Dear Tom Haverfords of the world,
Don’t let anyone tell you tell you you’re not camping just because you’re doing it so stylishly. Camping is a state of mind. So what if you’re bathing in a clawfoot tub in a climate-controlled building with walls and Turkish towels and a kitchenette? Did you know tented cabins exist? That’s right, you’re in a tent. And you’re looking off into the Texas Hill Country sky, with no streetlights or noisy bar-goers. You’re glamping!
The important part is getting away. Whether you like to stay clean or sink your toes into the mud, unplug or finally catch up on your shows, meditate or meditate with wine in an outdoor chaise lounge, these glamping spots near Austin will meet you where you are. Then you can come back feeling rested and refreshed. It’s not about surviving; it’s about thriving.
Geronimo Creek Retreat
Geronimo Creek Retreat has it all, from treehouses to cabins to teepees, all on a private spring-fed creek near New Braunfels. The treehouses really are houses, sleeping as many as eight, with full kitchens, large tiled showers, multiple stories, and shared decks. There are even TVs and DVD players, just in case glamping is your perfect time to catch up on that movie list you’ve been neglecting. The teepees and “getaway cabins” are similar, but offer a more canvass-y style, and are still fully furnished with kitchenettes, bathrooms (attached or nearby), and air conditioning. This little community shares a rec room with table games, courts for basketball and volleyball, Frisbee golf, and plenty to do in the water. This is your classic family camping trip, but a lot more comfortable. Accommodations are listed individually with calendar-based pricing at geronimocreekretreat.com/accommodations.
Sinya on Lone Man Creek
Billed as “a romantic glamping retreat for two,” Sinya is one-site wonder. The safari tent treehouse overlooks treetops and a cascading creek, where guests can wander for yoga, swimming, and kayaking. One of the more elaborate tents on the list, it also includes a clawfoot bathtub, kitchenette, and wide windows to bring the view in while keeping the elements out when needed. If embracing those elements is your thing (Hello, you are camping!), there are five furnished outdoor areas for lounging. Step out onto the back deck, where you’ll find a hammock and hot tub, or enjoy a patio with a grill and fire pit. Spend at least two nights in Wimberley near bars, breweries, shops, and more, for $365 per off-peak night or $425 per night Friday and Saturday.
Whether you’re a communal camper or a bit of a recluse, Yurtopia has the yurt for you. Its 26-acre domain alongside the Blanco River engulfs six round Mongolian tents with latticed wooden structures inside — that’s a yurt — either 300 feet apart in the hills or closer to the water with some shared amenities. The three climate-controlled Remote Hilltop Yurts hide in the trees and include private bathrooms, hot tubs, fire pits, kitchens, and grills. Meanwhile, at the three Community RiverBluff Yurts, visitors get private sleeping quarters and bathrooms, and share the rest, plus easy river access. Hiking and the town of Wimberley are accessible from the entire property. The yurts, which are all adults-only, range from $250-$400 per night. Single-night bookings are difficult to get, but are sometimes available.
Collective Hill Country
Collective Hill Country isn’t just about the tents, although they are some of the best offers available for something spacious that still really feels like camping. The Summit Tent encapsulates a wood-burning stove, king-size bed, and in-suite bathroom. The Family Suite comes with a Summit Tent and a separate tent with two twins, and the Honeymoon Suite adds a private deck overlooking its remote location. Most importantly, all three options include a complimentary breakfast made to order. Culinary options are woven throughout the experience. While staying, guests can partake in gourmet lunches, dinners, and a wine bar. Free time can be filled with Pilates-yoga fusion classes, sound mediations, target practice, wood branding, and Native American storytelling. And snacks. Gourmet snacks the whole time. Prices start at $329 for one night.
Hozhoni on the Hill
This innovative wedding venue and glamping retreat is expanding both the physical structure and the verbiage of glamping with its brand-new Glampominium. The three-story complex of stacked shipping containers supports three safari tents, two container suites, and Hozhoni’s transparent Stardome, designed for 360-degree sheltered stargazing. The nearby wedding chapel was designed by Marley Porter, former tribal architect to the Navajo Nation and the mind responsible for Austin’s own One World Theatre and Barr Mansion. Further construction on the Hozhoni site will bring glampers closer to its cliffs, and even suspend some accommodations over them with “sleeping orbs.” Rates for half-day, full-day, and weekend use start at $3,995. The Glampominium, which accommodates up to 14, may be reserved piece by piece or as a whole unit, starting at $145 per night.
Just about 20 miles from Austin, Green Acres offers a small sampling of classic glamping retreats, each with its own unique charm. Two yurts — shaped more like simple bell tents, the true staple of glamping — shelter a bed, desk, and temperature control. They sit next to fire pits and a communal bathhouse. The Airstream Land Yacht and the Spartan Mansion (tiny house) offer sturdier but equally quirky shelter right next door. The penthouse suite, so to speak, is a 672-square-foot cabin made with reclaimed wood and sustainable materials, with a screened-in porch and private bathroom. Glampers can cook and mingle in the barn (which belonged to LBJ’s family), meet farm animals, and enjoy complimentary s’mores and seasonal fresh eggs. The accommodations in Elgin range from $112-$286 per night.
Flophouze Shipping Container Hotel
Rain can be the biggest buzzkill while camping, but those same raindrops on a tin roof are the stuff of country songs. The Flophouz Shipping Container Hotel in Round Top could be the perfect container for a rustic trip out east. Hang out on the deck of your own shotgun structure and watch the cattle graze or the fire crackle, explore Lake Fayette by foot or by boat rental, or head to town and shop for antiques. Each “houze” is like a modern, high-end trailer, with creative rustic décor, and plenty of space for multiple people to move around inside. Visitors might even be inspired by the on-site showroom for recycled furnishings to start nesting more sustainably back home. Houzes are $175-$200 per night, and bigger, traditional homes are available at flophouze.com/accomodations.
It’s hard to believe that people, not fairies or hobbits or elves, built the treehouses at Cypress Valley. Solar-powered twin structures Juniper and Willow are connected by a rope bridge, with just one room each, and mini decks where guests might see zipliners fly by overhead. The Nest, an odd-looking stack of rooms, bridges, ladders, and landings, sleeps up to six, with room to gather and shower under the stars. The Yoki treehouse, the newest structure at Cypress Valley, is an entire very modern luxury apartment with a two-story deck and spa-like soaking tub. Lofthaven, the dreamiest treehouse, is an “aerial yurt” with a tree straight through the center, floating above the world, illuminated like a UFO. The bathhouse, attached by rope bridge, offers bathing in the form of a heated rock waterfall. The treehouses go for $200-$650 per night in Spicewood, and the spectacular Ranch House (on the ground, this time) can be rented for larger parties starting at $1,050 per night.