Picture yourself in a luxury glamping tent surrounded by vibrant colorful wild flowers, on a hilltop with a view of crystal clear turquoise waters, mountains in the distance and delicious gourmet food. Does this sound like your kind of vacation? That’s how we spent our summer family vacation this year glamping in Utah in Bear Lake Valley at Conestoga Ranch.
Conestoga Ranch is a new luxury glamping property sitting in a hillside below the mountains looking out at the sparkling Caribbean-like waters of the infamous Bear Lake in the distance. It’s the perfect location for a family vacation, a girl’s weekend retreat, a yoga retreat or even a wedding.
We stayed in the 6 person grand tent. This beautifully appointed abode comes equipped with a king bed and 4 twin size beds,wood floors, and many decorative additions that make it feel like home.
Grand Tent Interior
A true glamping requirement for me is climate control. The luxury glamping tent had a space heater and fan. I could also unzip the “windows” to allow fresh air in through the screens. Even though it was June when we visited, we made good use of the heater! The mountain weather was mild during the day but it was quite chilly at night. We were super grateful for an armoire stocked with electric blankets to keep us Floridians from freezing.
There was also a refrigerator to keep your drinks or leftovers cold. A lamp and 2 mounted lights on the wall of the master bedroom provided plenty of lighting at night inside the tent. There isn’t a microwave but the kitchen can heat up anything you need and they have something they can provide to families that may need to warm up milk.
The amenity that makes the luxury glamping tent truly fit for a diva is the full bathroom inside of the tent. Other glamping locations I’ve visited have a bathroom in a separate building but having the bathroom right inside of your tent really puts this location in another class.
Grand Tent Bathroom
There was a rain shower head over a deep rustic tin tub, sink , mirror, lights, and toilet. The water pressure is fantastic and the water got warm almost instantly. A warm shower beneath the rain shower head was the perfect way to wind down after our adventure filled days.
Another touch of glam that I absolutely loved was the Conestoga Ranch signature scented hand soap, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. I’m actually very sensitive to scented products due to my allergies but this scent was not an issue for me at all. Most importantly it smelled divine! I only wish it was for sale. It would have made for a great souvenir. Hint hint Conestoga!!
Each luxury glamping tent has its own fire pit and chairs in addition to a fire valet to come by with wood and light your fire for you. Can we say pampered? Yes please! While my son loves that part of camping it’s honestly not my favorite chore. I welcomed the opportunity to sit back and kick my feet up and let someone else do the hard work.
Grand Tent Fire Pit
Conestoga Ranch offers several other choices for accommodations. The grand tent style that we stayed in has variations to accommodate 2, 6, or even 8. There is also the royal tent which is bigger than the grand tent and perfect for a bridal suite before a wedding or a honeymoon suite. You can also stay in a more traditional teepee style tent that sleeps 4. I loved that they provide camp chairs for you around the fire pit at those sites.
One of the most unusual accommodations on the property is the wagons. You can totally live out your Oregon Trail dreams! I was really surprised at how roomy they are inside. The outside is deceiving. If you are planning for a group they can even change the configuration of the wagons to have your group together in your own little wagon community. The traditional tents and the wagons don’t have bathrooms inside but just a short walk away there are private individual bathrooms and showers in the main building.
The event pavilion on top of the hill is a beautiful space that can be completely open or closed with flaps. It provides a spectacular view of the lake and mountains in the distance. It comes with lights strung across the rafters to give that romantic starry night feel. It’s the perfect blank canvas to create an outdoor wedding fairy tale. I call dibs! Wait, am I allowed to call dibs even though I’m single? Hmm maybe not. If you do decide to tie the knot here at list send a diva an invite mmmk?
One of the things that can still make glamping a bit of chore is cooking your meals. You are certainly able to do that on your individual fire pit, but the ranch boasts the Campfire Grill Restaurant right on the property where you can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While the menu offerings are fairly simple, Chef Vincent still manages to add some flare. It’s certainly the fanciest meal you’ll eat while camping. The open air dining area is so cozy and inviting with a great view of the property and the lake in the distance.
There is a woodfire oven where fresh pizzas are crafted. You may even catch the pizza artisan doing fancy aerial tricks with the dough.
Prosciutto Arugula Woodfire Oven Pizza
For breakfast we tried french toast, pancakes, and bacon. They were all very tasty. Our favorite breakfast meal was the Conestoga Ranch Scramble which had a variety of sausage, ham, bacon, cheddar, eggs, veggies, and home fries. It was a large portion and extremely flavorful.
Pancakes (L) French Toast and Bacon (R)
We loved the Campfire Grill burger. It’s made from local Bear Lake wagu beef served with lettuce, tomato, onion, and cheddar on a potato bun. This was definitely not your ordinary burger. In the words of Ned Flanders, it was scrumditilyumptious.
