I’ll admit I’m sucker for shipping container properties.
Their photogenic colors. Their sleek designs, Their less-is-more declarations.
But while I may love the look, and idea, of them, I’ll also admit that the overnight experience in a shipping container is more often than not cramped and uncomfortable, particularly when you’re traveling with kids.
When my family of eight set out for a quick glamping getaway at the new Container City in Burnet, about an hour from Austin, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But as we pulled up to the property, it was immediately clear that these weren’t just any shipping containers. They were like shipping container mansions.
“Once you get inside of them, it’s not like you’re in a container,” said Andrea Ball, who, along with her husband, Matt, are co-owners of the property. “It’s just very unique.”
After a year and a half of construction, the property, which also includes RV slips and an on-site shipping container bar and pizza joint, opened in November. A pool and playground are in the works, too.
After a one-night February stay at this close-to-home resort, I was sold. From the idyllic location on Lake Buchanan to the beautifully appointed cabins to the fact that it only took us an hour to get there, it was the perfect family glamping getaway. Here are four reasons to consider booking a stay at Container City this spring or summer.
These aren’t just any containers.
Because my husband and I were traveling with our six kids, we booked Cabin 5, a double-decker shipping container that sleeps 10 and, frankly, felt massive. The cabin features two bedrooms, a bunk room with two full-size bunk beds, a living room with a fold-out couch and a full kitchen complete with a microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker. The kids squealed with delight when they discovered the foosball table in the bunk room, while I immediately gravitated toward the expansive upstairs balcony with views of the lake. The outside fire pit and picnic table where we enjoyed s’mores only added to the upscale glamping feel.
Pizza and beer? Yes, please.
Just a short walk from the cabins is the on-site Templeton’s Tavern, which is named for the gluttonous rat in “Charlotte’s Web” and is, fittingly, housed in a shipping container. The bar serves up Texas-centric beer, wines and spirits and offers the perfect respite for overnight guests, locals and bike enthusiasts alike. From the inviting twinkle lights that frame the outside patio to the games like corn hole, giant Connect Four and a miniature putting green that coaxes visitors to stay a while, it was an ideal spot for a nightcap after a day of exploring the area. The bar is open Thursday-Sunday, as is the adjacent Peddler’s Pies food truck, which serves up wood-fired pizza.
Biking mecca Spider Mountain is right down the street.
The fun and truly unique experience of staying at one of the gorgeous cabins at Container City is alone worth a trip, but an added bonus is that the area surrounding the property is teeming with fun things to do. At the top of your list should be spending some time on the trails at Spider Mountain, the only lift-served mountain bike park in the United States. Container City offers bike-in and bike-out access to Spider Mountain, where visitors can load their bikes and then themselves onto the lift (it’s just like loading onto a ski lift but with warmer temperatures and no snow) and enjoy the views of Lake Buchanan as they make their way to the top. At the top, nine trails ranging from beginner to expert with themed names such as Itsy Bitsy and Vipers Den await. No bike? No problem. You can still purchase lift tickets (kids 12 and under are free) and enjoy the designated hiking trail at the top as we did. Visitors who don’t want to make their way down the mountain by bike or foot may also simply ride the lift up, enjoy the views, and ride back down the mountain.
There’s so much more to do in the area.
In addition to Spider Mountain, Container City is ideally situated to offer a wide variety of family friendly fun. Reveille Peak Ranch, another popular hiking and biking destination, is just down the road. Also nearby is Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park and Resort, where you can take a two-hour sightseeing river cruise and spy everything from hawks and blue herons to American bald eagles, which nest in the area each winter. Berry picking at Sweet Berry Farm, golfing at Delaware Springs, wine tasting at Fall Creek Vineyards and zip lining at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours are also easy outings from Container City. And because Container City is situated on Lake Buchanan, there are also a host of water-related activities available in the area, from boating to guided fishing trips.
If You Go
Container City is located in Burnet, about an hour drive from Austin.
Container City offers six beautifully appointed shipping-container cabins that feature amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, decks, foosball tables, full kitchens and more.
Ride the lift to the top of Spider Mountain, the country’s only year-round chairlift served downhill mountain bike park, https://www.spidermountain.com, or spend the day hiking or biking at Reveille Peak Ranch, https://www.rprtexas.com . Seek out American bald eagles on a river cruise with Canyon of the Eagles, https://canyonoftheeagles.com.
Peddler’s Pies, Container City’s on-site pizza joint, serves up wood-fired pizza on weekends, and the adjacent Templeton’s Tavern is the place for local beers, wine and cocktails.