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The only year-round US glamp camp offers outdoor adventure -- but indoors

Sarah Paynter
Reporter

The Lone Star Glamp Inn is built for people who crave the idea of camping -- but in a strictly hypothetical, weatherproof fashion.

With 18 tents and 10 trailers, the Lone Star Glamp Inn in Round Top, Texas is the only year-round indoor “glamping” facility in the United States. The term refers to the trend of staying in the outdoors, only with creature comforts normally associated with luxury vacations.

Each trailer or tent is $199 a night during antiques week. During the rest of the year, they rent out chunks of the gigantic venue, rather than individual campers. The location can host up to 56 people. 

“There is no risk of weather, so people actually love it when it rains — it’s a great opportunity to sit around, drink some wine and visit,” said Kaci Van Coutren, who owns the venue with her husband Sterling.

Built to mimic the (shudder) great outdoors, the location features a pretend drive-in movie theater called the “Starlite Drive-in,” a used car shop front, a Texaco gas station imitation, construction signs and antique 1950’s billboards. Green yard-like areas are topped with outdoor patio furniture and lawn flamingos. Meanwhile, the tents area stays dark, lit by string lights to mimic the night sky. 

But unlike traditional campgrounds, the venue comes with television, air conditioning and WiFi, providing the perfect outdoor adventure for the “indoorsy” type. 

Vintage accommodations for a tiny town

A 'glamp' site at Lone Star Glamp in Round Top, Texas.

Accommodations include a variety of vintage trailers, including Canned Hams, that were manufactured from 1959 through the 1970’s. Kaci sourced the themed trailers pre-decorated from local antiques dealers and friends across the country. 

“People love the vintage feel, and Round Top is all about vintage old antique junk,” said Kaci. She referred to the Round Top Antiques Week, a popular antiquing event week that draw shoppers from around the country. 

Kaci said the Glamp Inn preserves old campers by keeping them inside. “They are all road worthy, but they won’t be forever,” she said. 

Kaci’s favorite trailer, the “Chevron Cowgirl,” was painted by camper artist Angela Leachman. The award-winning trailer has chevron stripes, painted with phrases like “Sister on the fly,” “Howdy,” and “We have more fun than anyone.” 

The tents are themed, too, created by Kaci and her sister. The Outlaw tent is classic western-themed, decorated with animal hide, antlers, and lassos — and a sign that reads “What happens in these boots stays in these boots.” 

And the “Yee Haw” tent pays homage to a bovine aesthetic: It has a cowhide floor, cow spotted-pillows, and cowboot lights. 

Kaci claims she can’t stop adding to the tent decor.

“When the Antiques Show comes, it’s hard to stop yourself from going out and shopping for more and adding to the themes of the tents,” she said. 

History

For a town with a population of 91, Round Top, Texas is a competitive hub for antiques dealers. In 2013, the Van Coutrens bought the 33,000-square-foot set of twin warehouses, planning to open an antiquing venue during Round Top week. 

But the couple soon found the town had an oversupply of antiquing venues — and an undersupply of accommodations for dealers and shoppers. Inspired by antiquers who brought trailers to the event, the couple decided to create one-of-a-kind, community lodging for Round Top pilgrims.

“During Antiques Week, the campers are all rented by people who don’t know each other. We found they become friends and request trailers next to each other the following year,” said Kaci.

Today, the venue has become something of a destination itself, drawing a host of events that include family reunions, bachelorette parties and retreats, just to name a few. 

“We’re building a community. It’s not like going to hotel. When you come out in the morning, everybody is drinking coffee together in their pajamas. It’s just a better way of bonding and building community,” said Kaci.