Luxurious tenting experiences close to Montgomery County, Maryland

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Depot Lodge’s luxury glamping tents in Paint Bank, Virginia feature private bathrooms, king-size beds and an exclusive pond. Photo courtesy of The Depot Lodge

“I’m inside,” a friend once quipped — and he’s not alone. For every person willing to rough it up in the name of communicating with Mother Nature, there’s a 40-year-old for whom sleeping on the floor is no longer an option, a family member who is deathly afraid of spiders, and a wannabe Campers who couldn’t pitch a tent to save their lives.

Luckily, some enterprising folk have added a bit of glamor to the landscape by outfitting luxury tents, yurts, and tiny huts with proper beds, rugs, pillows, and armchairs. The shelters are small enough to spend much of the day outdoors, but promise to invigorate every night with a good night’s sleep – not to mention protection from the elements when the weather doesn’t cooperate. (I’m certainly not the only one who has woken up to a river running through her tent during an unexpected midnight rain.)

Here are five places within about a four-hour drive where you can unplug and take in all the beauty that nature has to offer without risking breaking your back — or even a nail.

Located in Poconos, Pennsylvania, Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort offers tents overlooking a 90-acre lake. Photo courtesy of Campground Studios

Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort

North of Scranton in Pennsylvania’s Poconos, adventurous families and couples young at heart will find the summer camp of their dreams. Many of the spacious, safari-inspired tents here overlook a 90-acre lake, and all feature queen-size beds, porches with rocking chairs, fire pits, free Wi-Fi, heating, electricity, and coffee makers, among other amenities. The larger family tents are also equipped with two single beds. All tent campers use the shared bathhouses.

On-site fun at this family-run, accessible operation includes fishing, boat rentals, a nursery, movie nights, playgrounds, a solar-heated pool, and basketball and volleyball courts. Common spaces like a large ring of fire and the group pavilion — where games, events, and activities take place — help people make quick friends when the urge to socialize hits.

Further afield, explorers will find farmers markets, waterfalls, nature preserves, golf courses, drive-in cinemas and museums. And with the season running through mid-October, there are plenty of fall activities celebrating the harvest and Halloween, and even a Harry Potter weekend.

Prices start at $159 per night for a furnished two-person tent; Linen is not included. 155 Keen Lake Road, Waymart, Pennsylvania, 570-488-6161, poconomountainsglamping.com

Guests staying in yurts at the Savage River Lodge in Western Maryland receive daily muffins and juice delivered to their door. Photo courtesy of Veronica Varos Photography

Savage River Lodge

This scenic western Maryland location hosts year-round guests in yurts and cabins surrounded by 1,500 acres of tranquil state forest.

Here, yurts look more like a luxurious resort room than a tent in the woods – think king-size beds, heated floors, fluffy bathrobes, wine glasses, private bathrooms, mini-fridges, and comfy chairs for you and a good book. Muffins and juice are delivered to your door daily, and linens and toiletries are provided. The swanky two-story cabins also feature soaking tubs in the bathrooms and verandas with rocking chairs.

Savage River Lodge welcomes children, but bills itself as an “adult-centric resort” — which means there are no babysitting services or kid-friendly programs. Whether you have kids in tow or not, historic Frostburg offers three stops on the Allegany County Ice Cream Trail. Hikers and cyclists may be interested in another nearby trail, the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile trail through valleys, mountains and rivers.

End your day at the glampsite lodge with a boulevardier cocktail by the fireplace in the Great Room, or meet some new friends by the glow of the nightly campfire outside on the east porch.

Prices start at $275 per night for a double occupancy cabin; $295 for yurts. 1600 Mount Aetna Road, Frostburg, Maryland, 301-689-3200, savageriverlodge.com

Cellular and Wi-Fi are patchy at The Depot Lodge, where accommodation options include tents, a renovated galley and an Airstream caravan. Photo courtesy of The Depot Lodge

The Depotlog

You don’t have to be a railroad enthusiast to appreciate the understated charm of this former Norfolk & Western railroad station-turned-recreational destination in the mountains northwest of Roanoke, Virginia.

