Glamping at Conestoga Ranch 4

Just show up. The rest is done.

Set on a pristine hillside overlooking the immense, unending blue of Bear Lake, Conestoga Ranch is what happened when five guys took their love of the beautiful Garden City area and combined it with a desire to bring “glamping” to Utah.

What is glamping? It’s “glamorous camping.” So is it really camping? Yes. Kind of. But roughing it? Nope.

It may be that glamping is all in the details. Grand canvas tents and custom-built Conestoga wagons beckon with rustic, bohemian elegance and are furnished with found vintage items and old west touches. Rooms are decked with antique armoires, dangling Edison bulbs and lanterns, plush rugs scattered over hewn wood floors, and wool cowboy blankets heavy across the foot of beds piled high with crisp white linens and embroidered pillows. The beautiful arrangements read more like “American on safari” than Little House on the Prairie, and the tents feel truly restful. To boot: there’s even Wi-Fi and en suite bathrooms with showers, already stocked with products and towels.

The luxury accommodations take the back-breaking prep of camping away and travelers are able to pack a quick bag, jump on the road out of town, and be “camping” in a mere matter of a few hours.

The vibe at Conestoga Ranch is relaxed and easy—quiet enough for couples and adults, and laid back enough for families. Yoga classes and massage are available, and activities for the young (and young at heart) abound. One dad, playing whiffle ball on the lawn with a large brood, insists, “The vantage point is the best, that it’s set on a gently rolling hillside where you can see the lake, and everything else,” including your kids, who can run around and grab cruiser bikes to take along a bike path, or climb and swing at the playground, or visit the horses, who feed gently from open palms.

Just steps from each tent, the Campfire Grill has “revolutionized the Bear Lake dining scene” with locally sourced and chef-driven food served in an open-air pavilion whose views show like a painting. Feast on everything from steaks seared to perfection over crispy Brussels sprouts and smashed potatoes to a delicate salad adorned with Bear Lake raspberries and honeycomb. Or try what one diner exclaimed to be “the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.” Live music, craft beers and wine make the grown-ups want to linger. And they can. Kids are happy to wander over to the game tent just a few steps away or find a treat at Shakes on the Lake.

But save room in that tummy. Because when twilight descends and the stars begin to dot the sky, a fire valet arrives with and armload of wood and a s’mores kit—about ready to help you create that quintessential camping experience. The only thing sweeter than the gooey marshmallow at the end of your roasting stick is knowing that you won’t be sleeping on the ground that night, that a soft comfy bed awaits.

As the breeze picks up off the water and the moon rises over the lake and your marshmallow is on its way to roasted perfection, summer feels perfectly summed up in that moment. And the best part? You didn’t have to do a darn thing.