Glamping cabin 2 at Platte River State Park on July 9, 2018. These cabins are part of the Outdoor Venture Park initiative. (NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)
Photo: NEBRASKAland Magazine/TNS
Photo: NEBRASKAland Magazine/TNS

Wine glasses. Slippers. Wi-Fi. No roughing it in this state park’s ‘glamping’ cabins

House Beautiful published a list of the “20 best places to go glamping in the U.S.” last week — most located in the western half of the country, many in California. 

“Camping doesn’t have to be so … in tents,” the homes publication wrote.  

Since “glamping” came along, the words “camping” and “tents” don’t need to be in the same sentence anymore, the idea being the great outdoors can be enjoyed with amenities of the great indoors — Wi-Fi, TVs, clawfoot tubs, pool tables, even maid service.  

In the case of three new “glamping” cabins that opened last week at Platte River State Park in eastern Nebraska, those hotel-touches include Wi-Fi, bathrobes and slippers, and a queen-size bed that can be wheeled out onto a deck so you can sleep under the stars.  

Oh, and there’s a mosquito netting to keep the not-so-great outdoors at bay.  

“If you can overlook the word ‘glamping,’ you’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty sweet alternative to the typical vacation,” writes House Beautiful. “You can be outdoorsy-ish, without sacrificing having running water or having to pee in the woods.  

“As the trend has taken off nationwide, your options have only gotten better, too.”  

Glamping is “huge right now,” Jim Swenson, parks administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission told the Lincoln Journal Star. “That’s a market we need to capture.”  

He told the newspaper that his department and designers researched glamping locations across the country to create what would fit Nebraska best — cabins with heating and air conditioning that are available year-round. The sidewalks are lighted, the fire pits raised and the composite decks are shaded. The three-cabin project cost about $1 million and were paid for by a private donation, he told the Journal Star.  

Department spokesman Greg Wagner told Nebraska Radio Network the experience “is a hybrid between tent camping and staying in a cabin. It has some of the modern conveniences.”  

Glamping cabin 2 at Platte River State Park on July 9, 2018. These cabins are part of the Outdoor Venture Park initiative. (NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)
Photo: NEBRASKAland Magazine/TNS

A guide of one of the cabins posted to the department’s YouTube channel shows skylights, a stocked kitchen, a polished-concrete floor and a welcome basket with a bottle of wine, wine glasses and a s’mores kit.  

The cabins were placed in a fairly secluded part of the park, “tucked into the forest,” Wagner told the radio network.  

The department is testing the market with these three cabins and has room nearby to build three more, Swenson told the Journal Star. More could be built in other state parks, too, he said.  

The cabins cost $165 a night.  

The sound of the locusts in the trees is free.

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