The Roundup

From Off-Grid Treehouses to Desert Earthships: 6 Glorious Ways to Stay in Nature

by Team Fathom
Activate the senses in the heart of Canada's Great Bear Rainforest. Photo courtesy of Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort.

Time to rewild yourself. Over a thousand studies regarding humans in nature conducted over the last several years point to the same outcome again and again: the more time we spend in natural settings, the better we feel emotionally, psychologically, energetically. From mountains to prairies to deserts to oceans white with foam, here are six spectacular places across North America to get back in touch with your wild side. Find more in our book, Travel North America (And Avoid Being a Tourist).

Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort, British Columbia, Canada

Once upon a time, a young family who wanted a life immersed in nature set out to build an off-grid lodge on Canada's wild west coast in the Great Bear Rainforest. Forty years later, the nine-cabin resort (with a floating dock, sauna, wildlife excursions, and seasonally driven meals) continues its ethical, climate-friendly, thoughtful approach to hospitality, reviving weary spirits and encouraging adventure and organic connection with nature.

Be one with nature in the Greater World Earthship community. Photo courtesy of Earthship Biotecture.

Earthship Biotecture, Taos, New Mexico

This eco-construction company builds totally off-grid homes for self-sufficient living that take care of the six things humans need to live a "harmonious life on Earth" (everything from clean water to fresh food to waste management). You can find their autonomous houses all over the world, but you can spend two nights or a week at one of their WiFi and Netflix–enabled Earthship rentals at Taos headquarters – funky jungle greenhouses with fountains, fishponds, and banana trees – on a beautiful mesa overlooking the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Treehouse living. Photo courtesy of Primland.

Primland, Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Planted on 12,000 acres (4865hectares) among the spectacular BlueRidge Mountains, Primland's tree houses are cozy, French-designed cabins built around solid treetop branches, with decks that give way to panoramic views of the valley. Guests get around on4x4s, throw tomahawks, shoot sportingclays, hook fish, climb big trees (with harnesses), exercise at the outdoor gym in the woods, and, come evening, explore the night sky over cocktails with the resort's Director of Astronomy.

Getting nautical. Photo courtesy of The Point Resort.

The Point Resort, Saranac Lake, New York

An adults-only getaway for those who like roughing it Rockefeller style. The whimsically decorated stone and timber mansion is one of the Adirondack Great Camps built by Gilded Age magnates along Upstate New York's lakeshores. Then and now, the house delivers nature in luxurious trappings – rock climbing in the High Peaks and boat rides in the resort's mahogany Budsin during summer and, in winter, skating, ice fishing, and curling on the frozen lake or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on miles of paths that stretch through the Adirondacks.

Hive mentality. Photo courtesy of Azulik.

Azulik, Tulum, Mexico

This hotel is compelling for what it does not offer: WiFi, cell service, AC, or television. The adults-only, off-grid, wellness-minded treehouse villas won't contribute to artificial light pollution, either. Instead, an Azulik staffer comes over with candles at dusk. Most villas only have bathtubs, because "the shower is an invention of rushed men." Spend time swinging on a hanging bed, chilling out on the clothing-optional beach, or trying out rejuvenating spa experiences like Mayan steam treatments, hot stone massages, and shaman-led rebirth rituals.

Freedom on the plains. Photo courtesy of Mustang Monument.

Mustang Monument, Wells, Nevada

Activist and philanthropist Madeleine Pickens rescued 650 mustangs heading to the slaughterhouse; they now run like the wind at her wild horse sanctuary in Wells, a few hours west of Salt Lake City.The guest accommodations include ten beautifully appointed and hand-painted teepees, as well as a lavish ten-room cabin and a cozy saloon. Resident Native Americans share their history and stories in the evenings, a lovely end to adrenaline-fueled days spent riding, four-wheeling, and dining under the stars. It gets even better: 100 percent of the profits benefit Saving America's Mustangs.

Keep Staying in Nature

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Trekking Trails to Tables: A Local's Guide to Golden, Colorado
Finding Refuge in Nature? At Eastwind, That's a Trend to Stay

We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.