Have you ever wanted to go on a rugged excursion that still feels like a vacation? Does your idea of sleeping in nature involve a full turnover service and air conditioning? Is the prospect of hiking through the woods sweetened by the promise of a hot shower immediately after?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then camping in the traditional sense might not be for you. But that’s perfectly all right – glamorous camping, or “glamping,” provides plenty of ways to enjoy the outdoors without having to, you know, sleep there. Read on to learn more about where you can get your “glamp” on in Central Florida.
FLORIDA OLD SCHOOL CAMPERS
floridavwrentals.com | 727-698-1970 (Available by appointment only)
Address Provided Upon Reservation
A throwback remade for modern times, these vintage Volkswagen camper vans are for the ultimate road trip. Florida Old School Campers has refitted six VW vans from the 1970s and ‘80s with a kitchen, water tank, electric outlets and two beds, one of which pops out of the roof in a canvas tent.
Guests can rent buses from 4 days/3 nights ($712.20 after tax, during high season) up to 15 days/ 14 nights ($2,542.50 after tax, during high season). Distance per day is limited in these vintage vehicles, but with 100 miles per night thrown in free, the trip will be more about the journey than ever before.
DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT
4510 North Fort Wilderness Trail, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830-8415
Just like living on the old frontier, this 750-acre nature resort lets you explore the splendor of a beautiful natural forest – except this frontier is just across the lake from the magic of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Ideal for families with young children, Fort Wilderness offers outdoor fun like fishing, archery classes, movies under the stars, hiking and horseback riding at the Tri-Circle-D ranch.
Stop into the Trail’s End Restaurant for breakfast and dinner buffets, or check out the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Dinner Revue, where adults can enjoy unlimited beer, wine and sangria.
Accommodations range from tent spaces to the premium campsite with space for an extra-large RV, sewage hookups and pet access. Rustic cabins with wood-carved features, full kitchens and enough space to sleep six are also available (prices vary based on time of year – check website for current rates).
headwatersjupiter.com | 561-510-0032
16514 Robin Way, Jupiter, FL 33478
If you’re looking for an escape, stop here. A remote outpost on a secluded branch of the Loxahatchee River, the Headwaters Eco Retreat is made from “upcycled” shipping containers that lets guests enjoy security and comfort inside their living area while they’re surrounded by a wild yet protected ecosystem.
Launch kayaks and canoes from a private boat slip, or ride complimentary bikes around the trails of nearby Riverbend Park. Rates start from a private one-bedroom and one-bathroom ($85-$100 per night) to the entire four-bedroom/two-bathroom lodge capable of sleeping eight people ($275-$295 per night). Rentals are booked through Airbnb.
thegriffinranch.com | 888-414-2275
11932 E. Hwy. 316, Ft. McCoy, FL 32134
The Griffin Ranch in Fort McCoy gives you a chance to experience the flavor of the Old Florida lifestyle just outside the Ocala National Forest’s unique ecosystem.
Rustic antique interiors adorn these private cabins located about 30 minutes northeast of Ocala and 45 minutes southeast of Gainesville. Explore the pine scrubs and forests of Central Florida on horseback, or take a wilderness survival hike through nearby Out of Ocala Adventures.
Enjoy the “Dad’s Place” two-bedroom suite complete with a library and back porch (rates start at $189/night), the romantically isolated “Carlie’s Cabin” (rates start at $169/night) or rough it at a camping site, complete with a complimentary breakfast.