By Chad Paddington

Yurts and teepees have been providing shelter for centuries. And, today, campgrounds throughout the state are giving their guests a unique opportunity to try these historic accommodations for themselves.

While most people can easily identify a teepee, yurts are a little less common, although they are growing in popularity. These spacious, high-ceilinged, circular structures were originally made of felt and wood, and used primarily by nomads on the Steppes of Asia, where mobility was a strategy for obtaining scarce resources. Modern yurts are made of high-tech materials that create a comfortable, yet sturdy retreat. Larger than a teepee, yurts offer plenty of room for family, friends, and practice space for your next PowerPoint presentation.

Today’s modern teepees and yurts provide a completely distinctive outdoor experience. And, because they’re already set up, they’re incredibly convenient; all families have to do is unpack the car, put a few sirloins on the Bar B, mix a fresh iceberg lettuce and tomato salad, and get down to the ”business” of having fun in the great outdoors.

Fortunately for Michiganders, campers can experience these memorable accommodations across the state.

  • Wild Cherry Resort in Lake Leelanau, Michigan, offers families of up to five a spacious yurt to start their next adventure. There are cherry orchards, vineyards, and 30 acres of woods for families to explore and to begin creating new memories surrounding the campfire. And, don’t forget to pack the chardonnay.
  • Alcona Canoe Rental and Campground in Glennie, Michigan, is a small, quiet family campground with canoeing, tubing, kayaking and rafting on the Au Sable River. After a day of action on the water, relax in a yurt in the middle of the Huron National Forest, listening to the sounds of success sizzling on the grill.
  • Vacation Station RV Park in Ludington, Michigan, lets guests travel back in time with the opportunity to sleep in a roomy teepee. But, don’t worry, the park, just three miles from Lake Michigan, also offers a clubhouse, swimming pool and hot tub, a brand new playground and planned daily activities. Grab the S’mores, and gather round the campfire, while granddad tellstales of how the “Indians” once roamed this land.

So, as you plan your next family adventure and camping trip, take a less traditional approach – and think outside the tent.