Want to experience a few nights in nature without sacrificing comfort? Ditch the tent and opt for alternative accommodations that offer some amenities of home—beds, drinking water and bathrooms with an outdoorsy twist.
All within an hour and half of Atlanta, these dwellings make a weekend getaway easy.
A Geodesic Dome in the Woods
“Come with an open mind and ready to experience something new,” said Fabrizio Tapia, one of the co-owners of Elatse Yi, a “Glamping Retreat and Farm."
Fabrizio, who was born in Nicaragua and raised in Chile, brought the dome from Argentina, where these spherical dwellings are popular as base camps for climbing and hiking expeditions. This Georgia geodesic dome serves as base camp for travelers who go to Ellijay, about an hour and a half north of Atlanta, to hike, canoe, kayak, ride horses, play golf and experience its 100-plus miles of mountain biking trails.
In an upgrade from traditional camping, the dome offers a private bathroom, outdoor kitchen, a bathtub and a fantastic outdoor shower. $109/night, Ellijay, Georgia, 404.510.3684
Luxurious Yurt Camping at Stone Mountain Park
Perched on the edge of Stone Mountain Lake, these canvas and wood yurts offer spectacular lake views. “One of the reasons it makes a wonderful lodging alternative is that it gives you the camping experience while also providing all of the comforts of home,” said Jeanine Jones, Stone Mountain Park’s public relations manager.
Each of the three yurts includes an outdoor deck with picnic tables, a charcoal grill, a fire pit and a water spigot for camping convenience. Inside you’ll find log furniture, electric outlets, lockable doors and sleep space for up to five guests. Heating and air conditioning make the yurts comfortable for any time of year. $99/night regular, $139/night holidays, 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Stone Mountain, Georgia, 1.800.385.9807
Conestoga Wagons on a Ranch
The 1,500-acre working cattle ranch features eight wagons with eight beds each in a fenced campground that includes picnic tables, portable toilets, drinking water and fire-building supplies. Although these wagons are three times the size of those originally used by pioneers to traverse the country, they still give campers a taste of what it was like to be home on the range. $225 per wagon/night, 5020 Barnesville Hwy., The Rock, Georgia, 706.647.6374
A Treehouse Hidden in Urban Atlanta
Live like the Swiss Family Robinson—right in the heart of Atlanta. The suite of three rooms connected by rope bridges offers a secluded hideaway just minutes from downtown in the lush Buckhead neighborhood. It’s about a 20-yard walk from the owners’ house, where a separate door opens to a bathroom for guests’ use.
“We tour people and we show them around,” said Peter Bahouth, co-owner of the treehouse with his wife, Katie. “Most of the time, for the two-day stay, we don’t see each other.”
Each room is beautifully furnished with antiques and natural artifacts—and the bed rolls out on a platform so you can sleep under the stars. With a five-star rating and rave reviews on Airbnb, the treehouse has hosted celebrities as well as the cast parties for blockbusters "Dumb and Dumber To" and "The Hunger Games." $350/night, Wilson Road NW, Atlanta, Georgia
Yurt Camping at Sweetwater Creek State Park
Yurts were traditionally round, portable tents covered with felt or animal hides and used as collapsible housing by the nomads of the Central Asian steppes. The 10-yurt village at Sweetwater State Park, just beyond Atlanta's perimeter, features yurts made of wood and canvas that sleep up to six people.
Inside, those looking for “glamping,” glamour camping, will find beds, futons, screened windows, locking doors, an outside deck, a picnic table and grill/fire ring. $85/night, 1750 Mt. Vernon Road, Lithia Springs, Georgia, 800.864.7275
Wiz through the treetops by day and relax and reflect in Native American-style teepees by night at North Georgia Canopy Tours. Nestled an hour north of Atlanta, where the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains transition into the Piedmont, this 136-acre property offers 12 ziplines in the tree canopy, nature hikes and a professional-quality disc golf course.
Kirk Watkins, a managing member of the property, said that they built teepees to pay homage to the Creek and Cherokee Native Americans that frequented the land in another lifetime.
Although neither tribe actually used teepees—they stayed in wigwams, often called yurts today—the owners felt that teepees would be a better lodging symbol for the site’s Native American past. The campground also includes a firepit, onsite parking, picnic area and shower facilities. $90-$179/night, 5290 Harris Road, Lula, Georgia, 770.869.7272