The temperatures are crisp, the air is fragrant, the crowds of summer have receded, and thus, the annual itch to spend a few autumnal days in nature has returned. In years past, when finding a place to rest your head during your fall outdoor excursion, you probably waded through hundreds of Airbnb listings (only to find the truly great ones are either wildly expensive or booked months in advance), researched local campgrounds (only to remember you vowed never to sleep on the ground again after your last camping trip) or considered small hotels (only to realize very few can offer a real connection to the wilderness).
This year, allow us to suggest another option: a stay in a tiny home, tent or trailer from one of four fairly new and quickly expanding outdoor-centric hospitality brands.
With all the right amenities, Instagram-worthy design and, in many cases, locations within driving distance of major American cities, these companies offer a Goldilocksian option when it comes to your autumn adventures. That is, you’ll be more immersed in the elements than you would be at a hotel, but less immersed than you would be while roughing it (think: queen beds instead of sleeping bags, and onsite culinary offerings instead of hauling in food in coolers). But compared to home-sharing options like Airbnb, a stay with one of these companies offers the peace of mind that comes with guaranteed quality and consistency across locations, an element of community as you’ll be near other like-minded travelers, and the greater likelihood of being able to book on shorter notice.
So whether you’re looking for a glamping experience with all the trappings, a self-catering stay in a tiny home with forest views, or something that splits the difference, we’re confident you’ll find it here.
The Four Best Places to Book Tiny Homes, Tents and Trailers
- Getaway: Tiny Homes and Tents
- Under Canvas: Tents
- AutoCamp: Tiny Homes, Tents and Trailers
- Yonder: Tiny Homes and Trailers
The locations: There are 19 Getaway sites throughout the country, with another nine set to open by the end of the year.
The experience: With an ever-growing list of forest outposts across the country, all within reasonable driving distance to major American cities (like L.A., D.C., Chicago, Dallas and New York), Getaway makes it easy to skip town. Their signature tiny homes — social media standouts thanks to their queen-size beds with wall-to-wall window backdrops — pack a punch for being just 140 to 200 square feet. Inside, each heat and AC-equipped unit comes with a full bathroom and a nicely equipped kitchenette (think: utensils, mugs, plates, pots and pans, a two-burner stove, fridge and full-size sink). Should you prefer to cook over an open flame, each tiny home also features a private firepit area complete with picnic table and Adirondack chairs. For those who want to get a little closer to nature without totally roughing it, swap a tiny home for a tent and check out Getaway’s brand new campgrounds.
The locations: There are 10 camps near national parks and monuments, including the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Acadia in Maine; Glacier and Yellowstone in Montana; Mount Rushmore in South Dakota; Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee; and Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Moab and Zion in Utah.
The experience: When it comes to glamping in the U.S., Under Canvas runs the game. The company’s safari-inspired tents offer direct access to the American wilderness but with a buffer of luxury amenities. Complete with king beds, ensuite bathrooms and wood-burning stoves for cool fall nights, each spacious canvas tent is spaced out for privacy yet within walking distance to an impressive lobby lounge tent — the place to grab a drink, socialize with other guests and partake in camp programming. While Under Canvas offers outposts across various terrains and climates, if it’s fall foliage you’re after, check out their Acadia and Great Smoky Mountains camps. Autumn is also the perfect time to experience cooler temperatures and non-summer crowds at bucket list locations like the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce Canyon (home to the company’s newest camp).
The locations: Right now, AutoCamp is operating in Cape Cod, Massachusetts; near Joshua Tree, Santa Rosa and Yosemite in California; and in the Catskills in Upstate New York. Four more locations are planned for 2023.
The experience: AutoCamp describes itself as an “outdoor boutique hotel experience.” While best known for their mid-century modern Airstream trailers, most AutoCamp locations also offer a mix of accommodations. These include VistaX suites (like Getaway’s tiny homes but bigger), luxury tents (picture Under Canvas tents without the private bathrooms) and restored vintage cabins (at their Yosemite location only). Whichever you pick, you’ll also have access to the camp’s design-forward Clubhouse, a bright and airy gathering place featuring lounge areas and a general store selling beer, wine and DIY BBQ kits for cooking over your private firepit. For peak fall vibes, check out AutoCamp’s outpost on Cape Cod or their brand new location in New York’s Catskills. Autumn is also the best time of year to visit the California desert, so consider AutoCamp Joshua Tree too.
The location: Escalante, Utah, though Yonder plans to expand.
The experience: Unlike the others on this list, Yonder has just one location for now. The 20-acre desert retreat is within Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and near Bryce Canyon National Park. Here, you’ll find 22 tiny cabins and 10 vintage Airstream trailers, each outfitted with vintage furnishings and an Americana design aesthetic, plus multiple drive-up campsites for cars and RVs. Whichever you choose, each comes with a private firepit and access to Yonder’s pool, hot tub, indoor-outdoor clubhouse, general store, on-site food truck, and communal bathhouses with private indoor and outdoor showers. Best of all, though, is Yonder’s drive-in movie theater which plays favorites like Top Gun and The Sandlot seven days a week. Arrive early to visit the concession stand and snag a seat in one of the stationary, restored classic cars.
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