Just because summer is on its last legs doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of a weekend getaway with family or close friends. Traveling in 2020 has become something completely new and different; with emphasis on road trips, camping and home-sharing, more and more Americans are shying away from major attractions in favor of a more intimate vacation itinerary.
In true 2020 fashion, the best advice we can give you about travel is “it depends.” Many states have quarantine orders in effect for folks coming in from out of state or from certain states so your first choice might be an in-state escape. Keep in mind that the situation is fluid, to say the least, and you can follow current COVID data on the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus map.
Over the past months, we have highlighted several “glamping” options for folks who enjoy cozy getaways but don’t necessarily like to rough it. With that in mind, let us present the humble yurt.
What on Earth Is a Yurt?
You may have seen photos of cylindrical buildings with conical roofs, often set before idyllic background scenery. But while yurts have become modern symbols of minimalistic living, they have a specific lineage.
Yurts are traditional lodgings for nomadic cultures in Mongolia and surrounding Central Asian regions. Modern yurts may be permanent features, but traditional yurts were portable to accommodate the needs of nomadic societies. They also are characterized by impressively sturdy geometry, including an accordion lattice wall and radial rafters that lead to the apex of their conical ceilings.
The modern yurt came to be just under 50 years ago when a National Geographic article about Mongolia prominently featured a traditional yurt, which in Mongolia is also known as the ger. The late 60s and early 70s were a natural fit for the sustainable, portable and culturally aware conical housing.
Today, yurts are generally used for more permanent lodging, and many are placed on wooden stilts or built on top of a wooden platform. If your traveling companions aren’t thrilled with the idea of camping, the sheer novelty of a circular yurt might pique their interest.
The yurt’s eco-friendly design makes them blend harmoniously with nature. In fact, many state parks feature a selection of yurts for nightly or weekly rental, as you’ll see below. It’s worth mentioning that the bathrooms are shared at most state park yurts, while privately owned yurts are more likely to have a private (though likely not attached) bathroom.
Another place to find these unique properties is GlampingHub. GlampingHub hosts a repository of distinctive lodging options that you might not be able to find elsewhere, including a vast selection of yurts that we think you should check out. Here are a few that we think should be at the top of your list.
Lakeside Yurt in Georgia
If you’d like to get out of Atlanta for a while and head to the hills, this yurt is an ideal destination. This spacious property can accommodate six guests, and it includes one queen-sized bed, one bunk bed and two extra beds, as well as a kitchenette and dining space. A full bath house is located just outside the yurt. If you’d like to explore the lake, guests are free to use the provided canoe and fishing rods.
Bay View Yurt in Virginia
Virginia takes unique accommodations to a new level with a selection of Mongolian style yurts at thirteen of its state parks. The “deluxe” yurt, the first in the system which has electricity including heating and air conditioning, is found at Kiptopeke State Park on the Chesapeake Bay.
The advantage of being on the bay as opposed to the ocean on the east coast is that you have spectacular sunsets as opposed to sunrises. The front porch, rocking chairs included, is tailor-made for enjoying a beverage while the sun dips into the expanse of water in front of you.
Rustic Forest Yurt in Vermont
While most folks like to visit Vermont for ski season, the forests near Bristol are just as lovely in the summer and autumn. Tucked inside the forest is this beautiful yurt, offering a home base for several nearby hiking trails through the woods. This yurt can accommodate up to three guests and includes a full bathroom as well as a full kitchen, WiFi, and parking. Outside, guests enjoy a deck, fire pit, garden and views of the mountains and nearby horse pastures.
Ice Age Yurt in Wyoming
Rewinding the clock sounds pretty good about now, and rewinding it thousands of years could be just the ticket to a quiet and peaceful vacation. Sinks Canyon State Park has been inhabited for over ten thousand years. You can even find Petroglyphs and rock carvings that native settlers left behind. A yurt, which is a traditional form of housing, is the natural choice for lodging for land where the roots run so deep. The park has four yurts, one sleeping up to ten, to choose from.
The appeal of Sinks Canyon State Park isn’t limited to the man-made attractions: The Popo Agie river running through the park has a special feature you will not find often: The water disappears from sight, runs underground for several hundred yards, then reappears above ground about a quarter of a mile down the road. Dye tests show that the trip takes several hours…for the water, that is.
