5 places to go ‘glamping’ near Atlanta

Fall in Atlanta is a lovely time for enjoying the outdoors — going on hikes, roasting marshmallows and maybe even sleeping under the stars.

But, while many seek quick weekend getaways, not everyone is up for sleeping in a tent.

For those wanting to reconnect with nature without having to rough it (at all), “glamping” — or glamorous camping — may be just right.

Georgia is home to several destinations where you can cozy up with nature without sacrificing the comforts of home.

Here’s a look at some of them:

Yurts at Sweetwater State Park

The yurt concept is more than 2,400 years old, but the round-shaped, rustic abodes now are a popular glamping trend across the country. And Atlanta’s closest state park, Sweetwater Creek State Park, is now home to 10 yurts.

Located in Lithia Springs, about a 30-minute drive from Atlanta, the yurts, which opened last fall, are tucked away in a quiet, wooded section of the park. Made of wood and canvas, the yurts sleep up to six people and come with beds, futons, screened windows and locking doors, as well as an outside deck, picnic table and grill/fire ring. Yurt reservations at Sweetwater Creek are $85 per night. 1750 Mount Vernon Road, Lithia Springs. gastateparks.org/SweetwaterCreek.

With the addition of the Sweetwater yurts, Georgia state parks now have 39 yurt accommodations available. Rates range from $85 to $100. Additional state parks that have yurts include High Falls State ParkRed Top Mountain State Park and Cloudland Canyon State Park.

A village of treehouses at Historic Banning Mills

Guests at Historic Banning Mills can (literally) branch out from traditional accommodations by staying in a treehouse village.

Set about 70 feet above the gorge and accessible only by rope and wood sky bridges, seven treehouse rooms offer guests a rare opportunity to find tranquility up in the leaves, complete with a slight sway in the breeze and tree trunks bursting through the floorboards and out the ceiling.

The treehouse rooms each come with a king-sized bed, gas log fireplace and lots of windows. Also, just because guests are sleeping in a tree does not mean the accommodations are without modern perks, as rooms include a microwave, small refrigerator and a jetted tub for two, as well as a Keurig coffee machine.

Tree house rooms are $209 the first night and $189 for each additional night, double occupancy. The price includes a full country-style breakfast each morning of the stay.

About 19 miles south of Douglasville, Historic Banning Mills is located at 205 Horseshoe Dam Road, Whitesburg. 770-834-9149, historicbanningmills.com.

A treehouse retreat in Buckhead

Airbnb, the online home rental site, recently released its top wish-listed destinations and properties, and treehouses were at the top.

Hidden away in Buckhead, there are three connected treehouse rooms that rent for $350-$400 a night, with a two-night minimum.

The living room, bedroom and deck are connected by rope bridges. The bathroom is a 30-second walk to the main house. airbnb.com/rooms/1415908.

Yurts at Stone Mountain Park

At Stone Mountain Park’s popular campground, yurts have caught on as an option for first-time campers, families with children or park visitors who are just looking for a different adventure.

Made of wood and insulated canvas, the six yurts, which opened last year, are located on a scenic lakeside and feature large windows, skylights, ceiling fans and lockable doors.

Each unit offers dedicated parking, a potable water spigot and a charcoal grill. Inside, friends and family can relax on comfortable log-style furniture or a private deck with seating overlooking the lake. Heating and air conditioning, lighting and electricity make this a comfortable option for even the most wary campers. A queen-size bed, twin bunk beds and double futon sleep up to five, and campers need only bring their bed linens or sleeping bags.

Yurts are available for a minimum two-night reservation for $99 a night or $139 a night on holidays. Dedicated shuttles also take campers to and from the nightly laser show during the summer. 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain. 1-800-385-9807, stonemountainpark.com.

First Time Camper Program

If you’ve always wanted to try camping but were intimidated by the thought of having to buy loads of gear and then set up a tent on your own, here’s your chance to sleep under the stars cheaply — and with expert help.

Through Georgia State Parks’ First-Time Camper Program, curious campers can give sleeping in the great outdoors a try by borrowing gear provided by REI and Coleman. First-timers also get help from park staff and volunteers, who can give newbies a Camping 101 lesson. gastateparks.org/firsttimecamper.

MORE: Yurts, a new kind of camping experience.

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