Wagu Cheddar Burger
With menu choices like truffle fries, crab cakes, New York strip steak, or hickory salmon you are sure to find something to please your bougie tendencies. It certainly added that extra something for the full luxury glamping experience. There are also dishes simple enough to please the less adventurous palettes and several options for vegetarians. If you are traveling with your family they also have a kid’s menu for the little glampers.
On site there is plenty to do to keep you occupied. They have a fleet of bicycles available for guest to sign out for use free of charge. You can pedal around the grounds or venture into Garden City to check out the gift shops and grab a world famous rasberry milkshake from La Beau’s. The ranch also had a playground for the kiddos and several horses. You can get food from the main office to feed the horses and pet them but you aren’t allowed to ride them. There’s also cornhole and a game room tent with ping pong table, basketball, and air hockey. My favorite pastime on the grounds was the lounge tent, which I dubbed the nap tent. This open air tent had couches and comfy chairs. It was the perfect place to curl up beneath a blanket and take a mid-day nap.
If you want a bit more adventure during your stay there are so many options. The front desk is more than happy to help make arrangements for you and recommend some of the best activities around. Bear Lake Valley CVB is also a great resource to help you plan your trip itinerary. The Bear Lake Valley area includes both Utah and the portion of Idaho that borders Bear Lake, known as the Caribbean of the Rockies. You can check off two states in just one visit. The Idaho border is literally 5 minutes up the main road. We hiked to Bloomington Lake, a glacier lake, and explored a half mile of stalactites and stalagmites in the Minnetonkah Caves in Cache National Forest.
View from Above the Ranch
There are ATV’s and horseback riding outfitters. We didn’t get a chance to go out on ATV’s since many businesses are closed on Sundays but we did get the special treat of going off road in a doorless jeep with Chef Vincent from the ranch! The views up on those mountainous trails were absolutely spectacular. We saw jaw dropping panoramic views of the lake, deer, and we even caught a glimpse of a moose! We were all really excited about the moose as they aren’t frequently spotted.
Bear Lake Marina
Of course there is an abundance of activities to do on the lake. There are several beach access areas all within a short bike ride or drive. Garden City Beach has a boardwalk that takes you out to a sandy beach area. There’s also the Bear Lake Marina where you can rent a boat or fish. We rented kayaks and SUPs (stand up paddleboard) to go out and explore. Bear Lake is a massive body of freshwater. It’s 20 miles long and 8 miles across to the opposite shore. It has depths of up to 200+ feet in places and it is even home to 4 native species of fish only found in its waters. The lake is absolutely stunning from a distance but you really can’t appreciate its full beauty until you actually go out on the water.
Kayaking and Paddleboarding on the Caribbean of the Rockies
The turquoise waters are mesmerizing and it’s crystal clear to the bottom. I had to keep reminding myself that this is freshwater, not the Caribbean Sea. It was such a surreal experience. We had a bit of wind but it was bearable. It was all fun and games until a gust of wind knocked my son off balance and he fell off of his paddleboard into the frigid waters. It may look like the Caribbean but it certainly didn’t feel like the Caribbean. He was freezing! I had to paddle against the wind to get to his board before it got taken out too far and maneuver it back to him. It was quite the Baywatch moment. It took some effort but I managed to finally get the board over to him so that he could climb back on. I actually captured his fall on video!
The Conestoga Ranch had everything we needed for an unforgettable family vacation. This is by far our favorite glamping experience so far. There’s comfort, luxury elements, great food, relaxation, and adventure all right at your fingertips. Check out more great reviews of the property and book your reservation today.
Things To Know
- Getting there – The closest major aiport is Salt Lake City airport. From there it is about a 2 hour drive to Garden City, Utah. Make sure you stop at Rick’s Spring and the Bear Lake overlook.
- If your plans include a Sunday, expect many establishments to be closed. There is a prevalent Mormon community in the area so it was quite the ghost town on Sunday.
- Should you forget any essentials the ranch gift shop has just about everything you may need from toys to toiletries.
- You may not notice but there is a small room in the dining hall equip with a television. You’re welcome.
- Get up and see the sunrise from your tent above the mountains and the lake. It’s worth it.
- Go to the Chocolate Bear. Don’t ask questions. Just go!
Special thanks to Conestoga Ranch for providing us a complimentary stay in exchange for this review. Tom, the owner is so accommodating and helpful to all of his guests. We also have to thank Chef Vincent and his wife Inga for keeping us well fed. Bear Lake Valley CVB provided the water activities mentioned in this post. All opinions are my own honest views. This post contains an affiliate link that compensates me with commission for reservations made through my links. See full disclosure.