Staff Picks: Gigi and Why the PNW is North America's Best-Kept Secret

By Giovanna Tapia

Corporate tech giants (think Amazon and Microsoft), ultra-hipster coffee shops, micro-breweries as far as the eye-can-see, flannel attire, and that infamous, unrelenting drizzle have become what the Pacific Northwest (affectionately referred to as the "PNW" by locals) is probably best known for. And to be honest, locals are eager to keep that rainy and cold reputation alive!

A growing sense of regional pride has made locals want to preserve this hidden gem, well, hidden from an ever increasing flow of transplants and tourists. But as a Seattle native myself (or as close to a "native" as I can be), I'm here to let you all in on the secret.

Image courtesty of Pixabay.

The PNW is truly a utopia for outdoor lovers, adventure enthusiasts, music lovers, and foodies alike. While it is true that Seattle and the PNW suffer from overcast and rainy skies for a large part of the year, it is for that very reason that this region is undeniably one of the most beautiful in the country (probably even the world). Thanks to the consistent rainfall and relatively mild temperatures, the area remains lush and verdant year round, even appropriately earning Washington the nickname of "The Evergreen State."

Having lived in three of the most prominent areas of the PNW: British Colombia, Washington, and (briefly) Oregon, I'll admit that, growing up, it was easy to take these naturally stunning surrounding for granted. Hopping in the car and driving a short distance away from any city was far too easy and offered the opportunity to see some of the most pristine coastlines, rugged mountains, and emerald-hued lakes that I've seen to date!

As I write this article from sunny Sevilla, Spain, the inner Seattleite and PNW-er in me is yearning for a little rainfall and some of those out-of-the-city hiking adventures I grew up with. So, without further ado, here are some of my top picks for a glamping getaway in the Pacific Northwest.

Magical Tree House in Seattle

This luxury tree house will make you feel like you've stepped into a forest

One of the best parts about living in Seattle is that you don't really need to leave the city to experience mother earth at it's finest. Even the city's most urban spaces are green and full of flora.

Take for instance this modern elevated tree house that is in the Lake City neighborhood. It's just a short drive from the very heart of Seattle's bustling city center, yet one step into the property, and you'll be left feeling like you've left behind the urban landscape for a lush forest setting.

Farm-Style Cottage near Whistler

Image of Pemberton courtesy of Pixabay.

Located just a short, but scenic, drive north of the famous skiing village of Whistler and about 150 kilometers from Vancouver, Pemberton embodies the spirit of the PNW outdoors perfectly. Often overlooked for its more famous neighbor, Whistler, Pemberton is nestled amidst the green-belt valley in the Coast Mountains providing it a stunning natural surrounding.

I first visited it in 2014 for Pemberton Music Festival and was quickly enchanted with the area, as it is the perfect city escape! Don't just take my word for it, though. Take in the crisp mountain air and experience the Canadian wilderness for yourself with a stay at this farm-style vacation rental located just 10 minutes from the Pemberton city center.

Unique Cabin on Oregon Coast

Relax at this cozy A-frame cabin near Seaside, Oregon.

On the northwestern coast of Oregon, the small resort city of Seaside is probably best known for its great surf waves and a 1920s promenade but offers so much more than just that. My stepfather had family there, so growing up, we'd frequent Seaside during long weekends and summer vacations.

I was always so excited for these getaways, since I knew I could look forward to walks along the long stretches of beach (at the now famous Cannon Beach), a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life, and of course, the endless samples of Salt Water Taffy along the Seaside boardwalk. The area is also rich in wildlife, including eagles in the Necanicum River estuary and migrating gray whales that can be seen along the coast.

This lovely A-frame cabin features plenty of natural light and is the perfect place to stay if you're looking to visit Seaside, Cannon Beach, and or Astoria (where the childhood classic movie, "The Goonies," is set) for your very own Oregonian adventure.

Quirky Beachside Farmhouse

How adorable are these furry little alpacas? You won't want to miss a stay at this farmhouse!

