
There is always plenty of action on Smith Lake. If you don’t have your own boat, check out several boat rental companies on the lake or settle back, relax and watch from the shore.
7. Spacious Mobile Home Near Kimberly, Alabama
Escape from the crowded highways of Birmingham to a getaway less than an hour’s drive north. Enjoy a full kitchen, three bedrooms, a large flat yard in the front and back for games, a firepit, a master bath with a luxurious soaking tub, and a flatscreen television with access to your favorite Netflix or Disney+ shows. You can keep the indoor temperature at a comfortable setting, then venture outdoors to soak up the beauty and privacy of nature. Take some groceries, and you won’t have any reason to leave this off-the-grid setting.
8. Woodsy Cabin With Hot Tub Near Arab, Alabama
Watch the drama and color of changing seasons from this well-equipped cabin near Arab, Alabama, with Lake Guntersville also within an easy drive. The size is perfect for a couple or a couple plus a small child. There are several other cabins nearby that share a hot tub and a patio for lighting a cozy fire.
The attached porch is a great vantage point, and the kitchenette is convenient for preparing snacks and quick meals. You can easily stay in or near the cabin for your entire visit. Otherwise, a 10-minute drive to Arab will bring shops and several restaurants. A little further away, Lake Guntersville has a beautiful 6000-acre state park known for golf, largemouth bass fishing, and chances to observe and photograph Bald Eagles.
9. Large Luxury Tent Near Ashland, Alabama
For someone who really wants to enjoy tent camping but prefers a comfortable bed, this North Alabama glamping site is for you. A large spacious tent on a platform rather than directly on the ground is the perfect solution. The bathroom is a few steps away, as is the firepit and the stream for trout fishing.
A grill is on the premises, but you’ll need to take your own food, cookware, dishes, and utensils. Or you can drive a short distance and try local favorites such as Ray’s BBQ or Miss Anita’s Café. Ashland is a short drive from Mt. Cheaha, Lake Harris, and Talladega National Forest.
10. Treehouse With Dramatic Windows Near Crane Hill, Alabama
Arguably the most unique of these 10 glamping sites is this beautifully decorated treehouse near Smith Lake and the Bankhead National Forest. Designed for a couples’ getaway, the treehouse has a queen-size bed, an indoor bathroom with a tub, and an outdoor shower for two. There is a separate grilling deck on the same level with the main rooms and a firepit on the ground level.
The kitchen area provides a coffeemaker, fridge, and microwave, so plan for simple meals that make use of the grill. This is NOT a place for Wi-Fi or cable television. This IS a place for soaking up the scenes provided by floor-to-ceiling windows and birds’ eye views.
Glamping sites come in all comfort levels, from tents for two with no air conditioning but plenty of amenities to large cabins for 20 people with a boat and everything in between. I have found GlampingHub.com to respond promptly to inquiries and be very thorough in their communications and preparations. If you are concerned about accessibility issues, you can easily see from the photos they provide whether a site would suit your needs or not. With the wide range of options, it is very likely that what you’re looking for is available.
Many Baby Boomers have memories of great times in the outdoors from childhood and earlier days. Glamping is a way to relive those times while only investing in the nightly rate, the gas to get to a site, and the cost of a few groceries. Everything else is provided. Choose a location and a date and try it for yourself.
*Opening photo ©MaryGo