in partnership
Tree House near Savage River State Forest.jpg
This tranquil and family-friendly tree house is located on an acre of majestic woodlands next to Savage River State Forest in Grantsville, Maryland. With two bedrooms and one bathroom, the tree house can accommodate up to six guests. (Image: Courtesy Glamping Hub)

Go glamping in a converted caboose, luxury tipi or rustic treehouse

The popularity of home and apartment rental sites have completely changed our expectation of where we can (and might want to) stay during a trip or vacation. One company is expanding our options even further by including upcycled, converted and all around unique venues. Glamping Hub has rentals ranging from caves and yurts to barns and pods---a variety of which are within driving distance from the DMV for a weekend getaway.

“We have a delightful range of accommodations around Washington, D.C. for travelers and residents of the area alike,” says Glamping Hub co-founder Talal Benjelloun. “Within just a few hours of America's most historic city are some of the most unique glamping sites--tree houses, tented cabins, geo-domes and refurbished farmhouses.”

Cozy Domes

An hour east of Roanoke, a cozy studio-style dome can hold up to four guests, with a queen bed and full-size air mattress. The living area has a kitchenette, mini-fridge, record and CD player, Bluetooth speaker, charcoal barbecue and fire pit, and guests receive a bottle of Virginia wine on arrival.

In West Virginia near the Potomac River, two romantic tented cabin rentals each comes with a double bed (a camping bunk can hold two more guests), area rugs, lamps and fans. There is optional use of a communal restaurant-grade river kitchen that has a rear deck with seating overlooking the river. Both the dome and the tented cabins are also touted as family-friendly.

Rustic Treehouses

One really popular option is a treehouse. Who doesn’t want to spend the night in a treehouse and make all of your childhood dreams and Swiss Family Robinson fantasies come true? In Maryland near Deep Creek Lake lies a super cool treehouse that can hold up to five guests, with a master bedroom and twin-over-double bunks in an upstairs loft. Design details include barn wood detailing, copper seam metal roof, Amish hickory bark furniture and vintage bulb glass jar lighting; outside you’ll find a wraparound, partially shaded deck, hanging swing and fire pit.

A smaller treehouse on Buttermilk Trail in Richmond has one bedroom, a spacious balcony, screened-in living area with two hammocks, open deck with chairs, tube slide to the lawn and a stone fire pit nearby.

And another in Maryland near Savage River State Park has two bedrooms and one bathroom and can hold up to six guests, with a queen bed in the master bedroom, private porch, loft with two double beds and a lounge area, deck and fire pit.

Luxury Tipis

But maybe you fancy a tipi. You’ll find one near Richmond and another in Rice, both stylishly furnished yet still authentic, and capable of hosting four guests. Under floor heating is especially nice on chilly evenings and there is a fire pit and grill outside.

Converted Caboose

And locomotive enthusiasts might prefer one of three converted cabooses on a site in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each can sleep two guests, come with a fully-furnished bathroom, bedroom and kitchen, two-person Jacuzzi, decks with oversized rockers and charcoal grills.

What kind of glamping experience should you book?

Admittedly, glamping encompasses a wide range of types of accommodations from rustic eco-travel to extremely luxurious and everything in-between. Because the lack of hotel stars or ratings means it might not be as easy to figure out if your stay is going to be roughing it or luxe, Glamping Hub makes has set a few standards in place for any abode hosted on their site: each one needs to have access to nature, the quality and comfort of a hotel and provide the visitor with a unique experience. Assess your needs and carefully read the information on the detailed listings.

“Be sure to check the map to make sure it's remote enough, surrounded by enough (or too much) nature for the needs of you and your group, “says Amy Ahlblad, Glamping Hub's partnerships manager. “Investigate what the accommodation provides in terms of activities and things you can do when you are staying, because that's a huge part of what makes the experience unique and unforgettable. WiFi, air conditioning or a pool might be a dealbreaker for your group."

Or maybe all you really need is that hammock under the stars.