If you like nature but prefer to end your day in high thread count sheets instead of a sleeping bag, then 'glamping,' a.k.a. glamorous camping, is for you.
Florida Glamping provides all the creature comforts of home in the midst of the great outdoors. It's a great fit for families: While glamping in Florida, kids get a healthy dose of nature and adventure, yet amenities like a hot shower, a delicious meal and even a fireplace are just a stone's throw away for mom and dad. Get started with these six fun retreats around the Sunshine State.
1. The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort, Walt Disney World
Well-appointed cabins set amid 750 acres of Florida pines and cypress highlight Disney's imagining of the Great American Frontier. Your roomy cabin includes air conditioning, Internet access, a full kitchen and a deck with a charcoal grill. Housekeeping does your dishes and cleans your grill daily, so there's plenty of time to enjoy the Ol' Meadow Swimmin' Hole, explore trails, rent boats, ride horses or dine at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue. Tent and RV sites are also available.
2. Miller's World Cabins, Everglades City
Cozy cabins and stilt homes set on the edge of Everglades National Park make this a remarkable adventure. Old Florida is right outside your door, as are bike and boat rentals for exploring the Ten Thousand Islands. The famous Oyster House restaurant is located just across the parking lot, and since this is the stone crab capital of the world, be sure to order up a plate.
3. Clyde Butcher's Swamp Cottage and Bungalow, Ochopee
Tucked behind the Big Cypress Gallery on U.S. 41 between Naples and Miami, you'll discover Clyde Butcher's Bungalow and Swamp Cottage set on 13 private acres, surrounded by a million acres of the Big Cypress National Preserve. Look for huge gators, panthers and red-shouldered hawks – even from the living room window. This was once the home of Butcher, the "Ansel Adams" of Everglades photography, and you can see firsthand the wild Florida beauty that inspired him. Guided swamp walks are also available.
4. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, Santa Rosa Beach
White, quartz-sand beaches are among the many sought-after amenities at this award-winning state park. Choose from campsites, RV sites and cabins or bungalows – then choose how to spend your days. Activities include kayaking, canoeing, hiking, fishing, guided hikes or just relaxing on your porch in the gentle ocean breeze.
5. Oak Harbor, Haines City
This place is delightfully off the beaten path but still close to the heart of Florida's attractions in nearby Orlando. The cedar cabins are an idyllic home away from home, and 1,000-acre Lake Lowery is the highlight of this recreational area. You might spy bald eagles, osprey, otters, herons, wood ducks and alligators. Rent a kayak or pontoon boat, cast a line and then cook your meal in your fully equipped kitchen. Dine on your porch and admire the majestic oaks and dangling Spanish moss.
6. Westgate River Ranch, Frostproof
Stay in a cabin or villa at the 1,700-acre Westgate River Ranch, also known as a "cowboy theme park resort," located in Central Florida near Lake Wales. Explore grounds that are home to buffalo, deer, eagles and wild horses. Activities range from horseback riding and hayrides to skeet shooting and even a weekly rodeo, but there's no roughing it here. You can cook for yourself or dine out onsite at the Smokehouse Grill. Tent and RV sites are also available while glamping in Florida.