For A Weekend In Nature, Try These Off-The-Beaten-Path Lodgings

Try a treehouse in the Hill Country or glamping at a secluded island in Seguin.

By Marika Flatt & Cullen ParkerMarch 12, 2020 5:24 pm,

Texas has some fun cities to explore, but there’s also miles and miles of natural spaces that are worth a visit, too. So we thought we’d round up several new venues that are embracing their outdoor roots and offering unique getaways that incorporate their natural surroundings for a one-of-a-kind overnight experience.

Cypress Valley Canopy Tours offers a chance to go ziplining and stay in a tree! Deep in the heart of Central Texas near the rolling hills and cool springs of Spicewood is the area’s first treehouse resort. The Yoki House is the newest addition to the resort. It’s a fully equipped private forest sanctuary nestled between two old-growth bald cypress trees that tower over a peaceful spring-fed creek. The 500-square-foot design is Japanese minimalist with accents of Turkish décor. It has a king sized bed, small kitchen, and a suspended single bunk in the living area that could be a haven for a youngin’. A 60-foot suspension bridge takes you to the separate bath house with a soaking tub. It sits at the edge of the ravine with floor-to-ceiling windows for bird-watching and stargazing.

Other treehouses at Cypress Valley Canopy tours include the minimalist Juniper which has a glamping vibe. The Nest sleeps up to six and has an outdoor shower. And the Lofthaven has its own soaking tub, a wraparound deck, and an indoor hammock.

The largest rental is not a treehouse; it’s called the Ranch House, and sleeps 14. It has its own pool and wraparound deck and would be ideal for a family reunion.

If a tropical vibe is your thing, you have to check out the most fascinating hidden spot we’ve seen in Texas, Son’s Island. Located near Seguin, this is a real-life hidden tropical island on Lake Placid feels like Texas’ best kept secret! Videos of it have gone viral on Facebook but few know it exists. It’s accessible by a 100-foot private wooden bridge.

Each Son’s Island cabana has a grill – so bring your food and beverages. You can rent rafts, paddleboards, and kayaks. There’s live music on the weekends. If you choose to stay overnight, there are tents with cots and fans or you can glamp nearby in air-conditioned yurt-like structures.

Located in the Hill Country village of Smithwick west of Austin, Smythwick Castle & Lodge is a “country castle” nestled on 10 acres featuring a creek, a pond, and grand old oak trees. Chickens, peacocks, and goats watch guard over the castle. The home décor is fun and funky with featuring hand-painted doors, wood-burning stone fireplaces, and a unique old world brick courtyard. The five guest rooms sleep 10 comfortably but the house can hold up to 16 for parties who rent out the whole lodge. And for even bigger parties, the grand hall with crystal chandeliers and renaissance draperies sets the scene for weddings and other group events, holding up to 120 people.

Quirky and cool, Lucky Arrow Retreat opened in 2019 in Dripping Springs. The ranch-style property features 36 unique lodging options and an intimate event venue inspired by the surrounding Texas hill country.

The accommodations range from laid-back yurts with vintage record players to secluded upscale cabins with shared hot tubs and fire pits. Porch Houses are decked with red vintage-inspired rocking chairs and Breezeway Cabins have hanging basket benches. Larger groups can find plenty of space in the Ranch House, which sleeps 12.

But the best part of the property is the hip beer garden next to the heated pool. In-room regional snacks and a gated footpath to Bell Springs Winery complete the local charm. Don’t forget to sign the “guest book” as you leave which is the outside of the silver Airstream trailer which doubles as the guest check-in.

And for a unique, secluded stay in the woods, check out Getaway, the startup that offers mindful escapes to tiny cabins nestled in nature. Right now it’s only available in a handful of American cities – including the DFW area. Getaway’s tiny cabins are minimalist while still including all the modern comforts. The structures feature a queen-sized bed, mini kitchen, bathroom, private outdoor area with fire pit and as well as provisions and analog activities like basic games and classic novels. Each is complete with a signature “big window” overlooking the scenery.