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Heart of Louisiana: ‘Glamping’ in state parks

Updated: Dec. 1, 2020 at 8:27 PM CST
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ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. (WVUE) - If the urge to spend more time outdoors has you thinking about a camping trip, but you don’t have all of the gear, there is a comfortable option at some Louisiana state parks. It’s called glamping, where you get a nice large tent with a bed and outdoor furniture.

There’s something almost magical about a campfire, the flames dancing above a few small logs, casting light and shadows in the forest.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people who, you know, aren’t wanting to dedicate, uh, you know, hundreds of dollars to camping equipment and still want that experience,” Tentrr Camp Host Patrick McPike said.

McPike is the campground host at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville for a new kind of camping experience that’s not exactly roughing it.

He makes sure sites provided by the outdoor company Tentrr are ready for guests to move in, with extras like luxury beds.

“We also provide a picnic table with two benches. We’ve got a storage area. So, if you wanted to bring food, cook it over the stove, you know, over the fire pit, come here and have a nice little sit-down dinner,” McPike explained.

The large tents have wood floors and a porch with Adirondack chairs. Visitors can walk outside and get a nice view of the pond.

Eight Louisiana state parks now have the glamping experience. It’s about half the cost of a state park cabin and comes at a time of growing demand from families who want to get outdoors.

“Visitation has been up in a lot of areas, especially for the state parks. As people look for things to do outside that are safe and socially distanced. The Tentrr sites, the locations of the more hand chosen because of their remoteness, which makes them quiet. And you’re more likely to be able to interact with nature. You’ll see wildlife,” Rebecca Rundell with Louisiana State Parks said.

At Fontainebleau, there are three glamping sites located on remote beaches. You can only get there by paddling a canoe or kayak.

“Our farthest one is about a 20-minute to a 30-minute paddle from where you launch out of inside the state park,” McPike said.

Visitors are at the mercy of wind and waves on Lake Pontchartrain, which can make for a challenging paddle. But when you get there, you are rewarded with a wonderful view. And after dark, you see the moon stars and planets above the distance city lights 25 miles away. If you prefer to reach your campsite by trail, there are other remote sites.

“They’re wrapped around a pond, they’re in the woods, you can barely see one from the next, so you still get that remote feeling,” McPike said.

They also provide tents that can fit up to six people if you want your kids to have an extra space.

At night, people hear the sounds of crickets and frogs and the crackle of a campfire. As visitors settle in for a night in the woods, in a tent where most of the work is done for you, it’s time to relax.

Starting Tuesday (Dec. 1) people can reserve a glamping tent site at eight Louisiana state parks.

FOR STATE PARK GLAMPING INFO: HTTPS://WWW.LASTATEPARKS.COM/GLAMPING

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