I'll wrap up my list with another Washington pick, since it's where I hold nearest and dearest to my heart. Located in the Puget Sound, and a relatively short ferry ride from Seattle, Whidbey Island is unlike anywhere I've ever been in my life. It has a truly special essence that makes for the perfect antidote for any big city pressures you may be looking to escape.

There is just such a sense of peace and tranquility that captivates any visitor to the island. Whether it's the small town charm of the villages that dot the coast of the island, such as Langley and Coupeville, or the wide-open beaches, scenic vistas, outdoor adventures, great art, and fine dining, Whidbey is truly a special little corner of the world.

Ringing true to the quirkiness that the greater Seattle area is often known for, this farmhouse is located on an alpaca farm right next to the waters of the Puget Sound. And yes, you read that right—an alpaca farm! It does not get much more Pacific Northwest than that.

Seattle is home to both stunning nature, and bustling citylife—it truly has it all!

And now I feel like I've betrayed my fellow PNW-ers by letting the cat out of the bag that the PNW really is the best, but I couldn't keep that kind of secret to myself. It is just so much the archetypal location for a glamping getaway, and everybody deserves to see this beautiful part of the world for themselves!


Witness the magic of the Pacific Northwest for yourself and check out some more of our accommodations in Washington and Oregon in the U.S. and British Columbia in Canada!

Blogger Spotlight: Karilyn and her family trip to Idyllwild, California

By Giovanna Tapia

Nestled amid the San Jacinto Mountains, Idyllwild provides the perfect setting for any glamper looking to escape the hustle and bustle of California's biggest cities, and instead enjoy a stay among the tall pines, fragrant cedars, and rugged trails of a small mountain town. Though it has become increasingly popular for tourists in recent years, Idyllwild maintains that small town charm that lured so many visitors to begin with.

No-back-Home

Karilyn, and her travel partners in crime— Folo and Cian

Most recently, Karilyn of No Back Home, visited one of our cozy woodland cottages in the heart of Idyllwild.

As a California native, Karilyn had been waiting to visit this secluded mountain town for some time but hadn't found the opportunity to do so. She was finally able to cross it off her list this past month, but we'll let her tell you more about her idyllic stay with her family in Idyllwild.

Idyllwild--California

Surrounded by National Park and Indian Reservations, this cottage is in the perfect location for nature hikes and historical discoveries.

Were you and your family familiar with glamping before your stay?

My family loves the experience of glamping. However, before our recent stay with Glamping Hub in Idyllwild, our views of glamping were a little less luxurious; it meant camping in a cabin without electricity! Glamping Hub has put a whole new perspective on this for us, and we love it.

Would you recommend glamping as opposed to regular camping to other families? Why or why not?

I think glamping is an amazing way to travel for families, as it is always easier to stay in a home with access to your own kitchen and space to move around. Many families struggle with the idea of camping with kids, worrying about the kids getting too cold (or hot) or freaked out in the wilderness, and wondering how their own bodies will adjust to sleeping on the ground. Glamping is a great alternative to get the kids out into nature without making the parents sacrifice their comfort!

Lofted-cottage-for-families--California

The loft-style layout of this cottage makes it unforgettably cozy

If you could pick anywhere to go glamping in the world, where would you pick and why?

If we could go glamping anywhere in the world, it would have to be Africa. Staying in the middle of the Savannah or jungle, listening to the wild animals around us, would be an amazing experience. Closer to home, I would love to stay in a tree house in Central America, where we could see majestic birds and monkeys hanging out in the treetops with us!

No-Back-Home--Cozy-Cottage-Idyllwild

This historic cottage is the perfect place for any glamper looking to get the most out of Idyllwood.

Why did you pick Idyllwild as your glamping destination?

Coming from a major city where our lives are always go, go, go, we really enjoy getting more in touch with nature while glamping. This is why we chose to visit Idyllwild—it's only a two-hour drive from L.A., but it felt worlds away. Sitting outside listening to the sounds around us, taking hikes, and spending quality time playing games in the cabin was the best part of our trip

What is your biggest piece of advice for glamping with a family?

