Recreational vehicles transform into yurts and then luxury cabins as Anja Gierlach whizzes a golf cart through the 80 acres of land within Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort in Traverse City, Mich., the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The sprawling campsite represents a new era of camping no longer defined by a tent pitched in the wilderness. Campers at Timber Ridge — and many other sites in northwest Lower Michigan — can choose to spend outings in anything from basic tent and RV accommodations to cabins with all the luxuries of home.

“I think the resort-style camping draws more people because it gives them more options,” said Gierlach, operations manager at Timber Ridge. “We have it as basic as rustic sites all the way up to park homes and five different types of cabins.”

Nightly rates at the resort during peak season range from $45 for a basic tent campsite all the way up to $209 for a 10-person bunkhouse. Options in between range from a fully-furnished yurt to a deluxe cabin featuring TVs, air conditioning, a bathroom and a fully-equipped kitchenette. Campers can also take advantage of resort-esque amenities like a heated pool, fat-tire and turbo bikes, a banquet hall and various recreation grounds.

“You can get the luxury of a hotel or house, plus the luxury of camping because you have this whole site to share,” said Timber Ridge manager Ella Baggs.

Demand has exploded for all of Timber Ridge’s accommodations, said Baggs, who saw the resort’s 300 campsites filled nearly every week this summer.

“It’s been gradually picking up the last couple years, but this year was especially great,” she said. “We can’t answer the phones fast enough.”

But Baggs and Gierlach noticed bookings for their tent campsites have declined, and said campers seem to prefer RVs for their outings.

“I think more people are buying campers — and they’re not buying little ones, they’re buying big ones,” Baggs said

Indigo Bluffs targets the area’s new wave of RV campers, said owner Gary Becker. He bought the 67-acre campsite in Empire — formerly Sleeping Bear Campground — in 2008 and has since transformed it into an RV park and resort.

“There’s a pocket of people that come here from all over the country in RVs,” Becker said. “They want to spend time here, and they need a place where they can fit.”

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