Spending the Night in Wadi Rum
Visiting Wadi Rum is an experience worthy of every travel cliché. This protected desert valley punctuated with huge sandstone formations is stunning, unforgettable, otherworldly—and the best way to experience it is by spending the night. Options generally range from glamping in decked-out luxury tents and pods to rudimentary bivouac camping, though there is also one lodge in the area with some standard resort features.
Bedouin culture is extremely family-oriented, and this welcoming vibe is extended to travelers and their children. All accommodations listed here (save for the Digital Detox Retreat) are kid-friendly, and children will likely be enamored with the area's many activities: camel and horseback rides, climbing on rocks and dunes, and listening to traditional music around the fire, to name a few. Note that some camps have shared (clean) bathroom blocks, and amenities are few if you choose to camp under the stars, so give some thought to what works best for your family.
Camps are only permitted in certain parts of Wadi Rum, and many are located outside of the protected area's borders in neighboring Disi. If your camp is within the boundaries, you'll be picked up (usually at the Wadi Rum Rest House at Rum Village) before entering the park by a Bedouin guide with a license to drive inside the reserve—this is almost always arranged ahead of time by the camp.
Though most camps do operate nearly year-round, travelers with a specific camp in mind will want to book well in advance, especially if visiting in the high season (read more about the best times to visit Jordan here).
Check out the Ultimate Guide to Wadi Rum for more info on planning your visit to the area.
Stargaze & Watch the Sunrise from a Luxury Bubble Tent
Just a 15-minute truck ride through the roadless desert from Rum Village, Wadi Rum Night Camp is a beautiful glamp-ground with three sizes of luxury tents—but what people come from all over the world to experience are the bubbles. Named the "Full of Stars Hotel," this collection of inflated, domed structures are made partially of transparent plastic, and they bring you as close to the outdoors as possible without, well, being outdoors. Guests fall asleep under the brilliant night sky from the comfort of real beds (complete with high-end linens) and wake up to an unreal desert panorama. The bubbles are temperature controlled, and each has their own private bathroom and small patio.
With space for 25 reservations each night, Wadi Rum Night Camp is on the small side, lending to a boutique feel. The buffet is impressive, especially at breakfast when stacks of piping hot shrak (flatbread similar to lavash) are made before your eyes. There are only a dozen or so bubbles in the camp, and they book up fast—you'll want to reserve well in advance.
Book a "Martian Dome" at this Family-Friendly Tourist Camp
SunCity Camp is an established favorite among tourists in Wadi Rum. This large camp has a variety of accommodations (including family-size, tented chalet suites) and lots of activities, making it a top choice for big tour groups and travelers with kids.
SunCity is far from a hidden gem, but that's not necessarily a bad thing here. Rooms have modern amenities (even the most basic tents have their own bathrooms with a shower), the atmosphere is lively, and it's hard not to love the showmanship that goes into the large-scale Bedouin traditions like cooking zarb: a tower of meat and vegetables cooked in an underground oven and, in the case of SunCity, eventually revealed to a gathered crowd of oohs and aahs.
The best overnight option at SunCity is, without a doubt, their "Martian Domes," named for the 2015 blockbuster that was filmed nearby. Similar in concept to the aforementioned bubble tents, the Martian Domes are this camp's most unique place to sleep—and the most luxurious. Each dome is air-conditioned, comes with a (non-alcoholic) mini-bar, and has its own spacious terrace with mountain views. If you aren't able to book one of the domes, don't fret: you'll still enjoy the wildly photogenic view of a dome-dotted desert.
Get the Best of Both Worlds at a Resort-Style Lodge
The closest you'll come to a resort in the immediate vicinity of Wadi Rum is the Bait Ali Lodge. A sprawling compound between the Desert Highway turnoff and Rum Village, amenities include air-conditioned chalets, a shopping bazaar, its own amphitheater, and—no, that's not a mirage—even a swimming pool. (There's also a campground, but if you're booking here, camping is probably not what you're after). The restaurant has a wider range of options than many camps in Wadi Rum—think organic produce, ice cream, and other continental standbys—and each Friday guests enjoy a party atmosphere complete with DJ and traditional barbecue.
Get (Far) Away From It All on a Digital Detox Retreat
Wellness-focused retreats have been popping up throughout Jordan, and it makes sense—yoga and meditation are made that much better when you have a dramatic, ancient desert as a backdrop.
Get your own slice of serenity for a night with a "digital detox" yoga retreat in the desert near Wadi Rum. You'll be picked up and taken to an area with no cell service or wifi (not hard to come by in these parts) to zen out. A chef will prepare healthy meals and you'll sleep al fresco. Depending on the interests of your group, you can participate in a meditative walk, vinyasa flow yoga sessions, a fire ceremony, and a drum circle—or, simply opt to spend your evening stargazing.
The digital detox can be a one-night excursion, or you can take part in a multi-day yoga retreat or horseback riding tour that incorporates an off-the-grid experience. Ask a local specialist for details.
Have the Desert to Yourself on a Bivouac Camping Trip
If you aren't looking for a wellness experience but like the idea of solitude under the stars, you can book a bivouac camping trip in the desert. A knowledgeable Bedouin guide will drive you to a secluded spot and set up a simple campsite with mattresses and blankets while your group explores the area—take a hike, scramble on rock formations, or bring sandboards to ride the dunes. Enjoy sweet sage tea and traditional Bedouin fare around the fire before getting perhaps the best sleep of your life in the silence of the remote wilderness. Continue your journey the next day
No matter what you choose, any overnight stay in Wadi Rum can be combined with Jordan's other classic (and more off-the-beaten-path) sights and activities on a trip through the country. For some itinerary inspo, take a look at this whirlwind 4-day tour of Amman, Petra, and Wadi Rum. Heading to Jordan with family? Here's how to spend a kid-friendly week exploring the highlights. And if you're interested in adding a few more fascinating days in neighboring Israel, try this 14-day "Holy Land" tour.