Gone Glamping!

Glamping is an international phenomenon, evolving in the last decade as outdoor enthusiasts upgrade their tents and sleeping bags for more luxurious surroundings. These travelers demand positive camping experiences without the negatives, according to the website, glamping.com.

Google Trends noted the keyword search for the trend began in 2007. The searches were most saturated in Ireland and the UK. Today, in the United States, the West Coast has the highest saturation of glamping searches, followed by Colorado, New York, the Great Lakes region and the East Coast.

Some say the millennial generation had a large part in creating the glamping craze. This generational cohort (18-35) has money to spend,a desire for immersion in culture and experiences, friends and family to travel with and the latest in digital technology to post their excursions for all to see. Businesses have noted the trend and in NEPA and beyond they are helping travelers check off travel experiences on their bucket lists.

Darien Lake Theme Park Resort, operated by Premier Parks LLC, built its first glamping units in 2012. Today, the park resort has 40 ready-made canvas tents on wooden platforms equipped with table and chairs and outside fire rings. Darien Lake appeals to couples and families that want a unique getaway, because of the wide variety of park experiences for all ages, said Mary Best, Darien Lake Resort public relations manager. “Glamping is a great way to get that comfy, relaxing vacation experience while still enjoying the outdoors and the sounds of nature,” she said. “Each tent is about a five-minute walk down a path to the theme park, putting you steps away from all the action. Or, if you want to take a break during the day, you have a quiet, serene place to go back and relax.”

The park is located 45 minutes from Niagara Falls between Buffalo and Rochester, NY, and has more than 50 rides, including six world-class roller coasters, dozens of family-friendly rides and entertainment, the region’s largest water park complete with wave pool and a 20,000-seat world-class performing arts center operated by Live Nation. A full events calendar features free concerts and festivals and more.

Best said Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is Darien Lake Theme Park Resort’s best Pennsylvania market. “We book more reservations from there than Erie and Pittsburgh, which are closer geographically.”

The park is open May 6 to October 1 and welcomes overnight guests in a wide range of accommodations– from a full-service hotel and modern cabins to rental RVs and campsites. Rates for a glamping tent start at $139/night (late June) and includes theme and water park admission for two
people. Visit www.Darien-Lake.com.

Cattaraugus County in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York is home to a state park, an Amish trail, parks, a casino and The Woods at Bear Creek. John Hutchins bought 750 acres of forests and meadows for his vision in 2011, in the town of Franklinville, and brought the glamping concept to Western New York, said Michael Crimi, executive director, The Woods at Bear Creek.

The resort brings glamping to new heights with fully-furnished, climate-controlled cabins, full baths, large living rooms with leather furniture and bedroom linens as well as golf carts to navigate the property. To meet other like-minded visitors, a communal fire pit is lit every night. On site are basketball and tennis courts, a 20-acre lake for fishing and boating, a full-service restaurant, housekeeping service, a heated in-ground pool, a 1,400-foot zip line and hiking trails.
Crimi said people travel here from all over the Mid West and Northeast, including NEPA and the resort is especially appealing to couples, girls’ weekends, families and bachelor or bachelorette parties. The resort also hosts concerts, weddings and social events, family reunions and festivals. Rental fees for cabins are $245 per night based on double occupancy with an additional $50 for each additional person. Visit www.thewoodsatbearcreek.com.

Not to be outdone in the glamping category is Helene Menzella, owner of Total Recreation RV, Shohola, PA who sells park model vacation homes to people who camp within the tri-state area. “Our little homes are meant for vacationing,” Menzella said. “People enjoy this type of camping because most of them own the land at the campground and drive up on the weekends and holidays to enjoy the country and amenities the campgrounds have to offer.”

‘These homes are for people who are looking to get away for the weekend and don’t want to travel too far, but want to own a little piece of heaven,”
Menzella explained. They are also cost-efficient since a vacation home on the park property isn’t liable for high taxes because it’s used for vacations. Buyers come from New York, New Jersey, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island and all around the tri-state area, she said.
Units have to be no more than 400-square-feet to be allowed in the campground. Some come with lofts, some with washer/dryers and some with fireplaces. “They (buyers) ask for amenities that accommodate their families. Park models are meant for temporary living and vacationing and range from $35,000 to $75,000 and up. Most are constructed in Indiana, PA and Florida. The vacation homes are delivered as far away as upstate New York, Lake Ontario and South New Jersey. All model vacation homes at Total Recreation RV are available for sale. Visit www.totalrecreationrv.com–Christine Fanning