Travel

Cool Airbnbs Near Houston to Book This Spring

Ready to skip town for a weekend or longer? These gorgeous Airbnbs and hotels are well worth the trip themselves.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

We love hanging in Houston and all, but we also love exploring the rest of the Lone Star State. Case and point? We’ve brought you the perfect weekend road trips, the most picturesque places in Texas, the most gorgeous locales in South Texas, and some awesome nearby hikes. And now, just in time for spring weather, we’re zeroing in on the most tranquil accommodations within spitting distance of H-Town. With amenities like infinity pools and wrap-around decks with sunset views, these totally cool, totally relaxing Airbnbs are just a roadtrip away.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Resort Glamping at Firesong Ranch

Spicewood, Texas
2 guests, $450 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3.5 hours
You can immerse yourself in nature while still feeling luxe at the NDotto retreat, set in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The modern one bedroom space rocks a fireplace, full kitchen, spa bath, and soaking tub with sunset views plus an outdoor courtyard with an open-air shower, hammock, hot tub, and yet another fireplace because this is glamping, y’all.
Things to do nearby: Hit up Krause Springs, an underrated watering hole surrounded by a 115-acre property with over 30 springs, an au naturel pool flowing into Lake Travis, waterfalls, and grottos. Later, spend some time winery hopping at spots like El Gaucho Winery, Spicewood Vineyards, and Stonehouse Vineyard.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

A Contemporary Waterfront Retreat on Lake Travis

Austin, Texas
6 guests, $911 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3 hours
Spending a weekend on Lake Travis is a Texas rite of passage, one you may want to conquer with some friends at this luxurious Austin retreat. The modern gem boasts two decks overlooking that beautiful lake alongside two outdoor fireplaces, an outdoor grill and dining area plus access to a boat dock, shared swim platform, and kayak.
Things to do nearby: Pair your buzz with lakeside views and live music at inimitable Lake Travis bar and restaurant, The Oasis. And if you’re up for it, strip down to your birthday suit on the shores of Hippie Hollow, Texas’ only clothing-optional public park.
 

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

A Naturalist Boudoir in the Woods

Lumberton, Texas
2 guests, $195 per night
Distance from Houston: ~1.5 hours
The deeply forested Big Thicket is nature at its finest, and this woodsy “naturalist boudoir” is the perfect place to feel at one with said nature. With big open windows, a cabin feel, and awesome amenities like an outdoor shower, secluded hot tub, and suspended queen bed, this is prime unplugging territory. Note: If this boudoir is all booked up, there’s a second.
Things to do nearby: Explore the biodiverse ,rainforest-like Big Thicket where adventurers can hike and kayak through endless scenic trails and waterways.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Skyhouse on Canyon Lake

New Braunfels, Texas
10 guests, $853 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3.5 hours
You’ll have to drive up the winding hillside road to find it, but once you do, the Skyhouse offers gorgeous views of Lake Canyon in addition to some very nice creature-comforts. Ease in the infinity pool, fire up the outdoor grill, and catch the sunset from the wrap-around deck.
Things to do nearby: ‘Tis the season for tubing. Grab yours from Tube Haus or Whitewater Sports and take an epic float down the Guadalupe River. You can also dive into Canyon Lake itself and scope out the mile-long Canyon Lake Gorge.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

The Extraordinary Treehouse

Dallas, Texas
4 guests, $338 per night
Distance from Houston: 3.5 – 4 hours
A trickling brook and endless rows of Japanese Maples are just some of the natural beauties awaiting your admiration when you book this distinctive getaway. Nestled away in funky Little Forest Hills, the rustic-chic property feels like an escape from city life in the midst of the Big D.
Things to do nearby: All of these Actually Cool Things to Do in Dallas This Spring, including but not limited to getting back to nature at the Arboretum, coming face-to-face with sharks, and dining like a real cowboy.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

A Live Oak Treehouse

Fredericksburg, Texas
2 guests, $381 per night
Distance from Houston: ~4 hours
This luxury cabin is legit on stilts, built right into a cluster of oaks on the Palo Alto Creek. Bring a partner or go solo as you laze the day away in the hammock, sip wine while soaking in the outdoor tub, and live that Swiss Family Robinson life to the fullest. And check out the Sycamore Treehouse, Leaf Treehouse, Sapling Treehouse, and Acorn Treehouse properties while you’re at it.
Things to do nearby: This secluded spot is only seven minutes from Fredericksburg’s town center, meaning you should probably pay the charming old German town a visit (along with all the wineries in the area, naturally). Bonus: Hauntingly beautiful Enchanted Rock lurks a mere 20 minutes or so down the road.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

A Clifftop Estate

Austin, Texas
10 guests, $2,475 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3 hours
Want to stay in Austin without actually feeling like you’re staying in Austin? Enter this luxury clifftop estate, which sits 11 miles from downtown. The glam four-bedroom property spans an infinity pool, private courtyard and firepit plus breezy, tree-shaded grounds perfect for achieving your zen with some early morning yoga. 
Things to do nearby: That little city called Austin has quite a bit to offer, including but not limited to Bartons Springs, Lady Bird Lake, really, really good patio eating and drinking, and all of these actually cool things to do.
 