For families looking to take the plunge into glamping, I recommend starting off somewhat locally. Pick lodging that works well for your family: think about stairs for children and elderly; pay attention to the amenities, such as fireplaces or hot tubs; and choose a location that offers comfort within a magical outdoor setting!

Mountain-Getaway--Idyllwild-California

Karilyn and her family took full advantage of all the natural beauty that surrounded their cottage

Want to plan your own mountain getaway? Check out some more of our best peak-top trips here!
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To follow more of Karilyn and her family's adventures, check out her blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

Blogger Spotlight: Marinel

By Giovanna Tapia

After working as a lawyer in corporate america for 15 years, Marinel decided to transition out of that lifestyle to become a full-time mountain nomad and trekker. Through her blog, Brown Gal Trekker, podcasts, and workshops, she hopes to inspire others to do the same and explore more of the beautiful world we live in.

The blogger, Marinel, in front of mountains.

Marinel on one of her many trekking adventures.

Most recently, Marinel went back to the her homestate of Washington, where she explored the stunning, glacier-filled Mt. Baker and the lush Snoqualmie National Forest. We'll let her fill you in on her stay in the Evergreen state!

A landscape photo of Mt. Baker in Washington.

It's no wonder Washington is called The Evergreen State, look at all that green!

What was the best part about glamping in Washington state?

I love the convenience of the accommodations, in terms of its location and proximity to the major sights and trails in the area. In Mount Baker, for example, the accommodations were near the town center, where I dined or bought any necessities. At the same time, the trail heads were just a few minutes away.

Describe each of the accommodations you stayed in, in three words:

Rejuvenating. Cozy. Convenient.

A photo of the cabin in Mt. Baker from the exterior.

This cozy cabin is the perfect place to relax and rest up after a long day of trekking.

How did you get into trekking and hiking?

I discovered it later in life when I moved from Seattle to Washington, D.C., where I practiced as a prosecutor. My job was highly stressful, and as a result, I was looking for an outlet to destress. That's when I discovered there was a large national park near D.C. and one day, I decided to try hiking it.

That first time hiking was somewhat unpleasant, because everybody was walking at different paces, and many hikers were being left behind. To be honest, it was almost my first and last time hiking, but for some reason I decided to try it again.

From there, hiking became a ritual to allow myself to get away from everyday chores and obligations. I then discovered wilderness backpacking, which quickly became my favorite way of spending time in the outdoors, besides my usual affinity towards traveling overseas.

A landscape of Artist's Point in Mt. Baker, Washington.

The gorgeous view of Mt. Baker glacial peaks from Artist's Point

Do you prefer traveling solo or in groups? Why?

I find joy in doing both. Obviously, travleing in groups affords the ability to share the experience with others which can add more meaning to it. However, going solo requires you to reconnect with yourself and enjoy sometime to reflect on life. Solo traveling is a great way to experience freedom in the sense that we are able to roam wherever, whenever, and however we want.

A stunning view of Lake Ann in Mt. Baker, Washington.

The pristine and calm waters of Lake Ann of Mount Baker make for a beautiful spot to sit and reflect (literally!).

What is your favorite season to glamp? Why?

I find anytime can be the perfect time to glamp, especially since glamping means you have the comfort of having a warm bed, hot showers, and home-cooked meals. That's exactly why it's quite a treat to be able to glamp as opposed to camping or staying overnight in the outdoors—glamping allows for you to spend time in nature anytime without worrying about the weather or other natural elements.

A view of the Chain Lakes Loop and Lake Ann trails in Washington.

Marinal hiked along the Trail Lake Loops in Mount Baker, pictured above.

Where are your favorite places to travel in the fall?

Fall is my favorite time for hiking and trekking—so traveling in general would take me to the national parks in the West Coast or perhaps overseas in Europe somewhere or in far away places like Mongolia.

Where are your favorite places to travel in the summer?

