Updated: Jul 16, 2020
If you are looking for different ways to spend your time in Toronto or looking for something new outside of the city scene, then try glamping. It is a mini break from the hustle and bustle. Glamping is glamorous camping with the luxury of your own bathtub and toilet; and sleeping on a large comfortable mattress with running electricity and water inside a large bell tent. Yes, this kind of luxury actually exists if you are afraid of the thought of no running water, electricity and fighting mosquitoes while camping in a small compact tent.
Where is it?
The one I visited was in Grafton, Ontario by Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat. It is an hour and half drive from Toronto and minutes away from the town of Cobourg.
Types of Accommodations
There are 3 types of accommodations at Whispering Springs: Safari Tents, Bell Tents and Cabins. All tents are located within an easy walking distance to all the amenities of Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat.
Safari Tents features a king or queen size bed, in-tent bathroom (bathtub, toilet, and sink), mini fridge and tableware, coffee maker (with sugar & creamers), electricity, quaint furnishings, linens and towels, robes, and a private fire pit and seating area. There are 10 different Safari Tents to choose from, plus a new tent opening this summer 2020 called the Casablanca.
Price per night begins at $349.
Bell Tents include a queen size bed, electricity, quaint furnishings, linens and towels, and robes. However, these tents share the following amenities: a BBQ and utensils, washroom and outdoor showers, and outdoor firepit and seating area.
Price per night begins at $199.
For larger groups, try considering the cabin or chalet. Both are within the property and can also enjoy the amenities on site.
The chalet's price per night is $699 and the cabin is $399 per night.
Where Did I Stay
I stayed in the Huckleberry Safari Tent for two nights. Huckleberry is the most popular tent at the springs. It features a stunning view of our spring-fed pond, King-size bed and and is nestled in a private corner of the springs. Huckleberry books up fast, so if you want to experience this wonderful tent, reserve it ASAP!
Newest Safari Tent: Casablanca
What to Bring
What I pack may be different from your needs, as I am a blogger so feel free to add to your list:
Camera + Tripod
Warm socks & slippers
Comfortable shoes for hiking trails
Personal care items & toiletries
Hair clip & hair tie
Hair shampoo, conditioner & mask (my hair is coloured so I need special treatments)
Tees & shorts for daytime
Warm clothes - leggings and sweaters (for chilly evenings around the campfire)
Food for your campfire cookouts (BBQ, flipper, plates, and cutlery are provided)
Smores kit: Graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows
Iron skillet or tin foil to cook and prep your meals
Alcohol & beverages
Activities & Amenities
Canoe or Paddle Boat
Hop in a canoe or paddle boat and take a leisurely ride around our spring-fed ponds as you watch for local wildlife, including a family of Canadian geese. Wear a ton of sunscreen as you may lose track of time when you're out having too much fun on the water. If you love to fish, you to bring your own rod and try to catch some fresh bass or trout to fry up for dinner!
Hiking & Forest Trails
Explore the massive property and forest hiking trails surrounding it. Wear comfortable shoes and wear bug spray.
Saltwater Pool & Hot Tub (Closed due to Covid-19)
The saltwater pool and outdoor hot tub overlook the sparkling waters of the picturesque spring-fed ponds and are nestled in a forest setting.
Outdoor Gym (Closed due to Covid-19)
Stay fit and keep fit at their outdoor gym. It is equipped with weights, kettlebells and strength training equipment.
Spa & Wellness
Add a little relaxation and wellness to your glamping vacation. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, massage services is on pause until the facility gets the green light to resume operation. However, as for the yogis,
you could still practice with a small intimate group near the Guest Pavilion. I did my own exercises on my yoga mat outside of my tent. There is so much unused green space around the tents so it was amazing to have my own quiet and peace while I work-out outside every morning.
Forest Chapel (Closed for 2020 bookings due to Covid-19)
If you are picturing in your head of a wedding in the forest filmed on Twilight when Bella & Edward got married, then it is very much like that once it's dolled up with wedding trinkets and decorations. It is a dream. Check out their venue on your hike. It is open!
Here is a cute sketch of the property. It looks massive but everything is within walking distance and just a few minutes away.
Is there cellular reception or wifi?
Cellular reception isn’t the strongest in this little corner of the countryside. Depending on your service provider you may not be well connected with the outside world during your stay at Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat. Treat this stay as a digital detox. There is WIFI either.
Is there a store on the premises?
The reception area offers a very small selection of snacks and souvenirs. However, Foodland supermarket is just 12 minutes into the village of Cobourg. We had to make a run here for an iron skillet and water (totally forget these two necessities back home).
My Review of Whispering Springs
All in all, I had a wonderful stay in the Huckleberry tent in Whispering Springs. It was just what I expected and it was very glamorous for my first time glamping experience. Am I ready for camping yet? I don't think I am ready to take on the wilderness without a full private bathroom just yet. I've always been very OCD and I do not like sharing intimate amenities with people I don't know. So will I glamp again? Yes I totally would. I felt very safe, minus the chipmunk that snuck into our tent while I was asleep and stole some of our Chinese Checker balls as well as rummaging through our bag of snacks. So remember to thoroughly lock those velcros in on the tent before your exit your tent or go to sleep, or you'll expect a visit from a little cute intruder.
The property looked really massive on the map they drew out but everything was very close to one another, which was great that we could finish the entire trail and tour the entire property within an hour or two. Also, each Safari tent had its own parking for our vehicle along with a wagon to wheel all of our stuff up to the Huckleberry tent.
We had ordered the breakfast basket for one day and a s'mores & champagne gift bag prior to arrival. Both arrived to our tent on time and ready to eat. Unfortunately for me, I could not take part in these delightful goodies as they do not have vegan options available. So if you are vegan, do not order the breakfast, dinner and BBQ baskets, as well as the s'mores bag.
During our stay, there were some maintenance happening with the tent beside us so there were many bodies coming through in and out of our tent property. I could not nap well after my hike so I made my way out to the hammock to find peace. The staff apologized for the many intrusions and offered us pizza and beer, which we did not enjoy. The pizza was very dry and not fresh. At check out, we learned that the pizza was a frozen box pizza that they actually sell off their in-tent service menu. We just hope that everything else on the menu is not sold in the same condition, but we will be more prepared in the future if we decide to come back.
I was hoping for some pool time and massage R&R but it was closed down due to Covid-19. Hopefully when I return, this will all be operating.
Overall, I would recommend this to everyone looking to do something outside of the box with little to no effort in planning. If you are worried about leaving the country at this time, then take off the weekend to venture outside of the city into nirvana. For those with children and pets, you will have to find a babysitter for them as this is an adults-only place so make the necessary arrangements if you want to partake in this wonderful experience. I hope this post will help you plan for your next staycation. Let me know which tent you booked and how your experience was. I already have my next glamping trip in St. Williams planned and booked for July so stay tuned for that review.
Stay safe everyone! XO
This post is not sponsored. All opinions are my own.