I slept in a lifeguard tower overlooking the Florida Everglades and was surprised it only cost $100 on Airbnb

I slept in a lifeguard tower overlooking the Florida Everglades and was surprised it only cost $100 on Airbnb
Side by side photos show the author and the tower
The author stayed in a lifeguard tower in South Miami-Dade Marina in Florida, and she thought it was a refreshingly budget-friendly getaway.Joey Hadden/Insider
  • I recently spent a night in a funky lifeguard tower I found on Airbnb, and it was a glamper's dream.

  • For $100 a night, I got a small room with a comfy bed and sweeping views of the Florida Everglades.

  • I hadn't thought to book unique glamping trips on Airbnb before, but it was so fun, I'd do it again.

For $100, I stayed in a unique lifeguard tower I found on Airbnb, where I got a comfy bed, stunning views of the Florida Everglades and Manatee Bay, and easy access to nature.

The author is seen on the towers porch
The author sits outside of the lifeguard tower.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Airbnb

There are certainly more glamorous and expensive ways to go glamping — you could pay several hundred dollars for luxury glamping accommodations, Insider reports.

A mosquito net around a bed in a luxurious safari camp tent.
A glamping accommodation in Northern Botswana.Jason Edwards/Getty Images

Source: Insider

Glamping offers an ideal compromise for those who want to camp without actually sleeping on the ground, Insider reports.

bedroom inside of a luxury camp on the Sri Lankan highlands - stock photo
A glamping accommodation on the Sri Lankan highlands.Cavan Images/Getty Images

Source: Insider

But I never previously thought that Airbnb would be a great way to find such a unique, budget-friendly glamping experience. Now that I know, I plan to do it again.

Left: A view of a red, white, and blue lifeguard tower Right: The author inside the tower with windows behind her
The author is seen at the lifeguard tower.Joey Hadden/Insider

On my way to the tower located at South Miami-Dade Marina, my host texted me to bring bottled water because the water on-site is suitable for showering, but not drinking.

A view of the highway outside of the property
A view of the highway leading to the accommodation.Joey Hadden/Insider

My lifeguard tower was one of three available to rent inside a marina, all of which were originally used on South Beach in Miami. The towers were relocated next to a dock that I thought felt secluded and secure, behind a locking gate.

A view of the outside of the property
The property where the tower is located is behind a locked gate.Joey Hadden/Insider

Source: Airbnb

The location made me feel the sweet isolation of camping without having to fear for my safety as a solo traveler. Plus, I was able to sleep next to manatees, according to a sign posted near a boat ramp.

The boat ramp has a sign that says to watch for manatees
The boat ramp has a sign that says to watch for manatees.Joey Hadden/Insider

As part of my stay, I had access to a shared bathroom in a small, yellow building near the front of the property. I only ran into one other guest when I arrived and was otherwise greeted by cats and chickens that freely roamed the property.

A view of the bathroom and chickens and a cat with trees nearby
The bathroom is seen on the left.Joey Hadden/Insider

A few yards away, my host directed me to my lifeguard tower — a red, white, and blue one.

The lifeguard tower is red white and blue on a cloudy day
A view from below the lifeguard tower.Joey Hadden/Insider

There was another tower to rent next to it. It was painted in vibrant hues and the turquoise and yellow kept catching my eye.

Another lifeguard tower is seen by the dock on a cloudy day
A view of the neighboring tower next to the dock.Joey Hadden/Insider

After taking a walk around my starred and striped tower, I thought it looked like a pretty cool place to hang out.

Side by side photos show the outside of the tower on a cloudy day
The tower is seen from different angles.Joey Hadden/Insider

I sat up on the porch overlooking the dock, the boats, and the Florida Everglades and felt so peaceful that I forgot I was just yards away from a highway.

A boat at a dock on a cloudy day
A view of the dock from the top of the tower.Joey Hadden/Insider

Inside, the tower seemed to me to be about 100 square feet with all the basics I needed including a bed, air conditioning, towels, and simple decor.

Side by side photos show the tower's features
The tower had air conditioning, towels, and minimal decor.Joey Hadden/Insider

I was grateful for two sets of outlets next to the queen-size bed, which I thought was firm with a slight give. One of the outlets had two USB ports as well. I was able to charge all of my devices at the same time, which is a luxury when camping.

The author sits on the queen-sized bed and an arrow points to the outlets on the wall
The author sits on a queen-size bed.Joey Hadden/Insider

On the ceiling, stringed lights were my only source of light in the tower. I thought it might bother me at night, but instead, I felt it just added to a cozy glamping vibe.

Wood lit panels are seen on the ceiling
String lights are seen on the ceiling.Joey Hadden/Insider

My tower came with wide windows on three sides, which made me feel like I was sleeping outside, but with the comforts of the indoors.

The inside of the tower shows wall-to-wall windows
The marina is seen through windows from inside the tower.Joey Hadden/Insider

When I wanted privacy, I could push wooden shutters up over the windows and pull them back down again.

A blue arrow points from the shutters of the tower up to the windows. Another tower is seen in the background on a cloudy day
The wooden shutters can be pushed up or pulled down.Joey Hadden/Insider

My host warned me that the bugs came out at dusk and dawn and advised that I only go outside during those times with covered legs. I decided to skip the bug bites and stay inside.

A view down the tower stairs
A view from the top of the tower shows the staircase leading up to itJoey Hadden/Insider

I thought I had the perfect view of the sun setting indoors anyway. The windows were high, so I sat on a stool —the only chair in the room — and took it all in.

A view of the sunset from inside the tower
A view of the sunset from inside the towerJoey Hadden/Insider

The high stool felt like an intentional choice, and I appreciated it, especially since it was my favorite color, orange.

An orange stool is next to a wooden side table with plant on it
The stool was next to a table holding a fake plant.Joey Hadden/Insider

When the sun set, I ran into some cats on my way to the bathroom, where I took a quick shower and brushed my teeth. Since I felt like I was camping, I thought it was a nice bonus to have somewhere to get cleaned up.

Side by side photos show the bathroom sink, mirror, and shower
The author brushes her teeth in the bathroom.Joey Hadden/Insider

There was a full moon that night, and I could see it lighting up the clouds from my bed. I thought that on a clearer night, I'd probably be able to see some stars, and maybe even some animals.

Side by side photos show the outside of the tower at night and during sunrise
A view outside the tower at night and in the morning.Joey Hadden/Insider

I could see the sun rise and set from all angles thanks to the windows that wrapped around the tower. It was my favorite part of the whole experience.

A view of the sunset from inside the tower
A view of the sun rising from inside the tower.Joey Hadden/Insider

I thought the bed was comfortable, and I woke up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day.

The author takes a selfie in the tower
The author takes a selfie in the morning.Joey Hadden/Insider

On my way out, I noticed a kayak, which I had access to during my stay, but unfortunately didn't have time to use.

A view of the lot during sunrise
A view of the property as the author leaves in the morning.Joey Hadden/Insider

As I locked up and headed off to my next adventure, I was surprised at how much more relaxed I felt after just 15 hours in this Airbnb. I can't wait to glamp on Airbnb again.

Side by side photos show the author leaving
The author locks the gate and exits the property.Joey Hadden/Insider

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