We decided at the last minute that we needed to take a family vacation but we were running short on time and money, so what was I to do? I had read a blog post a few months ago about yurts. This got me interested, what's a yurt?? I was asked by my friends when I first mentioned it to them. Basically a yurt is a round, heavy duty, permanent tent. It has heavy gauge vinyl for the sides and wooden supports for strength. Our short camping adventure took us to Torreya State Park, near Bristol, Florida in the United States. This was the only yurt (at least that I could find in a state park) in the entire state. We made our reservations the day before we were set to arrive, so I was excited to see that there was availability with short notice.
What's in it (or not in it)?
- Ours was equipped with both a queen and bunk beds. There were no linens on the bed, just a vinyl covered mattress. I think this is fairly universal, so bring those with you. We brought a sleeping bag for the wife and myself, as well as Jr, so we were covered there.
- There was also a table, 2 rocking chairs, 2 others chairs and a chest of drawers. Guess if you were staying for a while this would be good, but we were only in it for a couple days.
- Here's where the wife was sold on the idea.... Air Conditioning! We were in Florida, so 80 degree nights is not out of the ordinary. Needless to say, we were comfortable! Also, hanging from the middle of the yurt was a fan with light... Much better than the battery powered lantern we usually take with us. Also, there was wired power within the yurt so we didn't need the extension cord that we brought.
- On three of the side of the yurt, there were screen roll down windows. We kept ours up most of the time for lighting purposes.
- We did not have running water (or restroom) inside of the yurt. The policy for pets was that they weren't allowed in the yurt, and there was also no smoking or stoves allowed in the yurt. All things that weren't a big deal to us, but I'm sure could be a little cumbersome if you wanted to bring the family pooch along for the camping trip.
What's the downside to yurt camping?
There is one down side to the yurt. All future "camping" trips will be compared to it, and I have a feeling they won't fare well. The yurt camping concept is nothing short of ingenious. You are only a step away from the wilderness, yet you have a roof that will withstand the heaviest rain, and AC for those hot summer days. You really do have the best of all worlds.
So, whether you are new to camping, or just new to yurts (like I was), if you get the chance to try a yurt, DO IT! It is surprising how much it was like a tent, but with all the comforts of home. We will definitely take advantage of one next time they are available at the campground that we are looking to stay at. They are usually a little more than a regular campsite (ours was $40/night) and sites were around $15-$20.