When imagining a weekend camping trip, we often picture stargazing underneath vast night skies, sharing thoughtful conversation and campfire-cooked meals with friends, exploring secluded trails, and unplugging from group texts and email alerts to finally finish that novel.
In reality, a weekend in the wilderness isn’t always so romantic. It often involves rushing to snag a campsite, hauling equipment, barely getting any shut-eye thanks to a dated sleeping bag and noisy neighbors, eating one-too-many Clif bars, and somehow using a month’s supply of dry shampoo in just two days. Sound familiar?
Though our ALIGN team still enjoys a rugged camping adventure every once in awhile (we like to think it builds character), we were thrilled to join Under Canvas for a taste of one of their all-inclusive glamping experiences.
For almost 10 years, Under Canvas has taken camping up a notch by offering luxurious accommodations in some of America’s most coveted national parks. Under Canvas founders, Sarah and Jacob Dusek, drew inspiration from guided African safaris to forge a similar experience stateside. Now operating in seven U.S. locations, the company provides pampering packages that feature chef-prepared meals, guided expeditions, chic tents, and even spa treatments—all while surrounded by jaw-dropping views. Sign us up!
We visited Under Canvas Zion, located on 196 acres that border the Southwest’s Zion National Park. Our group flew into Las Vegas, and took a quick shuttle ride up to Utah to reach the site.
We were greeted by the Under Canvas staff, where they debriefed us on the property and showed us our luxurious safari-inspired tents. The tents rivaled hotel rooms with their rustic-contemporary decor and attention to detail, and we were giddy to find that plush king-size beds, en-suite full bathrooms (hot showers!), and a wood burning stove awaited us.
Another perk of Under Canvas is that the experience is completely customizable, depending on what you want to do and see while you’re there. We chose a guided nature walk, where our knowledgeable field guide pointed out local flora and fauna, as well as a Jeep Safari tour accompanied by an engrossing park history lesson from our driver. A few thrill-seeking individuals from our group took a helicopter ride for aerial views of Zion and Snow Canyon State Park.
Under Canvas’ other national park locations offer a plethora of daytime activities and excursions to choose from as well. In the Great Smoky Mountains, guests can opt for a full day of hiking or a driving through the Appalachians, while the Yellowstone itinerary offers private horseback rides and whitewater rafting trips along the Gallatin river.
Each day, we grabbed morning fuel at Ember’s restaurant in the onsite reception area. This ‘master’ tent also housed beautiful common areas perfect for sharing meals and enjoying panoramic vistas of the park. Ember’s supplied convenient made-to-order lunches for our days away from the camp, and their chef-driven dinners including roasted trout, steak salad, and barbecue sandwiches were above and beyond typical campfire fare.
Some of the other sites, such as Yellowstone, have a neighboring property where guests can dine, but the majority of the sites function similarly to Zion with an easily accessible onsite restaurant.
Our time exploring Zion with Under Canvas was an unforgettable experience that made for a reluctant goodbye. The site served as an elegant and comfortable launching pad for exploring Zion National Park and we are already planning trips to the other sites scattered across the country.
We’re not the only ones who feel this way—Under Canvas has received rave reviews from Travel + Leisure, Forbes, and Vanity Fair. ALIGN would love to discuss how to get you there next, whether it be for a wedding, family reunion, corporate retreat, or a couple’s getaway. Drop us a line to assist in planning your next adventure under the stars.