Your Kid-Friendly Guide to Yurts and Glamping in Georgia
If you like the idea of camping with your kids–close to nature, fresh air, campfires–but aren’t excited once you actually go camping with your kids–bugs, weather issues, setting up a tent–then yurt camping might be for you. While yurts may sound like a trendy new camping fad, they have actually been around for thousands of years. Nomadic cultures, especially Mongolians, have always favored these round, tent-like houses with skylights. Staying in a yurt is definitely more like glamping (glamorous camping) than camping, but not as luxurious as a cabin. After all, yurts typically don’t have air conditioning, a bathroom or a refrigerator. However, they do have furniture (usually bunk beds!), a deck area and electrical outlets, making them super family friendly.
Where to Go
While there are plenty of parks in Georgia that offer yurt camping, a lot of them only have a handful of yurts so book early. You will find them at six of Georgia’s state parks including Cloudland Canyon, Tugaloo, Fort Yargo, High Falls, Sweetwater Creek and Red Top Mountain. Cloudland Canyon has the gorgeous views; Tugaloo has Lake Hartwell and Sweetwater Creek is close to Atlanta.
If you want to stay close to home, be on the water AND have a/c or heat, Stone Mountain Park has all of those things and more. They even have a record 18 yurts (but still, they fill up quickly).
What to Bring
Perhaps the best part of glamping is the little equipment it takes. Instead of schlepping your tent and all the gear that goes with it, you just bring your sleeping bag, linens and any other personal items. For your food, you can bring a cooler or, since yurts have electricity, you can usually even bring a little fridge.
What to Do
Your activities will vary depending on where you go. If you choose Stone Mountain Park, you will be close to all the attractions that Stone Mountain has to offer. They have packages that include camping plus attraction passes. At more typical campgrounds families can fish, hike or swim in the lake (if permitted). Tugaloo has a beach, mini golf and a playground. Cloudland Canyon has cave tours, disc golf and horseback riding. Sweetwater Creek has a fascinating hiking trail for kids because it leads to the ruins of an historic textile mill.
More Glamping Options
Yurts aren’t the only way to glamp with kids. How about camping in a pioneer style Conestoga wagon? They’ve got them at The Rock Ranch in The Rock, GA (about an hour south of Atlanta). It’s not cheap to stay in a wagon (prices run about $240 per night but sleep eight); however, The Rock Ranch has activities galore for kids–think pony rides, a petting zoo, jumping pillow and slides plus tons of events.
Kids get get a kick out of staying in cool teepees–yes, teepees–at North Georgia Canopy Tours in Lula. The teepees aren’t so primitive with air conditioning, electricity and furniture. Families can take advantage of the park’s many activities like zip lining, corn hole, tetherball and disc golf.
Families with young children have a blast clamping at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Bremen. Their cute, cozy cabins are somewhat rustic as they have bathrooms without showers. They also have a bunk bed, queen bed and a kitchenette. But the main draw of Jellystone is the amount of activities they have for kids–train rides, smores, a pool, scavenger hunts and crafts.
For the perfect blend of getting close to nature but also vacationing in luxury, check out Georgia Glamping Company. They work with three area parks (Shady Grove in Cumming, Unicoi State Park in Helen and Vogel State Park in Blairsville) and set up a bell tent campsite for you that looks straight out of a magazine spread. All you do is book through their site (prices start at $134 per night, which includes park fees, Georgia Glamping’s tent and services). When you arrive, you are greeted by a lit up beautiful tent with air conditioning, real beds, a rug, a Keurig coffee maker, fridge and a mini bar! The best part? The same little fairies who set up all of this also take it down. With all of these comforts, you and your family are bound to be happy glampers.