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

A Yurt in the Trees

Dripping Springs
2 guests, $205 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3 hours
Stressed with city life? Consider chillin’ in a straight up yurt in the middle of Texas Hill Country for a few days. This one’s perched between Live Oaks on a plot overlooking the gaping canyon and trickling spring-fed creek below. A quiet common area with porch swings and a fire pit beckons nearby. 
Things to do nearby: The yurt sits halfway between Bee Cave and Drippings Springs, home to must-see Texas grotto Hamilton Pool. Solaro Estate Winery is within walking distance, Treaty Oak Distilling and Fitzhugh Brewing are a stone’s throw away, and world-famous Salt Lick BBQ is jut a quick 25 minute drive from your front door… er, flap.
 

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

A Private Geodome Getaway on the Lake

Leander, Texas
12 guests, $1,070 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3 hours
Just a half hour outside of Austin, a supremely cool, fully renovated tri-level dome house dubbed the “Black Beauty” awaits your arrival. Take your freshly-brewed coffee (or a Bloody Mary) out onto the treetop deck to enjoy in the crisp Texas Hill Country air, climb the spiral staircase to the observation tower’s lofted library for 360-degree lakeside views, and don’t forget to snap some quality pics for the ‘Gram.
Things to do nearby: While downtown Austin is only 30 minutes away, you’re also just minutes from the quiet Sandy Shores of Lake Travis. What we mean to say is, get out on that lake.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

A Luxury Hill Country Villa

New Braunfels, Texas
15 guests, $1209 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3 hours
Skip the fratty, outdated river house rental and level up to sensational luxury instead. This five-bedroom stunner’s comes correct with hilltop views, an oversized hot tub, and an infinity pool complete with a cascading rock waterfall plus a sick outdoor kitchen with a gas-fired pizza oven. 
Things to do nearby: Embark on a leisurely float trip or splash the day away at Guadalupe River and Canyon Lake, both a short drive away. It’s also a 20 minute hop over to New Braunfels and 30 minutes from historic Greune, home to Texas’ oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

An Off-Grid Adobe Dome near Big Bend

Terlingua, Texas
3 guests, $118 per night
Distance from Houston: 9.5 – 10 hours
If you’re itching to get the heck out of dodge, it doesn’t get much more remote than the Far West Texas ghost town of Terlingua-and local accommodations don’t get much cooler than this earthen dome house. The isolated rental sits in one of the few remaining territories under a dark sky ordinance, meaning your views of the Texas-sized starry night will be just as unforgettable as the sunrises and sunsets. 
Things to do nearby: It’s a quick 25-minute drive over to Big Bend National Park, one of the largest national parks in the US at over 800,000 acres. There’s a lot to explore, from the spectacular Santa Elena Canyon to winding Rio Grande.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Secluded Hill Country Oasis

Driftwood, Texas
6 guests, $495 per night
Distance from Houston: ~3 hours
One of two ranch homes on a serene 8-acre property, this spot screams true Lone Star livin’. We’re talking sippin’ shandies while soaking up the sunset from the front porch, taking more than a few dips in the sleek pool, and searing marshmallows over the moonlit fire pit as you listen to the crickets churn deep in the oak Texas trees.
Things to do nearby: Grab local wine from the Wimberley Valley Winery or Limestone Terrace Vineyard or day trip over to nearby Jacob’s Well, a gorgeous, natural artesian spring and home to what is believed to be the longest underwater cave in Texas.

Brooke Viggiano is a Houston-based writer who thinks she may need to book some of these properties before y’all do. Let her know if you beat her to it on IG @brookiefafa or on Twitter @brookeviggiano.

Travel

8 Suburbs Near Phoenix You Should Absolutely Visit

You could use a little space.

Discover Gilbert AZ
Discover Gilbert AZ
Discover Gilbert AZ

Phoenix is pretty great. There’s the burgeoning culinary scene, the diverse culture, the arts, of course, the sports, the great outdoors, and don’t forget about the more than 300 days of annual sunshine. We could really go on, and on, about how great this place is, but all of that greatness can blind you to all the excellence just outside it. The suburbs across The Valley are not to be missed. To encourage you to actually explore them, here’s what the best of ‘em have to offer.

