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Paddle the lagoon during your creative retreat at Ox-Bow.

The romance of camping in a tent fades somewhere around mosquito bite number 27. And as fab as “glamping” sounds, this is the Midwest. We don’t do butler service in the woods.

Here are three in-between places we feel comfortable roughing it:

Go with Family Camp Tosebo on Portage Lake, Michigan, was once a summer camp for boys, and now the charming original buildings are rented out by the week. A basketball court, miniature golf and a private beach keep campers entertained; retreat to a nearby winery for a grown-up afternoon. 7228 Miller Rd., Manistee, MI; 616-644-8239 or

Go with Friends Chicago couple David Hernandez and Tereasa Surratt are behind the revival of Wandawega Lake Resort in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, where they entertain city friends with art- and music-themed weekends. Round up your comrades and rent part (or all) of the campground through Lakeview Ave., Elkhorn, WI;

Go It Alone Hone your skills in glassblowing, papermaking, ceramics and more at the serene Ox-Bow creative retreat. Beginners and seasoned artists can sign up for courses like the Drawing Marathon (July 21-27)--you’ll sketch in the morning, canoe on the lagoon in the afternoon and hang out in the dining hall by night. Saugatuck, MI; 800-318-3019 or

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