Do you like the idea of staying out in nature but don’t have a tent and other camping gear? Or maybe you are looking for a fun outdoor getaway but want a real mattress and air conditioning? Well glamping or “glamorous camping” may be just the thing to satisfy all those requirements.
Our family personally loves being outdoors and away from crowds but we aren’t as crazy about as sleeping in a tent for the reasons above and more. (I didn’t even get into bears, bugs, or hot water!) We were thrilled when the super nice owners of Lost Hill Lake Events in St. Clair, Missouri offered us the chance to give luxury camping a try. Even better we were able to stay in their most unique glamping unit offered, the Blue Sky Bus.
Lost Hill Lake Events is well known in the St. Louis Wedding community for their enchanting, outdoor wedding and events venue situated on 200 acres an hour west of St. Louis. They host weddings both large and small as well as retreats and other events. The property is full of beautiful views and props for the perfect photo ops. Lost Hill Lake has also expanded into offering glamping accommodations on their private property.
Once the kids found out we were going camping in a bus, they asked us daily if it was bus day yet.
To say they were excited about staying in an actual school bus is an understatement.
The adults were pretty excited too. While the bus looks fun and cheerful on the outside, the inside is full of comfort and thoughtful choices for a restful stay. The attention to detail and hand crafted elements make the interior both beautiful and functional.
All units at Lost Hill Lake include electricity and air conditioning. The Blue Sky Bus also features a small fridge, couch, and and an eating area. We had limited cell service inside the bus, but did have signal around the rest of the property. There is no wi-fi so this a time to stay unplugged and offline.
All linens are provided including shower towels. They ask that you bring your own beach towels for lake activities. You can also request to bring your own pillows and linens if you feel more comfortable doing so due to COVID.
The kids were thrilled about having bunk beds to rest their heads while a queen bed is located in the very back. There are no rails on the upper bunk so keep that in mind if you have a young and wild sleeper.
Summer in St. Louis can be brutal but the air conditioning worked amazing in the bus despite the 90+ degree temps. There are two air units plus a fan available.
If you have kids, there is where you can expect to find them every second they are inside. How fun is it to pretend you are driving a bus?
My son also absolutely loved opening and closing the bus door each time someone needed to go in and out. (And even when they didn’t!)
Outside the bus you have your choice of several places to relax. There are chairs and table for dining outside. There is also a big and comfy hammock to relax or read a book. (If you can keep your kids off so you can have a turn!)
One really neat feature of the Blue Sky Bus is the hand crafted deck that extends over the top of the bus. Use caution up the steps as they are steep and the handrails are rough, raw wood. On top there is another seating area plus a great view of the lake and property.
If you are looking for a different type of lodging or staying with a group and need multiple units, they also offer two retro and renovated campers. Expect an updated vintage look both inside and out. The Cozy Camper is a little more secluded while the Charming Camper has a super fun porch swing.
If you want something closer to traditional camping, the Tribal Teepee might be an option for you.
One feature that makes a stay here a little more “roughing it” is that there is no indoor plumbing in any of units. Each unit has it’s own compostable restroom located a short distance away. These bathrooms are very clean and have hand washing stations but it can be more challenging with little ones than an en-suite restroom.
The bathrooms have lights for night visits but a flashlight could be handy. You know, just in case you cross paths with a skunk family in the dark like one family member did. (No skunks were harmed and no one was sprayed, but a reminder that you are out in the woods!)
A short distance from the bus is a roofless shower house. The shower house is heated and the hot water was plentiful. A sink is available here as well.
However, we weren’t as crazy about the floor surface. The floor of the shower is made of gravel with larger stones on top. It looks very natural, but the stones are a little rough and tricky to balance on. The kids thought it was great, like showering in a river bed. The adults decided we would prefer a concrete or tile floor. (The joys of getting old!) Being able to have a view of the stars is a bonus though.
Adjacent to the shower house is the community kitchen for all guests to share. Electricity is available here along with a refrigerator, microwave, grill, toaster, and coffee station.
If you want a place to dine with a view, there is a lakeside gazebo directly across from the kitchen.
The main highlight of glamping is to relax, reconnect, and explore the outdoors. Lost Hill Lake’s property features plenty of room to roam. The lake is the main feature of the property and covers 15 acres.
This is a rural country lake so don’t expect crystal clear water, but it’s shallow and great for kids to splash and swim.
There is also a sand beach play area with toys perfect for digging and imaginative play.
Guests can use provided kayaks and paddleboards to explore the entire lake and the various little islands poking up through the water. We aren’t into fishing, but that is a popular activity for guests to participate in as well.
Another way to stay active in nature during your stay is to follow one of the the private hiking trails on the property. A short and easy half mile path circles the lake.
If you want a longer trek, consider following the signs to make the hike up to “Thinking Rock. This trail winds through the woods, across a farm field, and then begins a steep climb up to the top of the bluffs. The trail eventually levels out for the last segment. I would consider the trail moderate due to the steep climb.
The climb is worth it for this great viewpoint from the top. Use caution here due to the long drop offs.
After our hike, we were ready to relax. Each unit has its own fire pit with a pre-built fire and firewood which is perfect for making smores.
We also enjoyed watching the sun go down over the lake each night. You can get a nice view from the bridge that crosses over the lake.
Other activities available in the area are hiking at Meramec, Robertsville, or Don Robinson State Parks. Meramec Caverns offers a cool spot to explore during the summer. (Full review post for the caverns coming soon.)
Have you ever been glamping before? If you are in the St. Louis area and looking for a local escape, Lost Hill Lake might be the spot for you.
Disclaimer: Lost Hill Lake Events provided us with a complimentary stay in exchange for our review. All opinions are our own.