There are plenty of reasons why camping isn't everyone's idea of fun - bugs, wild animals, leaking tents and canned food to name a few. But there is a way to get back to nature without actually rolling around in it. It's called 'glamping' - glamorous camping.
Cushy camping originally started in the safari camps of Africa, where it still reigns supreme (popular choices include Tanzania's Serengeti Migration Camp, Botswana's Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp, and Kenya's Sanctuary Olonana), and the trend has since swept the world.
North America has really taken to it, with two glamping hotspots in particular - The Resort at Paws Up and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort - taking luxury to the wildest level. In fact, these 'glamps' were nominated by MSNBC as two of the world's 10 best spots for luxury camping.
Three levels of luxury at The Resort at Paws Up, Montana
It's hard not to think of the era of discovery as you wander the 37,000 acres of western wilderness that surrounds The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. Glampers can stay in one of three camps at this rural-glam hideaway: Tent City, River Camp and Creekside Camp (just unveiled this summer). Your canvas home features creature comforts like king-size beds and electricity - and then there's the master bathroom right next door with heated floors, rain showers and organic toiletries.
At night, glampers can gather around a bonfire for some bonding in the wild. A butler is on hand to attend to whims. Craving s'mores with dark-chocolate? They'll be brought to you within minutes. The chef whips up great fare using mainly local ingredients - think hand-made elk sausages and juicy pancakes with freshly picked huckleberries (take a look at the mouthwatering menu). There are plenty of ways to burn off the fine food, like rappelling off the historic Montana cliff or horseback riding through conifer forests. For slower options, try fly-fishing for trout on the banks of the legendary Blackfoot River or shooting clay pigeons. Highlight of the stay: watching the sun rise from the Adirondack chair on your 'tent's' wooden deck before heading off for pre-breakfast yoga among the ponderosa pines.
Bear-spotting in style at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, British Columbia
A bear orientation session kicks off your stay at Canada's Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. You may think it's a gimmick until you see a bear popping out of a forest on his berry-picking mission as you wander to your 'tent'. You really are deep in the wild here at the heart of UNESCO-protected Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve on Vancouver Island. The only way to reach it: by floatplane or boat.
The tents are waterfront retreats on cedar-planked floors, with Persian rugs and a four-poster bed. Compost outhouses are next door, with the rustic private shower cabins an occasionally scary stroll away (is that a bear rustling those leaves?). Most of the food is locally sourced, like the wild salmon and halibut from nearby waters and meaty delights like bison burgers.
After lunch, hike through old-growth rainforests with cedar boardwalks and lush fern gardens. A great day trek takes you to Strathcona Provincial Park across a rope suspension bridge and into serious backcountry. For ocean fun, take a whale-watching jaunt, and in late summer and early fall, catch the bears snacking on young hay shoots and feasting on spawning salmon. End the day with a soak in the wood-fired cedar hot tub and a body wrap with hand-harvested seaweed at the riverfront Healing Grounds spa.
So for those of you who want to get out in the wild but don't like all the hassle that goes with it, glamping might just be your answer. You can commune with nature - without getting it in your hair.
Been glamping? Got some places to recommend? Share your suggestions below.