Photo courtesy of Sarasota Glamping

What better way to immerse yourself in the life of a region, to explore hidden corners and appreciate the natural nuances of a place while enjoying the benefits and enormous satisfaction of traveling under your own power? These are on-the-road experiences you cannot have behind the wheel of a sedan, or on a train or a tour bus. Active travel is, at its heart, a way of connecting more authentically with the outdoors while not giving up some of the luxury comforts and amenities of indoor accommodations. These local services bring you the transient and adventurous side of travel so you can discover the great open road, or campground, on your own terms and in style. Planes and hotels continue to take a backseat (pun intended); we plan to keep getting closer to nature by not just simply witnessing it, but living in it.

Photos courtesy of Suncoast Vans

Suncoast Vans

Nomad couple Rob and Stephanie Jaramillo quit their unfulfilling 9-5 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 how to build and design this unique space on wheels. “These months were filled with ups and downs, as we took on new challenges every day, pouring our hearts and souls into the craft,” Stephanie says. “When complete, we hit the road and traveled across 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 sustainable living and ignited our passion for van building.” Having had so much fun creating their first home together, the couple decided to help others begin their own adventures with custom-built vans, designed for their personality, lifestyle and trip(s) planned. Rob and Stephanie source the vans for you and typically work with Ford Transits and Ram ProMasters. On average, a Suncoast Van takes about six to eight weeks to complete, with all of the work done out of their local shop. Features from high-end custom cabinetry, extensive solar and electrical systems, professional plumbing and everything in between, are all custom crafted for each different van. “Our clients love our modern style farmhouse builds and it is a style we get most requested,” says Stephanie. “They use these vans to adventure on the weekends and travel to national parks all over the country.” Fully booked for 2021, but now accepting inquiries for 2022., @suncoastvans. 

Photo courtesy of Sarasota Glamping

Our Van Quest / Sarasota Glamping

Camping is cool and all, but take it next level with a glampout at a campground in these luxury tent set-ups. Sarasota Glamping takes the hassle out of setting up and breaking down with their 13-foot canvas bell tents which they stage with stylish furniture and decor—including a queen bed and linens, boho design elements including area rugs, fresh flowers, end tables with lighting and a cozy seating area. After Gianna came back to Sarasota after building out and living on the road with her husband and children in their converted sprinter van, and then a school bus converted to a tiny home on wheels, the family decided to help others live nomadically through individual and family coaching from home-life to life-on-the-road., @ourvanquest. 

In addition, 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 adventurists like herself, but ones who crave the cush amenities that come along with the luxury comforts of home or a hotel. Just reserve the campsite or green space and she’ll do the rest. Setting up a giant canvas bell tent, Gianna will fill the yurt-like space with furnishings, linens and decor reminiscent of Joshua Tree or Sedona—even bringing a fire pit with wood, a gourmet s’more kit, flashlight and deck of cards for a real-deal night under the stars. Official launch expected November 2021., @sarasotaglamping.

Photo taken by Wyatt Kostygan

Sarasota Alfresco

Playing with bohemian-clad decor, fringe umbrellas, woven area rugs, cozy throw pillows, cane serving platters, rattan lantern holders, jute ottomans, fresh florals and wooden farmhouse tables covered in colorful place settings, Sarasota Alfresco engages the environmental milieus of our area via boutique pop-up picnics. Using what’s already for the taking along the spoiled seaboard of the Suncoast, find Sarasota Alfresco setups posted on secluded bayfront settings, idyllic outdoor parks, campsites and the many beaches of Sarasota-Manatee. Founder, Event Planner and Creative Director Jessica Chapman combines outdoor feng shui and luxury comfort. Taking advantage of the Gulf’s natural backgrounds, she then elevates the venue with dreamy decor and all the dining accoutrements for an unforgettable outing. “We take care of the details so you can relax on velvet pillows and take in the sunset with your loved ones,” says Jessica. Built into each package includes the design and delivery of the setting: layered rugs, seat pillows, candles/lanterns, low wooden table(s) fully decorated with dinnerware, flatware, glassware for water and wine, linen napkins, table cloth and/or table runners, a wooden letter board with your custom message, still or sparkling water, dry flowers for a pop of color and a fragrant splash of fresh baby’s breath and eucalyptus for the table centerpiece. A là carte add-ons put your event on a whole other playing field with upgrades such as fresh fruit platters and grazing boards by Cheese & Charcuterie out of Lakewood Ranch, gourmet cakes from Morton’s Gourmet Market, a rattan bar cart for BYOB bubbly, custom craft cocktail service and personal bartender, a personal photographer, a private yoga session, a vintage lace tee-pee and more., @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 chromed-out, 24-feet long, 8-feet wide and 10-feet high units. Each airstream is fully-equipped inside with a premium queen size bed ready for sleeping, a complete bathroom, towels, linens, TV, digital thermostat, power outlets, USB chargers, microwave and a coffee maker, which means you and company can have a tight night’s sleep in a modern airstream for a thrifty hotel alternative. GuestWings will deliver to camping sites 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, the backing in and the complete set-up., @guestwingsfl.

Fancy Camps

Partnering with Florida State Parks, Fancy Camps provides luxury-style campsites and camping packages up and down Florida’s Gulf Coast and throughout the Sunshine State. Topsail Hill State Park hosts permanent Fancy Camps sites that can be booked, but if campers have other Florida state park destinations in mind, bo problem. Each package includes a 16-foot bell tent, queen bed with linens, area rugs, end table and tamps, heating/cooling unit, exterior lighting, extra outlets to charge small electronics, wood-folding chairs to sit outside, a picnic table and fire ring. Add-ons like firewood, a camp stove, charcuterie boards, entryway garland and a wild flower bouquet can be arranged to make it an extra-special experience to blow the hiking socks of your S.O., @fancycamps.