What better way to immerse yourself in the life of a region, explore hidden corners and appreciate the natural nuances of a place while enjoying the advantages and the enormous satisfaction of traveling on your own? These are experiences on the road that you can’t get behind the wheel of a sedan, train or tour bus. Active travel is, at its core, a way to more authentically connect with the outdoors without giving up some of the luxury comforts and conveniences of indoor accommodations. These local services bring the passenger, adventurous side of travel to you so you can experience the wide open road, or camping, your way and in style. Airplanes and hotels continue to take a back seat (pun intended); we plan to continue to connect with nature not just by seeing it, but by living in it.
Photos courtesy of Suncoast Vans
Suncoast Pickup Trucks
Nomadic couple Rob and Stephanie Jaramillo quit their unfulfilling 9am-5pm jobs to help others fully embrace ‘van life’. Making the decision to custom build a sustainable mobile home for their own road trip adventure – taking a total of three and a half months – they learned the ins and outs of building and designing this unique space on wheels. “These months have been filled with ups and downs, as we tackled new challenges every day, putting our heart and soul into the craft,” explains Stephanie. “Once it was done, we hit the road and traveled the country. This expedition gave us so many special moments and lessons. Along the way, we met various like-minded creative builders who shared the same desire for a sustainable lifestyle and ignited our passion for building vans. After having so much fun creating their first home together, the couple decided to help others start their own adventures with custom built vans designed for their personalities, lifestyles and planned trips. Rob and Stephanie get the vans to you and usually work with Ford Transits and Ram ProMasters. On average, a Suncoast Van takes about six to eight weeks to complete, with all work done at their local store. Features from high-end custom cabinetry, extensive solar and electrical systems, professional plumbing and everything in between, are all custom-designed for each van. “Our clients love our modern style truss builds and it’s a style that we’ve been asked for the most,” says Stephanie. “They use these vans for weekend adventures and trips to national parks all over the country.” Fully booked for 2021, but now accepting applications for 2022. suncoastvans.com, @suncoastvans.
Photo courtesy of Sarasota Glamping
Our Van Quest / Sarasota Glamping
Camping is cool and all, but take it to the next level with a campground glampout in these luxury tents. Sarasota Glamping makes it easy to set up and take down with their 13ft canvas bell tents which they stage with stylish furnishings and decor, including a queen bed and linens, boho design elements including rugs, fresh flowers, end tables with lighting, and a cozy seating area. After Gianna returned to Sarasota after building and living down the road with her husband and children in their converted sprinter van and then a converted school bus into a tiny house on wheels, the family decided to help others live nomadically through individuals and families. coaching from life at home to life on the road. ourvanquest.com, @ourvanquest.
Plus, Gianna recently added another hip outdoor sector to her repertoire, this one less mobile and more stationary. Now taking fall bookings, her new venture, Sarasota Glamping, designs and creates a memorable outdoor experience for adventurers like her, but those who seek the cozy amenities that come with the luxurious comforts of a home or vacation. hotel. All you have to do is reserve the campsite or the green space and she will take care of the rest. Setting up a giant canvas bell tent, Gianna will fill the yurt-like space with furniture, linens and decor reminiscent of Joshua Tree or Sedona, even bringing a fire pit with wood, a gourmet s’more kit, a flashlight and a deck of cards for a real night under the stars. Official launch scheduled for November 2021. sarasotaglamping.com, @sarasotaglamping.
Photo taken by Wyatt Kostygan
Playing with bohemian decor, fringed umbrellas, woven rugs, comfy cushions, rattan serving trays, rattan lanterns, jute poufs, fresh flowers and wooden farmhouse tables covered with colorful cutlery , Sarasota Alfresco engages our area’s environmental community through boutique pop-up picnics. Using what’s already to-go along the Suncoast’s spoiled coastline, find Sarasota Alfresco setups posted at secluded bayside sites, idyllic outdoor parks, campsites, and Sarasota-Manatee’s many beaches. Founder, event planner and creative director Jessica Chapman combines outdoor feng shui with luxury comfort. Taking advantage of the natural backgrounds of the Gulf, she then elevates the place with a dream setting and all the catering accessories for an unforgettable outing. “We take care of the details so you can relax on velvet pillows and watch the sunset with your loved ones,” says Jessica. Each package includes design and delivery of the setting: bunk mats, seat cushions, candles/lanterns, wooden coffee table(s) fully decorated with crockery, cutlery, glassware for water and wine, linen napkins, a tablecloth and/or table runners, a wooden letter board with your personalized message, still or sparkling water, dried flowers for a splash of color and a fragrant touch of fresh baby’s breath and eucalyptus for the centerpiece. A la carte additions put your event on a whole new playing field with upgrades like fresh fruit platters and pasture boards from Cheese & Charcuterie from Lakewood Ranch, gourmet cakes from Morton’s Gourmet Market, bar cart rattan for sparkling BYOB, personalized craft cocktail service and personal bartender, personal photographer, private yoga session, vintage lace teepee and more. sarasotaalfresco.com, @sarasotaalfresco.
Photo courtesy of GuestWings.
With a list of beautiful county, state and private campgrounds in the Tampa Bay area, experience glamping in an iconic Airstream trailer. GuestWings is an Airstream delivery service providing chrome units 24 feet long, 8 feet wide and 10 feet high. Each airflow is fully equipped inside with a high-end ready-to-sleep queen bed, full bathroom, towels, linens, TV, digital thermostat, power outlets, chargers USB, microwave and coffee maker meaning you and your company can have a good night’s sleep in a modern airstream for a budget hotel alternative. GuestWings will deliver to campsites within 75 miles of St. Pete, including ft. DeSoto, Hillsborough River State Park, Myakka State Park or Little Manatee River State Park. They do the towing, backing up and complete installation. gwestwings.com, @guestwingsfl.
In partnership with Florida State Parks, Fancy Camps offers luxury campsites and camping packages on Florida’s Gulf Coast and throughout the Sunshine State. Topsail Hill State Park hosts permanent Fancy Camps sites that can be reserved, but if campers have other Florida state park destinations in mind, that’s no problem. Each package includes a 16ft bell tent, queen bed with linens, throw rugs, end table and pads, heating/air conditioning unit, outdoor lighting, extra outlets to charge small electronics, chairs folding wooden chairs for outdoor seating, a picnic table and fire ring. Accessories like firewood, a camp stove, charcuterie boards, an entrance garland and a bouquet of wildflowers can be arranged to make this a very special experience to blow your SO’s hiking socks off. fancycamps.com, @fancycamps.