If you love the idea of hitting the open road in a vintage Airstream trailer or camping in the middle of the desert but have no interest in roughing it or disconnecting, these accommodations are your middle ground. They cater to armchair adventurists by offering adventure travel for the adrenaline averse or a night in nature with nice bed linen and plumbing. Some of these will put you in the bush or a roadside trailer park without sacrificing many, if any, modern day conveniences. Others bring the outdoors indoors by recreating campsites and trailer parks within the walls or a boutique hotel or hostel.
In its former life, the BaseCamp Young Hostel (pictured above) was a storage facility, but today it serves as a quirky indoor campground that offers 120 beds among its vintage caravans, Airstream trailers, Volkswagen Transporters and train sleeper cars. The caravans are named after prominent musicians, writers and celebrities and were decorated by a German television and movie set designer. The Miley Cyrus, Ken Kesey, Oprah Winfrey and other caravans also come with faux front lawns. Most of the decommissioned trailers and vehicles are housed indoors just steps from a food van and beer garden.
Photo via The Safari Collection
When you book a room at Giraffe Manor, you don’t have to venture far to get the safari experience. In fact, you don’t even have to leave the hotel. Situated on 12 acres in a suburb of Nairobi, the 10-room boutique hotel is home to a herd of resident Rothschild giraffes who roam the property. You might even spot one peaking in your room or craning its neck through the dining room window during meal times. Along with plenty of giraffe spotting, a stay at the hotel includes free Wi-Fi, meals and drinks.
Santa Barbara, California
Photo via Autocamp
Since 1915 this RV park has served as a resting place for travelers stopping in Santa Barbara. Today five of its spaces serve as a boutique hotel that welcomes guests to sleep in one of its impeccably renovated vintage Airstream trailers. Each trailer at Autocamp can accommodate up to four guests and comes equipped with electric appliances and modern furnishings like a clawfoot bathtub (select trailers) and a full kitchen.The camp is just a short ride from downtown Santa Barbara and trailers come with two complimentary vintage beach cruiser bikes to use during your stay.
South Lake Tahoe, California
Photo via Basecamp Hotel
This boutique hotel offers the best of both worlds. Located in South Lake Tahoe, it’s just a short trek from hiking and biking trails, lakes and the mountains. Spend a night in their Great Indoors room and you won’t even have to leave (but you should) to feel like you’ve gone off the grid. The room is outfitted for indoor camping with a large tent, flickering faux-log fire, picnic table and a floor-to-ceiling forest mural. It also has a king-size bed with luxury bedding, high-speed Wi-Fi, original art adorning the walls and a walk-in shower. Basecamp Hotel’s other 74 rooms are also decorated around a camping theme and come furnished with items like bedside lanterns.
Photo via Atlantic Surf Pods
These eco-pods just off the North Cornish coast offer a surfer’s respite sans all the sand. Located on 26 acres of quiet farmland, the Atlantic Surf Pods are a big step up from pitching a tent on the beach. With their heated floors and showers, king-size beds and giant beanbag chairs, a night in one of these pods provides all the the joys of camping (fresh air, nature and a chance to get away from it all) without sacrificing comfort. A communal bathroom is even equipped with apron sinks, outlets and large mirrors.
Photo via Aman-i-Khás
Camping at the Aman-i-Khás within Rajasthan’s Ranthambore National Park leaves little to be desired. The resort has 10 multi-room canvas tents that come fully furnished and temperature controlled. Rooms are divided by soft cotton drapes and are outfitted with ceiling fans, king-size beds, writing desks, armchairs, vanities, soaking tubs and showers. They also have decks with views of the surrounding park and Aravalli Hills.
Photo via The Shady Dell
The Shady Dell, located near the Mexico border in southern Arizona, welcomes guests to spend a night in one of their nine vintage trailers without ever having to hit the road in one. Each trailer has been restored to its original glory and includes furnishings and decor that let guests “experience the 1950s in full Technicolor.” Inside the different trailers you’ll find leopard carpeting, radios that play radio programs from the 1950s, phonographs with a complementary library of old 78s, as well as televisions that broadcast in black and white.
New South Wales, Australia
Photo via Paperbark Camp
Perched in the bush of Jervis Bay, the 12 luxury canvas tents at Paperbark Camp will give you just the right amount of nature without sacrificing comfort or most modern amenities. While you won’t find any televisions or air conditioners, tents come fully furnished and have solar-powered lighting. The King Deluxe Safari tent comes with polished hardwood floors, a large bath and outdoor shower, as well as a balcony complete with a cushioned chaise perfect for spotting kangaroos and sugar gliders. The Gunyah, the camp’s onsite treetop dining room, serves a full menu of locally sourced three-course meals featuring entrees like slow-cooked Illawarra prime alpaca rack and a Peruvian-style wallaby fillet with an orange taro purée.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.