“I’m looking for somewhere close I can camp for the weekend, take it easy, maybe with some water for my dog to play in,” said a friend.

I knew just the place, because I’d been there the weekend before: Getaway St. Francois in Bloomsdale, Missouri. About 60 minutes south of St. Louis, the new camping outpost unfurls along a low ridge with scenic forest views and a hiking trail that follows a winding stream. “It’s perfect for you,” I said to my friend.

The simplicity of the Getaway model is what sets it apart. The entire experience is built around ease and comfort, from the online reservation process (just like choosing a hotel room) to the accommodations themselves. Each Getaway site includes its own tiny cabin and everything you need for a fast escape: a queen bed or bunks, two-burner stove, mini-fridge, sink, toilet, shower, heat/AC, fire pit, housewares — right down to an activity guide, nature therapy books, and s’mores kit.

Getaway St. Francois

I pulled up with a bag of groceries and a duffel containing two days’ worth of clothes. Blessing or curse, Wi-Fi was spotty, so I put my phone in the lockbox, turned up the radio, made a fire, and grilled burgers on my first night there. The next day, I drove 25 minutes to St. Joe State Park, where I rode my mountain bike and then swam in the lake. On the way back, I stopped for a beer at Doris Bar & Grill (five minutes from the outpost) and picked up a few items at Jake’s Express Gas & Deli next door.

St. Francois State Park and the Mine at Bonne Terre are about 30 minutes away, but I decided to explore the on-site hiking trail before leaving the next day; it was short (a mile or two) and sweet, just like my stay at Getaway St. Francois. I recommend the outpost to anyone seeking a quick, no-fuss reconnection with nature — with a little built-in pampering thrown in.

Getaway St. Francois

Cabins start at $109 per night, but rates vary by location, seasonality, and availability. Book your trip at getaway.house.

Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine.