Washington glampsites that might just make you pitch your tent — to the back of the closet.
You’ve probably heard of glamping — combining “glamour” and “camping” — but you might be unaware of the variety of glamping venues — OK, call them glampsites — around Western Washington. Here are five worth a look.
Bainbridge Island Tipi
Where is it?
Sweetlife Tipi is on Nancy and Bob Fortner’s 10-acre Sweetlife Farm, on Bainbridge Island, where they grow their own food and make a variety of home products, from jam to lotions (sweetlifefarm.com). It abuts a parcel of the 240-acre Grand Forest parklands but is only a 5-minute drive from the center of island commerce.
Bob Fortner was inspired to build a tipi by a trip to Nez Perce tribal homelands, where the borders of Washington, Oregon and Idaho meet. The nomadic tribe historically built tipis.
“They had this really nice design that fit into the sort of mountains and plains of the Wallowas,” he said. “And it snugs in very nicely above our pond, into our trees.”
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The tipi, erected in June, is decorated with traditional tribal symbols and a Chief Joseph quote. At 20 feet tall, it’s spacious, with two large rocking chairs, a queen-size memory-foam bed with a Chief Joseph Pendleton blanket, a mini-fridge and outlets for electronics. The bath hut, with a composting toilet, hand-loomed organic Turkish cotton towels and biodegradable soaps and shampoos, is three-sided — the fourth wall is the forest.
“It is kind of like being out in the woods, but you still have a composting toilet and a hot shower,” said Nancy Fortner.
A continental breakfast with homegrown ingredients is provided.
The farm is close to Grand Forest hiking trails, and cycling in the area is popular. The tipi sits at the side of a pond, and you fall asleep to what Nancy Fortner called an “orchestra” of sounds from frogs and birds.
Sweetlife Tipi, 9631 Summer Hill Lane N.E., Bainbridge Island; $175, with two-night minimum; airbnb.com/rooms/6521227?s=JylS.
Yurt off Mountain Loop Highway
This Northwest glamping experience offers two yurts on a lively alpaca farm.
Where is it?
Paca Pride Guest Ranch is about an hour’s drive northeast of Seattle in Snohomish County, on 17 acres of previously logged land that the owners keep well-grazed with 20 alpacas, and a llama named Mucho (pacapride.com). It’s on Mountain Loop Highway, a scenic route between Granite Falls and Darrington offering access to Mount Pilchuck State Park and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
For David Capocci, one of the three owners, yurts are a spiritual experience.
“There’s just something about staying in a room with no corners,” he said. “Drawing your eye up … as a way of centering the spirit.”
The Guest Yurt is small and cozy with a hardwood floor, queen-size bed, two chairs, electrical outlets, table, bookshelf and a futon-style couch that can also be slept on. There’s a heater for cool days; on warmer days, the windows and top dome open to the breeze. A propane grill is on the deck outside. A short walk away are hot showers, a bathroom and a kitchen area with stove and sink.
“We want people to be self-sufficient. We just make it a little easier,” said Capocci.
There’s also the Roundhouse Yurt, a multipurpose room that can host meetings as well as house large families.
Capocci gives tours of the farm’s livestock operation and explains its use of permaculture, a farming practice designed to make the land self-sufficient. Guests are welcome to help with farm chores if interested. Capocci, who shears the alpacas yearly to make a variety of items, from socks to scarves, says he enjoys showing kids the process from “fiber to fashion.”
Several hiking trails are along nearby Green Mountain Road, or you can hike the Robe Canyon Historic Trail. Guests may also wish to visit the Granite Falls Historical Museum to learn about the area’s gold-rush history.
Paca Pride Guest Ranch, 28311 Mountain Loop Highway, Granite Falls; $79/night Guest Yurt, $99/night Roundhouse Yurt; pacapride.com.
Whidbey Island treehouse
Tarzan fans, this is your glampsite.
Where is it?
This spacious octagonal treehouse sits 14 feet above the ground in a cedar tree on the property of Ken and Lynn Berry, near Freeland on Whidbey Island. When the traffic and ferry lines are with you, you can arrive in 90 minutes from Seattle by car and the Mukilteo ferry.
Windows and skylights bring forest light into the Treehouse Retreat, but the forest keeps it cool — even in 90-degree weather, according to one guest review.
“The forest just envelops you with this healing peace,” said Lynn Berry, a former nurse.
