Wilderness Camping and Wildlife Adventures Without the Work

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Stay at a tent and breakfast camp in the Alaskan wilderness, go on a guided canoe trip through Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and stay in a resort in Panama that gives you rainforest adventures, and kayak trips on the canal as well as comfortable rooms.

Wilderness Camping© Candyce H. Stapen Photography

Guides will lead you through Soberania National Park in Panama, showing you the rainforest but keeping you close to modern comforts.

I prefer the wilderness without a good deal of the work. Yes, it’s a character flaw, but nonetheless, I seek outdoor adventures that offer spectacular scenery plus an assist with supplies, tents, cooking and cleaning. Here are three possibilities: a tent and breakfast camp in Alaska, a guided canoe tour of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota, and rainforest walks and kayaking at a resort near the Panama Canal, Panama.

United States

Alaska: Kasitsna Bay

To enjoy rugged Alaskan scenery and wildlife, but still get home-cooked meals and guided tours, try Across the Bay Tent & Breakfast Adventure Company, across the bay from Homer, Alaska. This unusual variation of a traditional B&B comes with a spectacular location in a sheltered cove in Kasitsna Bay. Opt to stay in rustic cabins with carpets and mattresses – bring your own sleeping bag – and enjoy indoor showers and a sauna. Cook your own meals at your site or make arrangements for breakfast and dinner in the main lodge.

At the property, go tidepooling for anemones, mussels, crabs, sea stars and maybe even an octopus. On a kayak outing, you’re likely to spot seals, sea otters, harbor porpoises and even bald eagles. Catch some halibut and cook it yourself or ask if the lodge would prepare the meal.

Minnesota: Boundary Waters Canoe Area

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), parts of which straddle the Canadian border, cover more than one million acres within northeast Minnesota’s Superior National Forest. Rocky cliffs and towering pines frame the more than 1,000 glacially formed lakes. For paddle and portage enthusiasts, the region offers more than 1,200-miles of canoe trails. Permits are required.

Ely Outfitting Company, one of several outfitters offering guided camping trips, obtains the permits, plans the route, put you in ultra-lightweight Kevlar canoes, sets up camp, leads the trip and prepares meals.


Soberania National Park: Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Soberania National Park isn’t the deep wilderness, but it does off the excitement of the rainforest and its wildlife. Gamboa Rainforest Resort, situated on 340 lush acres within the 55,000-acre Soberania National Park, and just a 30-minute drive from Panama City, is located where the Chagres River empties into the Panama Canal. The resort offers eco-adventures and modern comforts in the heart of the rainforest. The popular aerial tram lifts riders 77 feet into the jungle canopy, making it easy for even young kids to search for birds and howler monkeys in the branches. After a short walk from the tram landing, you reach a 90-foot tower. From the top, accessed by gradually inclined ramps, enjoy the impressive view of the famous canal and the big ships passing through.

On the morning bird walk along Pipeline Road, you’re likely to see flocks of toucans and parakeets. Enjoy the thrill of kayaking on the Panama Canal or boating to Monkey Island, known for its white-faced capuchin monkeys.