Couples, friends and families can choose their own adventure as the property offers such unique accommodations as a renovated one bathroom galley, gas fireplace and creekside patio; three luxurious en-suite glamping tents with king-size beds and an exclusive pond; and a 26-foot 1967 Airstream trailer renovated with a retro-chic vibe. The property also rents out rooms in the former depot and a restored hotel, as well as entire cabins, a cottage, and a house, which is useful to know since some of the options — like the tents and the Airstream — are only rented out seasonally.

Visitors should be prepared to really unplug, as cellular and Wi-Fi are spotty. But hey, you’ll be all the more present to enjoy everything the area has to offer, like hiking trails, fishing, whitewater rafting, and weekend craft shopping at the quaint grist mill.

Standard nightly rates are $159 for the galley; $219 for the glamping tents; and $169 for the Airstream. 16071 VA-311, Paint Bank, Va., 540-897-6000, depotlodge.com

The cabins and most cottages at the Shenandoah Valley Resort Iris Inn are couples only. Photo courtesy of Iris Inn

Iris Inn

The cozy yet modern digs, on-site spa, and proximity to wineries and hikes like Humpback Rock and Crabtree Falls make this wooded Shenandoah Valley resort a popular spot for anniversaries and other couples’ celebrations.

Yes, there are two properties suitable for families—but this collection of cabins, cottages, and a main inn makes for a romantic getaway. In fact, like most cottages, the cabins, outfitted with king-size beds, private Jacuzzis, screened decks, and fireplaces, are couples-only. So give yourself permission to leave the kids with grandparents and indulge in a post-pandemic reconnection of sorts.

Photo courtesy of Iris Inn

Add-ons like the Chocolate Lovers package, the Wine Down & Relax package, and the Anniversary package — the last of which includes a bottle of Virginia wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, rose petals, and two fluffy bathrobes — might make this difficult to ever leave Room. Local art on the walls, smart tablets with information for guests, and fire pits on the lawn are three more reasons to stay on-site.

But when you’re ready to lose sight of the 19-acre property’s panoramic views and venture outside, head to Waynesboro or nearby Staunton for shopping, museums, breweries, theaters and world-class dining in famous spots like The Shack and find Zynodoa.

Rates start at $639 per night for cabins and $527 per night for cottages. 191 Chinquapin Drive, Waynesboro, Virginia, 540-943-1991, irisinn.com

Blue Moon Rising’s heated cabins feature a kitchen and full bath, as well as an outdoor shower. Photo courtesy of Blue Moon Rising

Rising Blue Moon

The main draw of this village of 14 quirky, tiny, eco-conscious cottages is easy access to a myriad of outdoor activities. Proximity to the Wisp Resort and location on the shores of Marsh Run Cove in front of Deep Creek Lake in Maryland means skiing, boating, horseback riding, swimming, white water rafting, hiking, paddling, kayaking, golfing, carriage/sleigh rides and fishing -you call it. The dog-friendly property promises lake access, free Wi-Fi, nightly campfires, and hiking trails that meander across its 116 acres.

The owners try so hard to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that guests park in a parking lot at the entrance to the community and are transported to the cottages along with their luggage to avoid intrusion of headlights, car noise, and exhaust fumes.

Property near Maryland’s Deep Creek Lake is dog friendly. Photo courtesy of Blue Moon Rising

Each heated cabin has been designed to complement the landscape and is constructed primarily from reclaimed, recycled and eco-friendly materials. All have kitchens stocked with essentials, as well as full indoor bathrooms (and a bonus outdoor shower for the warmer months) stocked with towels and organic soap. Most cabins can easily accommodate two adults and two children, but each has different bedding configurations, so keep that in mind when booking.

Rates are $225 per night for weekdays and $249 per night for weekends. 89 Blue Moon Rising Way, McHenry, Maryland, 240-442-5287, bluemoonrising.org

Rina Rapuano is a Washington, DC-based nutrition, parenting and travel writer. Like everyone else, she is eagerly awaiting the return of pandemic-free travel.