Gay hiking

Gay Getaways – OutSmart Magazine

LAre you looking for a summer vacation, but are you tired of the beach? Worried about pandemic-era travel in expensive planes and cruise ships, but really need to recharge away from the crowds and stresses of big cities? Why not book a quaint cabin in the woods?

Imagine quiet contemplation, channeling your inner artist and simply breathing in the beauty of nature, all while enjoying the luxury that modern cabin living has to offer.

The three LGBTQ-friendly Texas options featured below aren’t the summer camp cabins you might remember, they’re luxury accommodations. This could be your modern-day “Thoreau’s summer,” so pack your bags (and maybe the kids and the dogs) and hit the road for the most relaxing vacation you’ve had in years.

getaway house

Multiple locations in Texas

Jon Staff founded Getaway House in 2015, and he now owns nearly two dozen wooded sites across the country featuring tiny cabins with their own bathrooms and kitchens, as well as fire pits and picnic tables. Its newest Texas location is Getaway Brazos Valley, which opened in June 2020 in Navasota. This property has 46 cabins on 142 acres.

“My favorite features are the lack of Wi-Fi, followed by the large window along the bed, the staff note. “Waking up with the view truly allows our guests to feel immersed in nature and surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors. To underscore the joy of being offline, as soon as you check in, guests will find a cell phone safe to gently entice people to put their phones away. It allows them to truly disconnect and appreciate their surroundings, and fully embrace the experience.

“Nothing compares to the deep exhale you feel when you take a real break from the city and step into nature. There’s something truly restorative about stepping out of the concrete jungle and into the woods. I would recommend our new Getaway guests to really enjoy the experience. Put your phone in the safe, light a fire and enjoy the serenity in nature. Our cabins are equipped to make your stay as comfortable as possible. so that our customers can enjoy the benefits of the outdoors without the noise of daily responsibilities.

Circle J Guest Ranch

Eustace, TX

The Circle J opened in the spring of 2005 when four men purchased the original 100 acres in the pine woods of beautiful East Texas. In the early years, it was open exclusively to gay men, with clothing optional. Although it is no longer clothing optional, it is still an adults-only ranch and they do host private groups or special events that are clothing optional. Monthly Men’s Club weekends are a regular event where clothing is optional.

‘We like to say we’re proudly gay-owned and operated, but we’re straight-friendly,’ say the owners, who are in the final stages of completing a new 5-acre RV park for long term and residential use, adjacent to the east side of the original 100 acre property. The planned grand opening is the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

“We now have a restaurant on the property, we offer horseback riding, hiking trails and a 2 acre spring fed pond for swimming, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. But perhaps the most unique aspect of the property is the natural formation of huge boulders atop the hill above the pond. The largest stands 8 or 9 feet tall, near a community fire pit where guests gather after dusk to enjoy a warm fire and relax with each other, often late into the night.

For those not pitching a tent or staying in their RV, the Garden View Suite is a private room with a great view from the bay window across from the king bed and with custom lighting and an electric fireplace. Truly “glamping” at its finest.

Hat Hill Refuge

County of Uvalde

This charming artist’s cabin, hidden atop a breathtaking hill in the Texas Hill Country, is owned by Houston gallerist Megen Pastor and his wife, Laura Goodson. Located near a bubbling stream, it’s sure to help channel your own artistic endeavors. You can also purchase some of the couple’s beautiful artwork, jackets and vintage pieces. There are RV hookups and a trampoline, and although the creek isn’t deep enough to swim in, there is a swimming hole nearby.

The couple’s website describes this lovely little getaway: “Your home away from home is a one-bedroom cabin with a self-contained two-bed dorm which is usually where we send the kids if they’re old enough. Wi-Fi compatible, but we hope you won’t use it too much. Our motto: keep children away from the streets and streams. The master bedroom closet is purchasable as is the art, i.e. take what you want and be charged at the end of your stay, or go online and buy it.”

This article appears in the May 2022 issue of OutSmart magazine.