Stilted Yurt in Montana
Hoisted up on stilts and set against a stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountains, this yurt is perfect for anyone looking for open spaces, solitude and peace. Located near Glacier National Park and Flathead Lake, this property can accommodate up to four nature-enthused guests. Enjoy two queen bedrooms, a full kitchen and even a washer and dryer for clean and dry clothes after your outdoor adventures. Don’t forget to look for sparkling views of the Milky Way and, if you’re lucky, a dazzling display of northern lights.
Log Cabin Yurt in Missouri
Lake of the Ozarks is well known for its, well, lake, and the 89 miles of shoreline in the park certainly won’t disappoint if you’re looking for sun and fun. Add in cave exploration and mountain biking and you’ve got all the makings of an active vacation. While Lake of the Ozarks can get crowded at the main sites, the park is large enough that you should be able to find your socially distanced spot.
The uniqueness of yurt lodging gets taken up even another notch with the setup of the Lake of the Ozarks, which features an interior that looks more like Lincoln lived there than inspired by Mongolian settlers. The log cabin-yurt has a loft above the bed so there’s truly a separate sleeping area as opposed to just a bunch of beds in one big room. Lake of the Ozarks State Park has yurts available that sleep up to six people and two dogs so you won’t have to worry about who is feeding Fido.
Relaxing Yurt in Indiana
If ever you needed an excuse to visit rural Indiana, this yurt is it. Actually, this property hosts two yurts in total, and each one can accommodate up to four guests. To add to the uniqueness and luxury of this accommodation, guests have the option to rent a Japanese-style soaking tub for the duration of their stay. Additionally, guests can book a massage or Chinese medicine consultation to be provided on-site. As a special touch, expect a complimentary gourmet breakfast carefully crafted with local ingredients to be delivered to your door each morning!
Seaside Yurt in Oregon
If you like your yurt with a side of whale watching, we’ve got a site for you. Beverly Beach State Park offers 21 yurts in a forested setting that is just a hop, skip and a jump from the Pacific Ocean. Newport is just five miles away so you can enjoy a meal, then retire to your peaceful lodging for a good night’s sleep.
Your Northern Oregon getaway fronts a remarkable stretch of beachside beauty. Among the most notable are Otter Rock marine reserve (bring your binoculars) and the Devil’s Punchbowl natural feature, which resembles a cauldron with bubbling that comes with the tide.
Wilderness Yurt in North Carolina
For a property tucked into the wild Nantahala National Forest, this yurt offers spacious, comfortable, luxury accommodations. Each yurt on site can accommodate up to four guests with a queen-sized bed and two double beds. Guests also enjoy a full kitchen, a full bathroom, a washer and dryer, and a private hot tub. During your stay, drive a couple of miles up to the nearby restaurant and take advantage of watercraft rentals at the nearby marina on Lake Nantahala.
Mountain Yurt in Colorado
Guests looking for a mountain adventure are sure to find this yurt to be a perfect wilderness accommodation. Located in the San Juan Mountains, this property is ideal for hiking, skiing, cycling and snowshoeing through the wild backcountry.
The site can accommodate up to four guests with a queen-sized bed, sofa bed, and two extra beds if necessary. The adjacent 12-foot yurt includes a composting toilet and canister shower for folks who don’t mind roughing it a little. Bring your own sleeping bags and get ready to experience a stunning skyline of Colorado peaks.
Couples Yurt in California
Well-suited for a couples’ retreat with your sweetheart and perhaps a few more of your favorite couples, this yurt site is romantic, colorful and enticing. Each yurt is suited for two with a king-sized bed, a private bathroom and a cozy fireplace.
Guests have access to communal outdoor showers and a Japanese-style soaking tub, as well as a shared guest living room and nearby hiking trails that stretch across the 160-acre ranch. Activities and art supplies are available on-site; enjoy a hot cup of tea or a glass of local wine while snuggling up by the campfire.
Regardless of where you might wish to go glamping, yurts bring an air of tranquility and security to those they shelter. We encourage you to check out one of these yurts on your next getaway.