Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but summer is ending.
Okay, fine — going by the equinoxes and not the school schedule, you still have almost a month left to make the most of the season. That’s plenty of time to check into a quirky hotel, take a road trip or zoom down a few water slides.
But be warned: That month is going to fly by and before you know it, you’ll be putting on an extra layer and holding a pumpkin spice latte. So, to create some urgency, here’s a countdown clock so that you can visualize, down to the second, just how quickly summer is fading.
Now that you’re feeling sufficiently motivated, how about ending summer 2015 with a good old fashioned camping trip? You know, one where you get in touch with nature with by hiking the top of a mountain, sleeping in a tent, and making s’mores by a campfire.
Or, maybe you aren’t the camping type. Maybe you want something a little easier, a little more buttoned up, a little more comfortable. We don’t slight you or begrudge your indulgence. We get it. What about ending your summer with a good old fashioned glamping trip? You know, one where you get in touch with nature by taking a helicopter to the top of a mountain, sleeping in a $1,000 per night tent-palace, and watching your camp butler toast your s’more for you.
Decadent? Sure. But you deserve it. It’s the great outdoors fused with luxury tourism. Still, if you’re going to spend the money, you’d better get the value. Here are six places that do it right:
The Ranch at Rock Creek — Philipsburg, Mont.
Located just over an hour-and-a-half from Missoula in Western Montana, the Ranch at Rock Creek is a luxe hideaway perfect for reminding yourself just how wild America really is. Set on 6,600 acres of virtually untouched-since-the-beginning-of-time wilderness, the Ranch at Rock Creek features a small collection of ultra high end canvas glamping tents, thoughtfully designed cabins, and a central lodge complete with dinning room, spa and bar (plus bowling alley!). To compliment the setting and accommodations, the ranch’s layout and knowledgeable staff both help create an atmosphere where privacy and community harmonize perfectly. That’s probably why The Ranch at Rock Creek is one of the best kept secret celebrity vacation spots — Gwyneth Paltrow and Carey Mulligan are among the celebs who have visited, and Kate Bosworth and Scarlett Johansson both got married on-site.
Nimmo Bay — British Columbia, Canada
Nestled on the shore of a hidden cove, deep in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, you’ll find Nimmo Bay. Accessible only by float plane or helicopter, this remote wilderness lodge is made up of just nine intimate, wooden cabins (six perched at the water’s edge and three along a stream). And while late afternoons at Nimmo Bay are all about soaking in the cedar hot tub at the base of the on-property waterfall and eating locally sourced food, the first half of your days will be spent exploring the wilderness via your own private helicopter. Think: Heli-hiking (taking a helicopter to remote mountaintops to begin your trek), heli-fishing (taking a helicopter and landing at the edge of pristine streams to catch salmon and tout) and heli-paddle boarding (taking a helicopter to remote bays to paddle board amongst seals). It’s all part of an average stay at Nimmo Bay — which closes for the season on October 1, so you better hurry.
Dunton Hot Springs — Dunton, Colo.
Just 31 miles southwest of Telluride, Dunton Hot Springs is a painstakingly restored old mining ghost town cradled in a valley in the San Juan Mountains. Comprised of a collection of 13 cabins straight out of a wild west fairy tale, the resort sits next to a river and boasts natural, indoor and outdoor hot springs that can be enjoyed by guests year round (the Well House Cabin even has its own private hot spring). Aside from soaking in the spring and sitting around a campfire, guests can spend their days fly fishing, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking, just to name a few of the warm weather outdoor adventures available nearby. And if you’re looking for a private escape for you and 43 of your closest friends and family members, you can rent out the entire town and make believe you’re the mayor.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort — British Columbia, Canada
Set on the shore of a secluded sound on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort’s remoteness is equally matched by its refinement — both are extreme. Situated at the intersection of mountains, rivers and tidal bays, there are so many ways to spend your days at Clayoquot that you’ll need to make coming here a yearly ritual just to experience them all (and many guests do just that). With ocean and river fishing, ocean and river kayaking, killer whale and bear watching expeditions, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hiking and more, getting bored simply isn’t on the agenda. And when your muscles ache from all that adventure, get a massage at the spa then retire to your luxury tent (complete with king-sized bed and ensuite bathroom).
To take your stay at Clayoquot to even greater heights, reserve the resort’s Cloud Camp, a private tented camp at the edge of an alpine lake accessed by private helicopter and serviced by a private chef.
The Resort at Paws Up — Greenough, Mont.
When you were a child, did you ever pretend to be a cowboy? Chances are, yes. And if that fantasy has only intensified with age, it’s time you took a trip to the Resort at Paws Up. Located in Western Montana, about 40 minutes from Missoula, the Resort at Paws Up is a 37,000-acre working cattle ranch-turned-luxury resort complete with riverside glamping tents and luxury big timber cabins. During the day, you’ll be able to herd cattle on horseback, rappel down cliffs, ATV, fly fish, and shoot sporting clays at the resort’s forested shooting course. At night, dine on gourmet food, then retire to your camp, where your designated camp butler will toast your marshmallow and whip up the best s’more you’ve ever had.