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Where to go glamping in Texas

Spend your evenings relaxing around a firepit when you book a retro-style Airstream trailer. Photo courtesy LCRA Parks

Birdsong and golden sunlight wake you from a good night’s sleep in a cushy bed. You head out to your private porch overlooking a bucolic lake with a cup of java and your journal in hand. In a zen state of mind, you spend the morning doing a little soul-searching on paper.

Is this the start of another idyllic day at a posh 5-star resort in some faraway locale? Think again! This is glamping in one of the several Texas parks operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) between San Saba and Matagorda.

Demand for glamping, a category of outdoor accommodation that resides between “roughing it” and “luxury,” is on the rise. In a 2021 report, market research firm Arizton predicted that the U.S. glamping market would grow more than 18% from 2020 to 2026.

LCRA Parks is expanding (and elevating) the camping options at its parks through public-private partnerships with companies that specialize in upscale accommodations in nature, such as GLAT (Glamping Atmospheres).

Glampers can say goodbye to pounding in stakes to pitch their tents—and forget about those occasional leaks on a rainy day. Stay dry and comfortable in cozy Airstream campers, roomy bungalows, and ultraluxe safari tents.

One caveat: LCRA Parks currently offers these accommodations at just 5 parks, and they’re still limited in number at each, so make reservations well ahead of time at their website if sleeping bags and lanterns aren’t your thing. 

“There has been a movement in the outdoor recreation space, driving a new group [of people] to explore and get to know how to do things in the outdoors. The diversity in unique accommodations has been one of the driving factors,” says Margo Richards, LCRA’s vice president of community resources. 

Here’s a rundown of these new LCRA Parks options, putting a glam twist on camping for those who want their outdoor getaways peppered with a healthy dose of creature comforts. 


Woman and 2 children sitting at a dining table inside an Airstream trailer

Each Airstream sleeps 4 and comes with a kitchen and dining area, making these campers a particularly good choice for small families. Photo courtesy LCRA Parks

Where: Black Rock Park; Lake Bastrop North Shore Park; and Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Sleeps: Up to 4 people

Creature comforts: Queen bed, plus seating that converts to 2 additional beds; private bathroom with shower; indoor kitchen and dining area; patios with gas grills; and firepits at Black Rock Park and Lake Bastrop North Shore Park

Cost: From $247 per night (2-night minimum)

Silver retro-style Airstreams, which made a resurgence in popularity about a decade ago with their midcentury styling, have taken up residence at 3 LCRA parks: Black Rock Park in the Hill Country offers 4, as does the Matagorda Bay Nature Park on the Gulf Coast. Lake Bastrop North Shore Park near Austin has 5.

Sleeping area inside an Airstream

Accent pillows (and other decor elements) in bright hues add pops of color to the Airstreams. Photo courtesy LCRA Parks

It’s easy to get comfy in these aluminum icons, which feel more new than retro. Each is decorated in a particular color theme featuring a bright hue (such as yellow or red) that gives the interior a cheery look. The color appears in most decor elements, including furniture, accent pillows, throw blankets, and decals.

The amenities help ensure a pleasant stay, too. For example, TVs mean you won’t have to miss your gotta-watch shows or big sporting events. For outdoor entertaining, throw some steaks on a stainless-steel grill, then gather everyone around a picnic table. End the evening with campfire chats around a firepit.

“These campers allow people to have the comfort of an Airstream without having to go through that intimidating effort of trying to set it up the right way,” says Richards. 

You may also like: 10 fun outdoor activities in Texas

Beach bungalows

Rendering of modern bungalows over parking spots

At Matagorda Bay Nature Park on the Gulf Coast, construction is scheduled to be completed this summer on 10 2-bedroom bungalows that each sleeps up to 8. Rendering courtesy LCRA Parks

Where: Matagorda Bay Nature Park

Sleeps: Up to 8 people

Creature comforts: Primary bedroom with a queen bed and a secondary bedroom with 2 sets of bunk beds; full kitchen; private bathroom with shower; spacious deck; gas grill
Cost: From $275 per night

The newest LCRA Parks accommodations—10 bungalows, each with 2 bedrooms—befit their environs at Matagorda Bay Nature Park. They overlook the Colorado River near its meeting point with the Gulf of Mexico, some located just steps from the beach. Although they were still under construction at press time, they’re scheduled to open this summer.

