5 Ways to See the Wild West Without (Totally) Roughing It

learning the wild west

Much of the country’s beauty is found in the places where man has encroached little — where the wide, open spaces remain as they have for hundreds of years. This presents a unique opportunity to see all that the land has to offer, without forgetting that you are on vacation.

There are some creative ways to ensure that you’re not wasting time and effort hauling gear and pitching a tent, while also saving some money. In fact, foregoing the traditional hotel stay — the popular tent-alternative — is one of the very best ways to save money so that you have more to spend on the parts of your trip you’re actually building memories around.Montana in an RV

Montana is accurately nicknamed “The Treasure State” because it seems to possess more than its fair share of natural beauty, and it does so with diversity galore. The state has mountains, plains, and lakes in abundance.

In terms of memorable destinations, it boasts some heavy hitters: Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park are all part of the landscape.

With so many miles of sight-seeing worthy landscape, RVing through Montana is where it’s at. It maximizes one’s potential to see as much as possible. One could RV along the route Lewis and Clark’s took, visit hot springs for a quick dip, or dedicate whole, lazy days to swimming and fishing in Montana’s many lakes.

Wyoming in a Yurt

If you (somehow) didn’t get your mountain fix in Montana, traveling down to Wyoming is the next logical step in your journey. One of its most distinguishing features is its miles and miles of plainland. They lie in stark contrast to Grand Teton National Park, in the northwestern section of the state.

The Tetons are awe-inducing, to say the least. Surrounding the towering peaks are wildlife and lakes and extensive alpine terrain. Hike the 200 miles of trail, float the Snake River, and then, at the end of your long days of adventuring, stay in a yurt, where you give up hauling the tent, but not the views.

Colorado in a Rental

Colorado, much like previously mentioned destinations, is a haven for outdoor lovers. In addition to national and state parks, Colorado is the holy grail for those who love winter sports. Aspen, Vail, and Copper Mountain are hard to beat if you’re going to be packing your skis.

Here’s some insider intel, just for you: Colorado isn’t just for outdoor recreation. The state has managed to establish thriving arts communities throughout. In Aspen specifically, you’ll not only see some of the best slopes out there, you’ll also have access to the dozens of festivals and special art events that consistently bring culture to the area.

The Aspen Art Museum, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and the Aspen Music Festival and School keep the area’s art scene thriving all year long. There is perhaps no other Rocky Mountain location where a vacation rental would be more appropriate. Why let yourself forget for a moment that you’re living the good life?

Utah in an Animal Sanctuary

If you continue your journey south, you’ll come face-to-face with jaw-dropping rock formation, after jaw-dropping rock formation. Utah’s vast desert has provided a wealth of national parks that will stay with you long after you leave; Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Park are just a few of the locations in Utah that feature dramatic, crimson rock formations.

Located among these parks, is a truly unique place to stay, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. The sanctuary, located within Angel Canyon, houses approximately 1,600 animals at any given time. It is the dream destination for an animal lover. It’s the largest sanctuary of its kind in the U.S. In their own words, “This is no shelter. This is no roadside diversion.” It’s an experience all its own.

Not only can you volunteer during your stay there, their cabins are pet-friendly — so you can either invite an adoptable animal to have a “sleepover” with you, or you can keep your own pets with you. There’s perhaps no better way to maximize the meaningfulness of a road trip, than by camping (or glamping) with our pets.

California in a Tent Cabin

Some of the most familiar sentiments about nature were written about California’s wilderness. Most of us have likely seen the quote, “The mountains are calling and I must go … ” either on the internet, or as a framed print hanging in a friend’s home. The thought was penned by John Muir in a letter to his sister, from Yosemite a couple years before it would become a national park.

Yosemite is nestled within California’s Sierra Nevada mountains in the central part of the state. It is home to giant sequoias that are thousands of years old, and home to Tunnel View, which has enthralled millions with its view of the granite cliffs Half Dome and El Capitan, as well as Bridalveil Fall.

The park is almost 1,200 square miles of waterfalls, meadows, and valleys. Another of its famous admirers was Ansel Adams, whose photos of the park are some of the most beloved of nature. Be sure to make like Adams by brushing up on your travel photography skills, and take advantage of the plethora of scenic vistas.

If you want to be able to claim you stayed in a tent without really staying in one, stay at Yosemite Bug. They have the dream tent for those who love the outdoors, but want to stay comfortable: the tent cabin. It’s a tent, but with the structure and amenities of a cabin.

Go Westward

The untamed land of the west is becoming increasingly rare as the modern world continues its steady progression forward, and thus going west is the perfect direction to travel if you’re ready to just get away from it all for a spell.

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