I love camping under the stars, but sometimes a soft bed, air conditioning and – a hot tub? – sound really appealing.
I zipped out to North Shore at Lake Bastrop Park yesterday to check out some of the new glamping options at the 182-acre, pine-studded property.
The Lower Colorado River Authority, which manages the park, recently teamed with GLAT to install a new upscale cabin that sleeps six people, plus six safari-style tents, and one bell-shaped tent. All the options are air conditioned, and all have their own firepit and chairs out front.
It’s part of a trend that started at the park a few years ago, when it wheeled in five shiny new Airstream trailers and opened them for rental.(You can read about my experience staying in one here.)
The cabin, though, is over the top. Slide open the wooden, barn-style doors and you’ll find a queen-sized bed and two trundle beds, plus a full bathroom and shower, a microwave and mini fridge. Outside you can pull up a chair around the fire pit or soak in the bubbling hot tub. You can even arrange to inflate a portable screen and watch a movie outdoors.
I’ve always been a proponent of backpacking and setting up a tent because it makes me feel self-reliant and it gets me to remote places that most folks never see. But I love the idea of an easy night in the woods, too, and that’s what this offers. No trailer to back in, no tent to unfurl, and no cooking utensils to haul along.
“It’s all about providing different ways to have fun. Visitors tell us they want a variety of opportunities in our parks, and we’re listening,” says Margo Richards, vice president of community resources for the LCRA,which operates more than 40 parks along the Colorado River between San Saba and Matagorda Bay. In recent years, it’s added a slew of recreational attractions to those parks.
“Previously, people visited LCRA Parks to camp, hike, fish, or maybe launch their boat, and that was the extent of our offerings. Now, it’s a different world when you enter one of our parks. At some, you can zip line, drive a UTV, play mini golf, rent a watercraft, mountain bike or bring your horse on our multiuse trail system.”
The setting at Lake Bastrop is beautiful, with the safari tents arranged near the lakefront, in a cleared area with a few tall trees for shade. Visitors can head to the nearby dock to rent a kayak, standup paddleboard or a groovy round motorized fishing vessel. Nearly 10 miles of trails beckon, too, including the short and snappy Buzzard Point loop adjacent to the campground or the longer lakeside trail that leads all the way to the south side of the lake.
“Nature – it’s not a bad idea,” Cristobal Gomez, one of the founders of Glat, which installed the cabin and tents, told me as we walked through the shady campground, peeking our heads into the accommodations.
He says glamping options like these have boomed in popularity since the pandemic, because people want a safer way to travel. The company plans to install two more cabins here and hopes to expand into other LCRA parks in the future.
Rates range from $150 per night for the bell-shaped tent with two single beds to $450 a night for the cabin on busy summer weekends.
To book a cabin or tent, go here.