The days of “roughing it” are a thing of the past in today’s camping world
As Genghis Khan’s 12th-century army moved across China into Eastern Europe, he camped out in royal style. Khan was the original glamper. The term—a mash-up of glamour and camping—covers a lot of territory. It can mean everything from a pre-pitched tent on a wooden platform to high-end accommodations. If the thought of tents and cots and crawly creatures has put you off a camping trip, take a tip from Khan and go glamping.
Rather than a tent, Khan took a traditional Mongolian ger (yurt) on his campaigns. This circular canvas habitat, which was 30 feet in diameter, was never fully disassembled and was mounted on a wheeled cart pulled by 22 oxen. Fine carpets covered the floor and banners decorated the interior. Yurts are still common in some rural parts of Mongolia. Today, you can find yurts in several of Oklahoma’s state parks.
Let’s Go Parking
Osage Hills State Park provides glamping for minimalists. In addition to traditional camping sites, they have two walled tents on platforms. The tent does not have water or electricity, but water is available in the new bathhouse between the tents. Campers are provided with two battery-powered lanterns and six army cots. Guests must bring their own bedding. Since there is no electricity for a fan, these tents are more popular in the winter when a wood stove inside the tent makes roughing it less rough. Each tent also has a picnic table, fire ring and charcoal grill outside. Tent rentals range from $45 to $51 per night.
Kick back and enjoy the view of Lake Carlton at Robbers Cave State Park, where two permanent, tent-like round yurts elevate camping to a more comfortable level. Air-conditioned or heated, these weather-beaters include refrigerators, microwaves, comfortable beds with bedding, tables and chairs. Just bring your own towels—showers are close at hand. Each yurt will accommodate up to four guests.
In Northeast Oklahoma, Natural Falls State Park offers five air-conditioned and heated yurts. The four-person yurts have a queen-size bed and a futon. To accommodate six guests, yurts include a set of two bunk beds with a single on top, queen on the bottom. Guests bring their own bedding or it can be provided for a fee.
All of the yurts have mini-fridges, microwaves, K-cup coffee makers and a table and chairs. Port-a-potties are nearby; a comfort station with showers and more conventional commodes is just down the hill. A playground, five hiking trails and the waterfall are a short walk from the yurts.
Lake Eufaula State Park offers three yurts, with two situated in the Longhorn Loop. Bring your own linens or request linens for no extra charge. Amenities include heat and air conditioning, a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee pot, television and a table and chairs. Outside you’ll find a fire pit, grill and picnic table.
In the Longhorn Loop, the north yurt—the Honeymoon Yurt—sleeps two people in a canopied bed with a nearby bathhouse. The south yurt accommodates three guests, but the bathhouse is a bit of a walk—consider the extra steps good exercise. The south yurt overlooks the lake; a short trail leads to a perfect fishing spot. The third yurt is located in the Hummingbird Beach area at the main swim beach and can sleep six.
Beavers Bend State Park will soon offer three yurts in the Elm Campground area. Assistant Park Manager and Choctaw Electric Cooperative member Haley Harris attests to the popularity of park yurts.
“We have one completed, one being furnished now and another under construction,” she says.
All three yurts are located right on the river, handy to water activities, the train and stables. Each yurt accommodates four people with a queen-size bed plus full-size sleeper sofa. The yurts are roomy with lovely dining tables, microwaves, mid-sized refrigerators, coffee pots, heat, air and bedding. Each has a roomy deck overlooking the river, as well as Adirondack chairs, a fire cauldron and a picnic table. The bathhouse is a long walk or short drive away, and remember to bring your own towels.
Renting a yurt in one of the state parks will cost anywhere from $75 to $150 per night, with Beavers Bend being the most expensive.
Orr Family Farm
Started in 2003 by Dr. Glenn Orr, an Oklahoma Electric Cooperative member, the Orr Family Farm in far south Oklahoma City has long been a favorite family attraction. The farm now offers the epitome in family glamping. Guests can choose between Conestoga wagons or teepees, all with heat and air conditioning, mini-fridge and microwave, comfortable beds and fine bedding. Wagons accommodate four or six guests; teepees can house four or five. Arranged in circles with a central campfire and Adirondack chairs, it’s easy to make new friends.
Each accommodation has its own private bathroom in a nearby building with towels and toiletries provided. Groups can sign up for a session in the Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spa with an infinity current for exercising and a relaxing hot tub.
Glamping is offered year-round, with additional activities and events available during the farm’s open seasons in the spring and fall. During the off-season, glampers have access to approximately 15 activities ranging from a low-ropes-course and giant jumping pillows to fishing, feeding farm animals and more. Prices run from $225 to $285 per night depending on the season.
For more traditional camping, bring your own bedding and stay in one of three Conestoga wagons that sleep eight people and have port-a-potties. The price for these—$150 to $195 per night—also includes the farm attractions. A stay here is a real experience. Find more information at www.orrfamilyfarm.com.
Find more glamping opportunities online by searching “Glamping in Oklahoma.” You can see the properties online, but details are not available without commitment. Glamping is a great way to get the feel of camping without discomfort. It was good enough for Khan and you might enjoy it, too.