Glamping

Melanie Severin, a graphic designer with the state Game and Parks Commission, photographs the interior of one of three new glamping cabins at Platte River State Park. The cabins have double doors, so renters can push the bed outside and onto the deck.

LOUISVILLE — You can rent a bigger cabin at a Nebraska state park, but it likely won’t come with wine glasses and slippers.

Or a ready-to-roast s’mores kit. Or a queen-sized bed on wheels that can roll through double doors for a night under the stars (but inside a mosquito net).

Or the ability to combine camping with glamour — close to nature but far from roughing it — for $165 a night.

“Glamping is a trending thing; it’s huge right now,” said Jim Swenson, parks administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “That’s a market we need to capture.”

And the state is trying, opening its first three glamping cabins at Platte River State Park near Louisville. Swenson unveiled the 500-square-foot cabins Wednesday, which the public can reserve starting Friday and rent starting Saturday.

They should fill up fast, said CJ Zajicek, who handles reservations for the commission.

“They really are wonderful,” she said after taking her own tour. “More than I anticipated.”

The three cabins each have a polished-concrete floor, a single main room dominated by the indoor-outdoor bed, a full bathroom and well-stocked kitchen, with a microwave, stove top, pots, pans, glasses, silverware and place settings.

Braving the elements will be easier outside, too, with lighted sidewalks, raised fire pits and composite decks with sun shades.

The state and its designers researched glamping providers across the country, from $75-per-night tents to $750 luxury experiences, Swenson said. Ultimately, they built what made the most sense for Nebraska’s climate — solid structures with heating and air conditioning that can be rented year-round.

“We pretty much fulfilled everything on our wish list,” he said.

The state is testing the market with the first three cabins and has room to build three more nearby. It could also introduce the concept to other parks, Swenson said.

The project cost a little more than $1 million — for the cabins, infrastructure and the three potential expansion sites — and was partially funded by the Rhonda and Howard Hawks family, Swenson said.

They’re the latest project in the commission’s Venture Parks concept, a public-private partnership designed to draw new users to the state parks system.

The $35 million concept includes a treetop ropes course already open at Mahoney State Park and a 40-foot indoor climbing wall that will open there this fall, a floating playground planned for Louisville State Recreation Area and a two-tiered spray park at Platte River State Park.

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