The Keller Magazine

Best of both worlds

When “Glamping,” you can hear the animals, but not feel the rocks.
When “Glamping,” you can hear the animals, but not feel the rocks.

The problem: You enjoy camping, but your significant other does not. He or she likes the outdoors but has no interest in sleeping on the hard ground or hiking to the restroom when nature calls.

The solution: glamping.

Glamping “marries” camping and hotel experiences by providing luxurious amenities in a natural setting.

Short for glamorous camping, glamping “marries camping and hotel experiences by providing luxurious amenities in a natural setting,” says Bill Fuller, owner of Sundancer on the Brazos, a glamping site 40 minutes from Fort Worth. “People long for an authentic connection with nature, but many people don’t like to ‘rough it’ as in traditional camping.”

Located on Double F River Ranch, a 350-acre working cattle ranch with Angus and longhorn cattle on the banks of the Brazos River, Sundancer uses tents that are manufactured in and shipped from Africa.

The specialized tents offer most everything you’d expect from a fine hotel, including a refrigerator, a microwave oven, central air and heat, a full bath with oversized shower, high-thread-count linens and a queen-sized bed. Plus, if you want to bring along addi tional friends or family members, there’s a couch in the main room that folds out into a queen sleeper.

At the same time, Fuller says, despite these luxuries, the tent’s fabric walls “let in the sounds of the owls and coyotes while you drift off to sleep.”

Sundancer has “one of the only wood-fired hot tubs in America,” says Fuller. You can build a fire in the hot tub’s wood-burning stove and let the water circulate naturally while you soak under the stars. After you finish, you can wrap yourself in a soft terry cloth robe.

Currently, Sundancer doesn’t offer food services, so you should bring your own hot dogs, hamburgers and the like, including steaks for grilling. You can also make a fire in the fire pit and roast s’mores, so, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, don’t forget to tote along some marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers.

Each luxury tent is equipped with board games and jigsaw puzzles, a good way to pass the time or unwind after lunch or dinner.

Or you can relax in the couple’s hammock and read, or just watch the clouds drift by, Fuller says. Plus, there’s a “large wraparound deck that has lots of fine seating under the big shade trees — ideal for reading or stretching out as you listen to the sound of the waterfall,” he says.

Fuller says glamping at Sundancer is “all about reconnecting and relaxing. Breathe in the fresh air and listen to the sounds of the birds and the wind whispering through the tops of the trees. Enjoy watching deer, turkeys, lots of birds and other wild animals, along with the grazing cattle.”

Despite the relative newness of glamping, there are numerous camping sites in Texas that offer readymade amenities.

Adventurous “glampers” can hike a mile through the woods surrounding Sundancer and across the grasslands to the Brazos River, where you can go kayaking (and inner-tubing during the summer) or simply enjoy the sights and sounds of the river. There are ponds nearby as well if you want to do a little fishing. For those who like to hit the links, Sugar Tree golf course is a mere 10 minutes away.

Also called boutique camping, comfy camping or posh camping, luxury camping has been trending in Europe for quite a while (the term “glamping” originated in the U.K. in 2005, years after it became popular), but, according to Fuller, it’s fairly new to the U.S., at least in its current form.

Despite the relative newness of glamping, there are numerous camping sites in Texas that offer readymade amenities. The phenomenon took hold and spread quickly in Texas in part because of the accommodating weather and the outdoor lifestyle the state provides.

Listed to the right are just a few of the glamping sites in the Lone Star State. Accommodations range from bell tents to yurts (wooden-framed tents) to trailers to cabins to safari-style tents.

The sites may vary in nature (so to speak), but they all have two things in common: you don’t have to set up your own tent and you don’t have to sleep on the cold, hard ground.

Abilene State Park

150 Park Road 32

Tuscola, 79562

325- 572-3204

Activities: hiking, cycling, sand volleyball, swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking


The Texas Bell Tent Glamping

6014 Creekwood Pass

Spring Branch, 78070

210- 618-7434


Unique feature: custom swings on a deck with views overlooking Texas Hill Country


Green Acres Glamping Retreat

Elgin (25 miles east of Austin)


Special feature: visitors share the grounds with miniature donkeys, alpacas, chickens and cats.


Sinya on Lone Man Creek

Deer Lake Estates

Wimberley, 78676


Theme: safari-inspired luxury camping


El Cosmico

802 S. Highland Ave.

Marfa, 79843


Surroundings: the high plains desert


Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

2299 Co Rd 2008

Glen Rose, 76043


Unique feature: scenic wildlife drive featuring such exotic animals as bison, giraffes and zebras


Suns Island at Lake Placid

110 Lee St.

Seguin, 78155


Activities: boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming


Rainbow Hearth Sanctuary & Retreat Center

1330 Waterway Lane

Burnet, 78611


Special feature: bodywork massages

Sundancer on the Brazos

On Old Dennis Road south of Weatherford