Looking to elevate your next camping trip? Imagine camping in the treetops, being cradled asleep in the arms of a strong oak, then waking up to a red cardinal perched outside your window. Like the cardinal, you too have a bird’s eye view of the landscape. The Cannaley Treehouse Village in Northwest Ohio offers campers a chance to swap their typical ground-level accommodations for loftier climbs.

All types of tree camping

Part of Metroparks Toledo, the Treehouse Village offers all types of tree camping, with four treehouses and three tent/hammock platforms, along with a crow’s nest and large common treehouse (for day use only). Canopy walks, hanging nets and a wooden boardwalk connect the whimsical areas reminiscent of the Swiss Family Robinson’s abode. The innovative design was inspired by the genius of Pete Nelson, well-known for his Animal Planet Show, Treehouse Masters.

One of 200 “Last Great Places on Earth.”

The village is also part of Oak Openings Metropark, which contains a fascinating ecosystem of moving sand dunes, rare flora and fauna. The Nature Conservancy named this region one of the 200 “Last Great Places on Earth.” After the last ice age, early pioneers trudged through the “Black Swamp” and were finally greeted with open prairie and sand (where a beach once existed). Today, visitors hike through these unique ecosystems where spring warblers and summer tanagers can be spotted as well as Pileated Woodpeckers, hawks and owls. Hikers may find rare butterflies, wild orchid varieties or prickly pear cactus in the sandy dunes in this natural playground. 

Beach Ridge Mountain Bike Trail

Surrounding the treehouse village, adventure awaits–the Beach Ridge Mountain Bike Trail has 12 miles of challenges for all skills. One of the treehouses, the Hub, is a mountain biker’s dream. Equipped with a wooden ramp that leads directly from the treehouse door to the mountain bike path, the Hub sleeps four. Comfortable sofas with a bike tire chandelier overhead and bike gear lights over the bed are playful touches in this beautiful space.   

The Stable, the next largest cabin, offers three bedrooms (with one upstairs in a loft), a large living area and a bathroom. So, no need to climb the stairs to go to the bathhouse near the community fire pit. Saddles, horseshoes and rope décor make this space an equine paradise. Outside, a built-in rope hammock, looking strong enough to hold a horse, can support all your treetop lounging. 

A cozy, yet bright little treehouse, the Nest, is instantly recognizable with a twig-like balcony and hand-crafted cardinal (Ohio’s state bird) perched outside. Inside, one bed is downstairs, while the second is a climb and really looks like a nest! References to the Mud Hens, Toledo’s Minor League Baseball team, and a huge, bright yellow bird, affectionately called, “Muddy,” pay homage to the Toledo baseball mascot. 

Named for a spider’s string of silk!

The Dragline is named for a spider’s string of silk, with cool climbing features and an outdoor hammock net. The light-filled, two-person cabin is beautiful. Outside, a screened-in porch and wraparound deck offer 360-degree aerial views. In fact, all the treehouses have screened in porches and decks. 

Other camping options include bringing your own hammock (or you can rent one from the park) to sleep elevated in the Drey (a drey is the name for a squirrel’s nest), or you can tent camp high up nestled in the Den. For the camping adventurer, the Lair is a multi-tiered campsite with climbing nets and a built-in hammock for the ultimate in treetop camping. 

Cannaley Treehouse campers can also combine a stay with adventure. On-site tree climbing, mountain biking and hiking with the Metropark staff are optional activities. Arrange ahead of time to shuttle to the nearby Maumee River kayak launch for a self-guided tour. Planning ahead is key for a stay, as these trees fill up fast. 

Where to Camp in the Trees

Cannaley Treehouse Village
Oak Openings Region, Metroparks Toledo, Swanton, Ohio
419-407-9723; metroparkstoledo.com/discover/cannaley-treehouse-village

Out’n’About Treehouse Treesort
Cave Junction, Oregon541-592-2208; treehouses.com

Treehouses set on 36 private acres of pasture and woods, a Morgan Horse-breeding ranch and riding stables.

EarthJOY Tree Adventures

Brooksville, Kentucky
859-635-0320; earthjoyvilliage.com

Tree climbing and treehouse rentals with more than 200 acres to explore.

Treebones Resort
South Big Sur, California877-424-4787; treebonesresort.com

Hike-in sites with views of Big Sur. Sleep in an elevated twig nest while falling asleep to sounds of the waves. 

This article “Camping in the Treetops” by Sarah Miller was originally published in Girl Camper Magazine.

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