There's camping, and then there's glamping, which is the ultimate way to experience the outdoors without sacrificing comfort. Under Canvas, created by Sarah Dusek alongside her husband Jacob Dusek in 2009, offers luxurious glamping-style accommodations, all perfectly positioned to explore America’s most iconic national parks and monuments. The company taps into an immersive outdoor escape that serves as a bridge between travel and nature, while providing all the comforts of a home. Current locations include the Grand Canyon, Moab, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, Great Smoky Mountains, Mount Rushmore, Tucson — and coming soon is Yosemite, Sonoma, Joshua Tree, and Catalina Island.
Budget Level: Luxury Tents (rates from $189 per night)
Lodging Type: Glamping (eight camps and counting)
What You Need to Know
Each of the Under Canvas locations are totally unique, but all offer the same fundamental amenities. In the Glacier location, you can stay in a luxury tree house. Tucson is located on the Tanque Verde Ranch (just minutes from the Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest) and has an on-site swimming pool, tennis courts, sand volleyball, and a hot tub. But each have gorgeous glamping units, most with an option to book a stargazing tent or an adjacent "hive" that's ideal for families. What's more, your stay includes daily housekeeping and fluffy towels, plush king-size beds, luxurious linens, and en suite bathrooms (with a flushing toilet and hot water), plus a wood-burning stove for cool evenings. Wifi is not available at most locations, which is welcome respite and best for truly being in the most beautiful outdoor spaces.
The place looks as if it might be built for Instagram, with super cool interiors and chic common spaces (the Grand Canyon lobby tent is outfitted with West Elm furnishings). Here, guests gather for games, evening s'mores around a fire, and to discuss the day's hiking plans.
Who Will Love It
Under Canvas works for everyone from honeymooners (the stargazer tents are particularly romantic) to families. The properties are also pet friendly (with the exception of the Tucson camp), so you'll see plenty of cute pups, too.
Who Might Not
Those seeking air-conditioning, strong wifi, and conference rooms would be more comfortable in a traditional hotel.
The tents are pretty terrific. There's nothing like waking up to the sound of birds and feeling the fresh air — all from the comfort of your luxe down comforter. And, it's pretty special to enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck and make your own fire each evening. Second to that, the cafés are more than just fast casual fare. The Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, and Mount Rushmore locations all serve food; we enjoyed gourmet boxed lunches and dinners of quinoa salad, pan-roasted trout, and fantastic veggie burgers. There's wine and local beer, too.
Daily housekeeping, in-room towels, shampoo, and body wash. At the Yellowstone location, a daily breakfast is included.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
Room taxes are not included, and all excursions are extra. Each Under Canvas property has a dedicated team to help you plan excursions. For example, when staying at the Grand Canyon location, the staff can help arrange guided helicopter, hiking, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding tours in and around the Canyon.
How to Get a Deal
The company's Passport program encourages guests to visit each property with a stamp marking the occasion; once four unique stamps have been collected in the Passport, you’ll earn a free stay at the next unique camp of your choice.
Under Canvas operates locations in Yellowstone and Glacier in Montana; Moab and Zion in Utah; Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and Grand Canyon and Tucson, Arizona. More locations in California are coming soon.
The Bottom Line
For a one-of-a-kind vacation that combines luxury accommodations with the beauty of nature, a visit to Under Canvas takes bucket-list travel to a new level.