Glamping vs. tiny house: A comparison of NYC’s pop-up vacation properties

When it comes to unique pop-up vacation properties, New Yorkers have their pick this summer.

Terra Glamping and Getaway both have partnered with the Gateway National Recreation Area to put up temporary but somewhat luxurious accommodations for guests to sleep near the beach. Normally, overnight stays inside the park are limited to bring-your-own-tent camping in three areas.

“We hope to provide New Yorkers with an escape from the city, within the city,” Getaway founder Jon Staff said.

Terra Glamping has set up five spacious safari-style, furnished tents in Fort Tilden, while Getaway at Gateway has set up three of their “tiny houses” at a secret site on the Staten Island harbor. Both sites encourage their guests to unplug — neither has Wi-Fi, and Getaway at Gateway even has phone lockboxes available.

“When people think of New York City, the mind doesn’t immediately go to camping and beach, but that is exactly what you have here: Gorgeous nature, fantastic beach, and outdoor activities, all within the city limits,” Terra Glamping CEO and co-founder Rebecca Martin said. “We hope to open guests’ eyes to another feature of the best city in the world.”

While both sites offer the chance to sleep on a New York City beach, there are several differences in their approach. Check out the breakdown below to decide which site is best for your staycation.


Terra Glamping: Now through Sept. 19 at terraglampingevents.com/fort-tilden

Getaway at Gateway: Now through Sept. 4 at gateway.getaway.house


Terra Glamping: From $200/night, two-night minimum (sleeps two, no pets allowed)

Getaway at Gateway: $150/night (sleeps two, no pets allowed)


Terra Glamping: None; lanterns and flashlights are provided.

Getaway at Gateway: Limited.


Terra Glamping: None.

Getaway at Gateway: None, but there are fans.


Terra Glamping: No Wi-Fi but there is cell service.

Getaway at Gateway: No Wi-Fi, cell service unknown.


Terra Glamping: Fort Tilden, part of the Jamaica Bay unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area on the Rockaway Peninsula; about a two-minute walk from the beach.

Getaway at Gateway: On the harbor in Staten Island, part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. The exact location is kept secret until one week before check-in, but Getaway at Gateway promises it’s a 30-minute ride from Prospect Park.


Terra Glamping: Phone charging batteries in tents, towels and robes, continental breakfast, beach cruiser bikes and hammocks. Beach blankets, sunscreen and cold water are for sale. The site has a shared outdoor area with a campfire, fire pit, couches, lounge chairs and hammocks.

Getaway at Gateway: A cellphone lockbox, board games, classic books and a guide to analog activities (think knot-tying and stargazing). A campfire ring with firewood, Adirondack chairs and a picnic table are outside each house.


Terra Glamping: Five fully furnished 12-feet by 14-feet safari-style tents that accommodate two guests each. Fall asleep on a queen-size memory-foam mattress with down comforters, extra blankets, and memory-foam pillows. Furnishings include side tables, a dresser, decorative rugs, mirrors and seating.

Getaway at Gateway: Three custom-built, 200-square-foot tiny houses that each accommodate two guests. The houses include a queen-sized bed with linens and blanket provided.


Terra Glamping: Shared trailer with toilets, sinks and hot showers that is stocked with towels, robes, soap, shampoo and conditioner.

Getaway at Gateway: Each house has its own shower (no hot water) and cartridge toilet.


Terra Glamping: There’s a gas grill, as well as a cooler to store any provisions guests may bring. Plates, cups, cutlery, salt, pepper, olive oil, foil, a skillet and a pot are also provided. There are s’mores at a nightly campfire and a continental breakfast of coffee, tea, fresh fruit and pastries awaits guests each morning. Or walk to Jacob Riis, which has several food options.

Getaway at Gateway: Each house has a kitchenette with a two-burner propane stove, sink and cooler (bring your own ice). Cooking essentials including pots, pans, dishes, mugs, utensils, salt, pepper and olive oil are provided, and provisions like snacks and a s’mores kit are available for purchase.


Terra Glamping: Relax on some of the city’s most beautiful beaches, like nearby Jacob Riis. You can also hike, bike and fish. Climb up the observatory deck on top of Battery Harris East, a historic gun site, and enjoy its 360-degree panoramic views of Jamaica Bay and New York Harbor. Visit the Rockaway Artists Alliance’s gallery space or see a production by the Rockaway Theatre Company at the historic Post Theater at the tail end of the pop-up’s run. On weekends, Fort Tilden offers free walk-up kayaking and bird watching, while Princess Cruises offers daily whale watching tours.

Getaway at Gateway: Since the exact location of the site is not known, activities remain somewhat mysterious, but the cabins are close enough to the beach to hear the crashing waves. There are no lifeguards on site, but a life-guarded beach is a 10-minute walk away at South Beach, which also has a fishing pier, boardwalk and bocce courts. Getaway at Gateway suggests bringing bikes to ride along a scenic paved trail.


Terra Glamping: 4 out of 10. While the lack of en suite bathrooms is a definite minus, the availability of hot water, towels and robes in the shared bathroom makes up for it. The beautifully furnished tents, bicycles to borrow and continental breakfast mean you’re really not going to feel too out of sorts. And even though there’s no Wi-Fi or electricity, the cell service, phone charger battery packs and lanterns pretty much take care of that.

Getaway at Gateway: 6 out of 10. Yes, there are private bathrooms and kitchenettes, but without hot water you’ll be feeling the outdoorsiness for sure. And although this isn’t a tent, there’s definitely a sense of “going at it alone” here, thanks to no Wi-Fi, limited electricity and no shared hangout spaces. Plus, you’re in Staten Island, so you’re already more remote from the rest of the city.