Rate: $164 to $184 per night
Glam Factor: 3 of 5
You will know that you’ve arrived at The Eco Camp, a delightfully crunchy, solar-powered tent city in Northern Ohio, when you spot owner Alex Wrege zooming toward you on his mini Segway—dressed in a Hawaiian-print shirt and cargo pants, sipping his latte from a pint glass. Without even dismounting, he will show you around the grounds, which consist of a handful of Lotus Belle outback tents that look like giant canvas Hershey Kisses, a couple of group shelters filled with comfy wicker furniture and rainy-day accoutrements (books, USB chargers, a tambourine), and a community fire ring where visitors can soak up the woodsy charm of this barracks tucked between an RV park and a horse farm.
Wrege, a German expat who left his job teaching English-as-second-language courses to run The Eco Camp, also offers “safe, environmentally sustainable” stand-up paddleboard excursions (including lessons) along Ohio’s Maumee River. Guests can take advantage of the 90-minute or half-day package add-on, spend the day hiking, or simply drop a floatie in the swimming pond shared with the campground next door.
In addition to a comfy tent, the camp provides everything a person might need to simulate off-the-grid living for a few days: firewood, fully charged lanterns, YETI-style coolers, and butane stoves. Each tent is assigned its own state-of-the-art Porta Potty, and campers can freshen up in a communal shower building.
Admittedly, the experience falls on the grittier end of the glamping continuum, but what The Eco Camp lacks in perks, it makes up for in good, old-fashioned, wiener-roasting camaraderie beneath the Tibetan prayer flags. The site is so accidentally Wes Anderson that nobody even questions the bank of dime store–caliber gumball machines positioned at the camp entrance, next to the solar panels and s’mores sticks. Who says roughing it can’t be fun? 5751 Waterville Swanton Rd., Swanton, Ohio, 419-482-8406, theecocamp.com
While You’re There…
Eat: In nearby Waterville, Ohio, you can tuck into a stack of cherry granola pancakes or a loaded skillet breakfast at Dale’s Diner (dalesbarandgrill.com).
Hike: Take advantage of the network of meticulously kept Metroparks that dot the Toledo area. The largest and closest one to The Eco Camp is Oak Openings Preserve, which blankets about 5,000 acres with trails and plein air–ready fishing ponds.
Explore: The village of Grand Rapids offers a charming cluster of antiques shops, boutiques, and restaurants on the banks of the Maumee River.