The 250-square-foot space has a queen bed, a hide-a-bed sofa that can sleep two, a desk, couch, lounge chair and dining table. A microwave, fridge and beverage bar are provided. There’s also a TV for DVD viewing (player included) and a combination CD player/radio. Another table and chairs sit outside on a roomy covered deck.
Near the tree’s base, a fire pit allows for basic grilling (no cooking in the treehouse). Twenty steps from the treehouse is a private bathhouse with shower, sink and no-odor composting toilet. (A marine porta-potty is available on the treehouse deck.)
Another option on the property: a tepee that sleeps two.
A beach walk along Mutiny Bay is a quarter-mile away. Popular hiking trails at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve can be reached by car in 30 minutes. It’s a 5-minute drive to Freeland and 8 miles to Langley’s cultural attractions.
Treehouse Retreat, Freeland, Whidbey Island;$145/night for two; $20 per additional guest. $300 security deposit. Continental breakfast included. Two-night minimum. Children 12 and older allowed. whidbeywellness.com/? page_id=14
Lopez Island farm ‘nests’
Looking for glamping in the San Juans? Here’s a peaceful choice for camping in comfort on one of the most rural of the main islands.
Where is it?
Two “camp nests” — tents furnished with beds — are a popular lodging option at the 30-acre Lopez Farm Cottages and Tent Camping, where the Warsen family offers five cottages and 15 campsites. It’s secluded and peaceful — no RVs, electronic music, pets, or kids under 14 — but just one mile from Lopez Village shops and 2.6 miles from the ferry landing.
John Warsen said he had always liked to “camp comfortable.” Then, he found the term “glamping” on Wikipedia.
“I’d never even heard the expression, and all of a sudden I realized … I’m a glamper! I’m on the cutting edge,” he said. “I thought I invented it.”
His two 100-square-foot tents have carpeting and a queen-sized futon topped with memory foam and made up with quilt, sheets and pillows. Creature comforts include a wastebasket, hanging flashlight and tissues. Next to each tent are two ice chests, two Adirondack chairs, a table and hammock.
About 100 feet away in the camp building are four bathrooms with two hot showers open to the sky. For cooking, there are two barbecues and an outdoor kitchen with microwave, coffee maker, and sink (bring coffee mugs and charcoal). Warsen provides a telescope for bird watching and also a unique sloped bocce court.
Lopez Island — whose laid-back inhabitants are sometimes known as “Slopezians,” according to Warsen — is known for its sloping hills, making for gentle cycling routes. And for walkers, Lopez Farm Cottages are a mile from a beach walk along Upright Channel. Sheep roam the grounds, as do wild deer.
Camp nest 10A has a view of open pastures, while camp nest 1 is nestled in one of several wooded spaces that Warsen said remind him of “being in a cathedral.”
Lopez Farm Cottages and Tent Camping, 555 Fisherman Bay Road, Lopez Island; $88 a night for glampsites. lopezfarmcottages.com.
Washougal riverside treehouse
Treehouse glamping seems to be in high style. If you’re heading toward Oregon and need a place to glamp, you may want to check out this riverside treehouse in southwest Washington.
Where is it?
Brian Little’s Washougal Riverside Treehouse sits marvelously perched between two trees and overlooks the Washougal River. It’s within the city limits of Washougal, a town just north of the Oregon border — about a three-hour drive from Seattle and a half-hour from downtown Portland.
With a fishing net on the wall and model ships displayed on the window sill, Little’s treehouse has an old-time nautical ambience. A small shaded deck overlooks the river below.
“You can hear the rushing water,” said Little, a former home remodeler and paper- mill employee whose hobbies include fishing and painting. “And it’s almost hypnotic … People talk about how hypnotic or soothing it was to listen to the river.”
A full-size bed with bedding and pillows is included, along with a microwave, mini-fridge, fan, TV, and Internet access. Access to a guest bathroom in the main house is provided. You’ll also meet Dobby, Little’s friendly 3-year-old Chihuahua.
Aside from cooling off in the river, many guests drive along Highway 14 to reach the hiking trails and waterfalls of nearby state parks and scenic areas, including the 292,500-acre Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. (That’s if they can first escape the numerous breweries in Washougal.)
Washougal Riverside Treehouse, Washougal, Clark County; $95 per night Sunday-Thursday; $125 per night Friday-Saturday. Children and pets allowed. Pets may run free because the area is gated. airbnb.com/rooms/3425988