Rendering of a kitchen and dining space

The bungalows will feature full kitchens, making it easy for families or friends traveling together to prepare their own meals when they don’t want to eat out. Rendering courtesy LCRA Parks

Designed for families and groups, the bungalows come in 2 sizes: one sleeps up to 6, the other up to 8. Booking one of the latter gets you a more spacious living room, kitchen, and dining area. They all come with a large patio and a grill, and 2 are ADA accessible with ramps.

“When people come to the beach, a lot of times they’re going on a fishing trip or they’re coming with a larger group to explore the Texas coast. The bungalows offer them a place to prepare meals, play some games, or just kick back and relax while all staying together in the same vacation rental,” says Richards.

You may also like: 7 family-friendly outdoor vacations in Texas

Safari-style tents and cabins

Couple sitting on porch outside a wood cabin

Four spacious, wood-framed cabins at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park near Austin take the “roughing it” out of camping with amenities such as elevated front porches with chairs and tables. Photo courtesy LCRA Parks

Where: Lake Bastrop North Shore Park; Shaffer Bend Recreation Area

Sleeps: Up to 6

Creature comforts: Handcrafted furniture; kitchenettes; grills; firepits; cabins and the Amani have private bathrooms and showers, as well as air conditioning and heating

Cost: GLAT tents, from $150 per night; cabins, from $350 per night; Amani tent, $450 per night

Six safari-style GLAT tents at Lake Bastrop North Shore Park can each accommodate up to 6 people and are named after the destinations that inspired their decor: Amalfi, Careyes, Colorado, France, Montana, and Texas (the largest one, naturally). The France tent, for example, brings a touch of Parisian chic to the campsite, with sleek black-and-white decor, contemporary art, textured furniture, a café-style table, and a pop of red.

Inside a Lake Bastrop North Shore Park GLAT tent

At the Lake Bastrop park, you’ll feel right at home in one of its 6 upscale, safari-style tents that are a far cry from standard tents. Photo courtesy LCRA Parks

While these tents are made of durable canvas, the comparison to standard tents stops there. The stark differences are apparent even before you step inside one, given that each tent is elevated on a wooden platform and has a spacious front porch with Adirondack chairs or a small outdoor dining table with chairs. Each tent also has a grill and firepit outside.

Step inside and you’ll instantly feel right at home, with rugs, reading chairs, dressers, and beds (with sturdy frames and headboards) made up with soft linens, comforters, and throw pillows. Some have couches and bunk beds. Keeping with the “let’s-not-rough-it” theme, they all have kitchenettes and lighting as well as air conditioning and heating. But, alas, they do not have private bathrooms, so you’ll use the community facilities.

Feel even more at home in one of the park’s 4 GLAT cabins, wood-framed structures that can accommodate up to 6 people. They offer all the amenities of the tents but are more spacious and have full bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers and stone sinks. Three feature outdoor hot tubs overlooking the lake, and one even has an inflatable outdoor movie screen.

Overhead view of an Amani tent and surrounding picnic area, firepit, and cowboy pool

The secluded Amani tent at Shaffer Bend Recreation Area in the Hill Country offers many luxury amenities—including a canopy king bed and air conditioning, and even a cowboy pool outdoors. Photo courtesy LCRA Parks

For the most lavish LCRA Parks glamping option, head to Shaffer Bend Recreation Area in the Hill Country near Marble Falls. Get comfy in the just-unveiled Amani, a secluded safari-style tent on an elevated platform that pampers 2 people in 1,250 square feet of luxe living space.

When was the last time you slept in a canopy king bed on a camping trip? Besides air conditioning and heating, other amenities include a comfortable sitting area, a full bathroom, and a kitchenette.

Outside, a wraparound porch delivers stunning Hill Country views, with Lake Travis in the distance. Prepare dinner on a stainless-steel propane grill, then take a seat at the porch’s dining table to savor your food. You can also relax in a heated cowboy pool, warm up by the smokeless firepit, or take advantage of the 2 electric mountain bikes that come with your stay.

“It’s a pretty special tent,” says Richards. “The views from the front porch are million-dollar views that are absolutely breathtaking.”

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