So you live in a metropolitan area, but are craving wide-open spaces. This might be hard to believe, but you don’t have to go far to go camping. A new wave of campgrounds has cropped up and we’re ready to lay out our proverbial (or actual) sleeping bags and book ‘em. From Louisville to Edinburgh, read on for our favorite urban campgrounds just a stone’s throw away from where you call home.
1. Progress Park Airstream Resort & Event Venue in Louisville, KY
Located about 25 minutes away from downtown Louisville, Progress Park is a must for quirky camping in the Bluegrass state. Here you’ll find a slew of Airstream trailers and lake house accommodations on 12 sprawling acres outside the city limits of Derbyville. Currently, guests can choose from overnight rentals in one of seven vintage Airstreams, a bunkhouse, and two houses that accommodate two to 10 guests. On the premises, enjoy swimming in a two-acre pond, access to kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards, a groomed nature trail, corn hole, horseshoes, tetherball, and a playground.[from $142 per night; airbnb.com]
2. The Four Sisters Boatel in Edinburgh, Scotland
Remind us why we haven’t hit the high seas—or Lochrin Basin—for a night in a “boatel” before? At this unique retreat in a wide-beam canal barge, securely docked in the heart of Edinburgh, you can hit the hay in vessels with two cozy cabin bedrooms that can fit up to eight guests (including bunk beds and double beds). There’s also a full kitchen and bathroom. You’ll be a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh Castle and The Royal Mile area, and your home away from home also boasts Wi-Fi and a nice patio for soaking up the views.[from $269 per night; pitchup.com]
3. Hotel Luna Mystica in El Prado, New Mexico
This vintage trailer hotel and campground under the starry canvas of New Mexico’s skies (check) within arm’s reach of Taos Mesa Brewing (check plus). It’s just eight miles from downtown Taos and you have your choice of 20 vintage trailers and 60 campsites. There are also primitive RV spaces without hook-ups. There’s free Wi-Fi, a pet-friendly policy, and no shortage of soul-restorative mountain views.[from $110 per night; hotellunamystica.com]
4. KitFox in Lamy, New Mexico
If you want to bookend your trip to New Mexico with a jaunt to Sante Fe, it’s a two-hour drive from Luna Mystica to glamping hub KitFox, a 25-minute drive from downtown Santa Fe. Rejoice in the silence of the desert, and if you can time your visit, swing by when they are hosting special events such as for Orionid meteor showers or super full moons, running/writing retreats, “dine in the wild” feasts, and more.[from $199 pr night; staykitfox.com]
5. The Smoke Jumper in Idaho City, Idaho
To Idaho we go. Less than an hour outside of Boise, Idaho, head to this luxury tiny home village before the stunning peaks of the Sawtooth Mountains when you need a break from it all. The abodes are fully furnished and offer Smart Glass technology (the glass changes transparency based on the external temperature or by remote control). There are also full bathrooms, kitchen, cooktops for outdoor dining, firepits, and Wi-Fi. When you feel like getting off-site, The Smoke Jumper is within walking distance of hot springs retreat The Springs, at the ready for that rejuvenating soak you didn’t know you needed.[from $140/night; smokejumperidaho.com]
6. Dave & Matt Vans Rentals based in Gypsum, CO
Okay, so this may be two hours from a major city (in this case Denver), but it’s too cool not to mention for aspiring van-livers. Once you’ve got the keys, you can go to whatever urban or rural locale to which the spirit moves you. These nifty vehicles make vanning around town a breeze with mini kitchens, comfy beds, and water systems as you cruise around to RV parks and fee-free Bureau of Land Management sites. Bonus for winter travelers: Some ski resorts allow overnight camping.[from $175 per night; dmvans.com]
7. LCRA Parks Lake Bastrop North Shore Park in Bastrop, Texas
Only a 45-minute drive from Austin gets you to glamping central at LCRA Parks Lake Bastrop North Shore Park. Pick from a selection of lake-front tents, cabins, and Airstreams, all with boat dock access and watercraft rentals as add-ons. Between mountain biking, fishing, and hiking adventures, relax at the fire pit, outdoor deck, or cook up a storm during a boys’ weekend. FYI: The tents have a shared bathroom within walking distance and the cabins. The Airstreams have a private restroom with shower. Our vote if you’re bringing along the lady: the Montana tent for a romantic lakefront retreat.[from $200 per night; lcra.org]
8. Collective Retreats Governors’ Island in New York, New York
Hop on an eight-minute ferry ride from downtown Manhattan and you’ll feel away from the hustle and bustle of city life gathering around fire pits, lazing in Adirondack chairs, and walking or biking around park grounds, all with the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline illuminating the background. A cushy tent will be your home-away-from-home, and fare from the outdoor Argentine grill for dinner and Collective Brews, their craft beer program, are straight after our heartstrings.[from $305 per night; collectiveretreats.com]
9. NYC Glamping in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
So you wanna sleep in a shipping container? NYC Glamping is at the ready to make your upcycled slumber fantasies come true in these converted shipping containers. They come complete with A/C, Wi-Fi, a shower and bathroom, all overlooking the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn waterfront. For something snazzier, NYC Glamping also has an overnight boat rental on offer. There’s also glamping tents if you prefer to be more at one with the elements.[from $300 per night; nycglamping.com]
10. Camp Aramoni in Tonica, IL
About 90 minutes outside of Chicago, situated near Starved Rock State Park, you’ll arrive at Camp Aramoni, established in a former 19th-century brickyard, restored by husband-wife team Jennifer and Tim Bias with their daughter Stephanie and son Jacob. Now, the 96-acre grounds is an idyllic escape of forest terrain, peaceful ponds and native wildflower fields along the Vermilion River. Guests stay in any of the 11 elevated safari-style tents, outfitted with air conditioning and heat. There are hardwood floors, king-sized beds, a private en-suite restroom, personal campfire with nightly gourmet s’mores, and other amenities.
When hunger strikes, mosey on over to The Barn, the campgrounds’ main lodge. Here there’s breakfast and dinner service, and a general store with travel essentials, snacks and grab-and-go meals. Admittedly, you can find us steps away from our tents hanging out at The Burlington, a renovated 1971 Airstream Overlander RV converted into a coffee, espresso, and cocktail bar. There’s walk-up access, turning strangers into friends, and hangovers into caffeine-fueled morning newspaper-reading marathons.[from $450 per night; camparamoni.com]
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