The Big Six: Cool campsites in the US

Sophie Lam
Saturday 11 June 2011 00:00

The Resort at Paws Up, Montana

As well as being a cattle ranch, Paws Up caters for 28 luxurious timber houses that sleep between four and eight. Guests can better appreciate the wilderness from the two dozen luxury tents, scattered in woodland or on the banks of the Blackfoot river. Inside are proper beds and en suite bathrooms, safari-style décor (antler light fittings, dark wood furniture and rattan mats), and each opens on to a private deck.

The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana (001 800 473 0601; Tents start at $1,025 (£625), full board.

Wandawega Lake Resort, Wisconsin

Opened in the 1920s, Wandawega Lake Resort had fallen into disrepair until it was restored to its former glory by current owners David and Tereasa. It now offers an idealised take on the camping experience: halcyon days camped between woodland and sun-dappled lake; Scout tents filled with vintage books, plaid blankets and hurricane lamps; bonfire pits, tennis courts and more. There are also lakeside cottages, deluxe log cabins and a farmhouse-chic guest house.

Wandawega Lake Resort, Elkhorn, Wisconsin (001 312 282 4693; Cabins from $200 (£122), tents from $100 (£61), room only.

El Capitan Canyon, California

El Capitan Canyon campground overlooks the Californian surf at El Capitan beach. A short stroll into the cedar and sycamore groves brings you to the camp's wood cabins and safari-style tents. Despite the campground's claim that it has "purposely avoided attempting to duplicate the conveniences of home", you'll find willow-frame four-poster beds and downy duvets inside the tents. Firepits and barbecue kits invite you to get back to nature while free summer concerts and complimentary use of bikes add to the outdoor appeal.

El Capitan Canyon, Calle Real, Santa Barbara, California (001 805 685 3887; Tents start at $155 (£95), room only.

The Martyn House, Georgia

The four deluxe tents here are set on wooden platforms among the trees in the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. The colourfully printed tents are furnished with proper beds, rugs, lamps and bathrooms with hot showers.

The Martyn House, 912 Flat Branch Road, Ellijay, Georgia (001 706 635 4759; Tents start at $180 (£110), including breakfast.

The Shady Dell, Arizona

Nine restored 1950s RVs offer the full vintage experience with period TVs, leopard-print carpets and retro fabrics and fittings. Adding to the appeal is a 1947 "Polynesian Palace", with tiki bar and fairy lights. Dot's Diner provides the fries and shakes.

Shady Dell, 1 Douglas Road, Bisbee, Arizona (001 520 432 3567; Trailers start at $61 (£37), room only.

El Cosmico, Texas

The latest project of hotelier Liz Lambert (of Austin's Hotel San Jose) is this retro campground. Choose from restored Fifties trailers, yurts and Sioux tepees with proper beds, or pitch up with your own tent. Facilities include a hammock-strewn elm grove, bath house, outdoor kitchen and wood-fired hot tubs.

El Cosmico, Highway 67, Marfa, Texas (001 432 729 1950; Trailers start at $110 (£67), yurts $60 (£37), tepees $75 ($46), camping $20 (£12), all room only.

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