Photo courtesy of Tempe Tourism
Photo courtesy of Tempe Tourism
Photo courtesy of Tempe Tourism

Tempe

Notably, Tempe is recognized as home to one of the largest universities in the country, Arizona State. But this Phoenix suburb is so much more than a college town, although it does add to its undeniable magic. Downtown Tempe plays hosts to epic arts festivals, dragon boat races, marathons and triathlons, and dozens of other events that all take place a short-distance from Tempe Town Lake, a two-mile long perennial reservoir and urban park that attracts cylicts, rowers, and active types. Break a sweat with a hike to the top of A Mountain and take in a panoramic sunset view. Or, just belly-up to the bar at one of Tempe’s innumerable craft breweries. Both are solid choices. And both can get you acquainted with this laidback Phoenix suburb.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho
Photo courtesy of Hotel Valley Ho

Scottsdale

Nearly half of Scottsdale’s land area is dedicated to open spaces and untamed desert. Outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, road cycling, horseback riding, and kayaking reign supreme here, and the city certainly leans toward an active, wellness-centered lifestyle. And while there’s no shortage of desert to explore, Scottsdale also claims some of the best spas in the world, award-winning restaurants, world-class golf courses, it’s the center stage for major events like luxury car auctions and sporting events, and it’s even got a bustling arts scene. This Phoenix suburb checks all of the boxes, really.

Photo by Lauren Topor Reichert
Photo by Lauren Topor Reichert
Photo by Lauren Topor Reichert

Gilbert

Not too long ago Gilbert was a sort of sleepy, far-away farm town. That’s certainly not the case anymore. Gilbert has grown exponentially, but its agricultural roots are still readily present in its personality and charm. Downtown Gilbert is home to dozens of restaurants and bars, most of which have a local, farm-to-table approach, naturally. And then there’s Agritopia, a friendly neighborhood with its very own shared garden and community spaces that include Epicenter and BARNONE, where you can order a wood-fired pizza, a can of experimental natural wine, and camp out under a canopy of trees in the open-air. It’s practically a utopia.

Mike Boening Photography
Mike Boening Photography
Mike Boening Photography

Cave Creek

A gateway to Horseshoe and Bartlett Lakes, Cave Creek’s position on the outskirts of Tonto National Forest makes it a primo spot for outdoor activities like biking and hiking and adventure by way of air balloon or horseback. Modern cowboys and gals can mosey over to The Buffalo Chip Saloon where bull riding and swing dancing are just part of a typical day. Additionally, Cave Creek has its own botanical garden, raptor rescue, and a gallery packed with person-sized crystals. And it’s all yours to discover.

Ade Russell/Flickr
Ade Russell/Flickr
Ade Russell/Flickr

Mesa

Point your GPS east and you’ll arrive in Mesa, Arizona’s third largest city. Whether you’re after outdoor adventure, looking to explore the arts and culture scene, or searching for locally made ciders and craft beer, Mesa has it all. There’s a hip, growing downtown area lined with storefronts, restaurants, theaters, and tasting rooms. And if you’re game for a little outdoor recreation, Mesa is your jumping-off point to scenic Sonoran Desert trails including Usery Mountain Regional Park, Lost Dutchman State Park, and San Tan Regional Park. Mesa is also just a short distance from The Salt River where you can cruise by wild horses and native wildlife via paddle board and Saguaro Lake is just up the road.

Experience Fountain Hills
Experience Fountain Hills
Experience Fountain Hills

Fountain Hills

At the center of this Phoenix suburb is an expansive urban park and monumental water fountain that tops out at 560-feet. The fountain in Fountain Hills is larger than the Washington Monument, and it’s three times as high as Old Faithful. Pack a picnic and spread out in the park for an afternoon where you can traverse the walkable paths, cycle around the waterway, or play a competitive bout of frisbee golf. If you swing more towards traditional golf, there’s a shortlist of premier golf courses to tee-off at. And like many of the Phoenix suburbs here, Fountain Hills is surrounded by wide-open desert and scenic vistas just waiting to be explored.

Camelback Ranch - Glendale
Camelback Ranch – Glendale
Camelback Ranch – Glendale

Glendale

Arizona sports teams including the Coyotes and Cardinals have home turf advantage in Glendale. Over the years Glendale has hosted three Super Bowl bouts and will host another in 2023. But Glendale’s not just a sports mecca for fans of professional football and hockey. This Phoenix suburb is homebase to Camelback Ranch, a modern ballpark with all the amenities where the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers take the field each season as part of Cactus League Spring Training. Take your time in Glendale into extra innings and visit Historic Old Town Glendale. Here you’ll encounter eclectic antique and vintage stores, restaurants, candy shops, and coffee houses.

Pedal Haus Brewery
Pedal Haus Brewery
Pedal Haus Brewery

Chandler 

Museums, urban parks, art galleries, and growing neighborhoods like Uptown Chandler and Downtown Chandler give this Phoenix suburb lots of appeal. Rows of palm trees line the Downtown area where you can start your day with a locally roasted coffee and organic breakfast bowl. Downtown Chandler regularly hosts community-focused events and it’s a popular hangout for craft beer drinkers. SanTan Brewery, Pedal Haus, and The Perch, with 40 beers on tap and tropical birds at every turn, all call this Phoenix suburb home.

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Lauren Topor Reichert is a Phoenix-based multimedia storyteller, photographer, and content creator. Her work has been featured in travel guides, national publications, and the social feeds of some stellar local restaurants. Follow her around Arizona, and beyond, on Instagram @hungryinphoenix.

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