Five Southern Tree House Getaways

Five arboreal retreats to visit this summer

photo: Gately Williams

There’s something magical about spending the night high up in the treetops. This summer tap into your inner twelve-year-old and indulge latent Swiss Family Robinson fantasies at one of these five arboreal retreats that range from rustic riverside hideouts to refined mountain top escapes.

Cypress Valley Canopy Tours
Spicewood, TX

With the Nest—a gorgeous multi-level maze of bedrooms, observation towers, and porches, plus, a breakfast nook, kitchen, reading corner, and a private bathroom with an outdoor shower—the folks at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours have made your wildest childhood imaginings reality. Woven through the branches of several bald cypresses, the treetop cabin overlooks a small ravine with spring-fed creek and waterfall. Did we mention there’s AC? And for smaller groups, Cypress Valley rents three other treetop retreats that each sleep two.

Buckhead Tree House
Atlanta, GA

You’d never guess you were smack in the middle of metro Atlanta from inside Katie and Peter Bahouth’s sylvan Buckhead paradise. The whimsical trio of treetop rooms were built by Peter, a former Greenpeace executive, from salvaged materials—the windows came out of a Masonic lodge in South Carolina—and they’re connected by a network of wooden suspension bridges done up with white café lights. Note: This in-town sanctuary books fast, so plan ahead.

Edisto River Tree Houses
Canadys, SC

Located on a small, secluded island amid a private 160-acre wildlife refuge, Anne and Scott Kennedy’s three tree houses can only be reached by boat. Guests paddle a thirteen-mile path down a sleepy stretch of the Edisto River. Shaded by live oaks heavy with Spanish moss, the river is shallow in the summer months with wide sandy beaches perfect for picnics. The lodgings are modest but comfortable and outfitted with propane grills, cooking utensils, and screened sleeping porches.

Fire Mountain Inn
Highlands, NC

Free of phones, televisions, internet, and even clocks, the tree houses at Fire Mountain Inn offer total escape. (Though the folks in the kitchens of the property’s nearby inn will happily bring breakfast to you each morning.) The cabins are simple and stylish with wrap-around porches and low-slung hammocks that beg for a nap or a few hours with a good book.

Meadows of Dan, VA

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Virginia’s North Carolina border, this Orvis-endorsed luxury lodge built its first tree house in 2011—today, there are three. Assembled with fragrant red cedar around the limbs of one of the property’s oldest (and loveliest) oak trees, the Golden Eagle’s porch offers sweeping views of the Dan River Gorge. Each of Primland’s sky-high havens comes equipped with WIFI, but no tablet screen can compete with the scenery right outside.