As summer can be rather hot in the U.S., I would prefer to travel to places in South America or Africa.

For more unique, nature-based getaways in Washington, have a peek at our Washington portal!


Check out where else Marinel's trekking and travels have taken her on her blog, Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram. You can also hear more about her transition from working as a lawyer in corporate America to becoming a full-time nomad on SoundCloud!

4 Unique Ideas for a Romantic Getaway in Texas

By Giovanna Tapia

Looking to plan a romantic evening with your significant other, but running out of new ideas to keep the spark burning? Look no further, the Lone Star state has plenty of romance-filled options that will leave you wondering why it is referred to as the Lone Star state to begin with!

couple with dog on couch

Get up and off your couch—explore the great state of Texas in style with your significant other!

Here are just a few of our favorite romantic Texan activities to enjoy with your partner.

1) Explore the vineyards of Texas' countryside

grapes on a vine in Texas wine country

The wineries and vineyards of the Texas Hill Country are some of the largest wine producers in the United States.

Uncork and unwind by indulging in some Texan wine at one of the many vineyards through Texas' countryside. Though Texas might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of fine wine, the heart of the state's countryside happens to be one of the largest and oldest wine-growing regions in the United States. Wine Road 290, in particular, is becoming increasingly famous for its scenic vineyards set amid the rolling countryside hills. Wine not check it out yourselves?

We recommend staying at this quirky and romantic cabin rental in the charming German-influenced town of Fredricksburg.

quirky-romantic-cabin-rental-texas-getaway

Fredericksburg offers plenty of glamping accommodations for couples looking to experience Wine Road 290.

If you are looking for a bit more of a secluded experience instead, check out this adorable tiny house that sits within close proximity to some of the best vineyards:

Charming Tiny House for Two in Texas Hill Country

Join the tiny house movement and enjoy a stay at this hand-crafted tiny house in the Texan Hill Country.

2) Go stargazing in the desert

Stargazing in Texas desert near Terlingua

There are few places better than Western Texas for a romantic night of stargazing.

Embrace the Dark Sky Ordinance and go stargazing in Western Texas, where the dry desert air makes for some of the brightest stars you'll ever see. Allow yourselves to get away from all of the light pollution of the inner city and let the Texan stars light up your world instead.

If this sounds like something for you and your honey, head over to Terlingua, Texas, which is known to be one of the best places to experience total seclusion and truly dark skies. Snuggle up with your significant other in this unique eco-dome for a truly unforgettable experience.

stargazing from an eco-dome in Texas

This unique eco-dome is just two miles from the ghost town of Terlingua.

3) Explore a geological wonder

If you and your significant other are looking to get hot and sweaty, might we suggest taking one of the more strenuous hiking paths in the beautiful Big Bend National Park? This National Park is located in western Texas and is so mesmerizing that it is often referred to as a geologic wonder by scientists. The dramatic mountain range surrounded by weather beaten canyons and arid desert is sure to provide an adventurous getaway for any couple!

Glamping near Big Bend National Park, Texas

Big Bend National Park is a wildly stunning natural region with a fascinating history.

Check out this wonderfully unique adobe cottage rental that allows great access to Big Bend National Park, while also providing complete privacy and comfort.

This cottage is conveniently located near Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend National Park.

4) Pamper yourself in seclusion

Want to get away from it all without sacrificing style and comfort? Allow yourselves to be pampered with massages, wine and cheese, and chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne while being just minutes from the gorgeous Guadalupe River at this rustic cabin.

Treat yourselves to a pampered getaway in the Texan countryside.

Here, couples can relax in the hammock, take a stroll through the gardens, cozy up around the fire pit, or soak in the outdoor hot tub—all while taking in the beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Even our friends over at Texas Outside are singing glamping's praises and have come up with a great breakdown of nine different types of accommodations in Texas. What are you waiting for? Check it out here!


Want to book your romantic getaway for this fall? Check out our Fall Getaway Collection for a countrywide selection of our unique accommodations!