DESTINATIONS WITH STAYING POWER
If you're tired of sterile hotel rooms, try something a little more adventurous on your next trip by booking a unique Airbnb instead. Whether you want a desert tipi, a shipping-container prairie home, a swank Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, or a haunted Civil War farmhouse, there are fun and out-of-the-ordinary spaces across the country. Depending on where you stay the prices and amenities will vary, but one thing is for sure: You'll be in for an unforgettable stay.
HISTORIC SHOTGUN HOUSE
Narrow "shotgun" homes are a quintessential part of Southern architecture, and this one from 1866 has been lovingly restored. It sleeps four and has two bedrooms and bathrooms, 12-foot ceilings, a kitchen with steel countertops, a double-sided gas fireplace, flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi. Outside is a courtyard with a fountain, and downtown Mobile is within walking distance.
The sod roof of this unique log cabin is alive with native Alaskan plants, and the inside is pure rustic charm -- think wooden fish, bear pelts, and a log bed. A private bath is 15 feet away. Outside is the real attraction, though: Enjoy pristine lake and forest views, and Denali National Park with its stunning scenery is to the north.
VINTAGE 1965 TRAVEL TRAILER
Billed as an "urban glamping experience," this '60s trailer sleeps two and sits amid a working artists' space near downtown. The trailer has its own courtyard, an outdoor sink, and a private outdoor shower. Shared kitchen facilities are available, and there are artists' studios, a gallery, a coffee shop, and more.
If a vintage trailer isn't exotic enough, try this tiny house built around a 1964 Piper PA-28 Cherokee airplane. The space sleeps two and isn't large -- "just big enough for a bed and your stuff" -- but you'll be surrounded by colorful murals and have access to a bike to explore the nearby arts district. There is a shared outdoor shower and bathroom.
JOHN STEINBECK'S STUDIO
Pacific Grove, California
A charming retreat that was once John Steinbeck's writing space, this 1920s studio sleeps two guests and features plenty of original features, including pitched roofs, built-ins, and a gingerbread-cottage exterior. Cable TV and Wi-Fi are available, and the studio has a fully stocked kitchen, full bathroom, and dedicated patio.
ROMANTIC 100-YEAR-OLD TUGBOAT
Location, location, location: This 1908 tugboat is docked just a few miles from the Golden Gate Bridge in a lively Sausalito harbor. It sleeps three and includes a small kitchen and bathroom, but you'll probably spend most of the time on the deck, watching boats come and go. Nearby are shops, restaurants, and kayak rentals.
DESERT EXPERIENCE TIPI
This handcrafted Sioux tipi is surrounded by boulders and sits on 520 scenic desert acres north of Palm Springs and near Joshua Tree National Park. It sleeps up to six and has a fan in warmer months and a wood-burning stove for cooler weather. Other amenities include a natural pool, sauna, outdoor fire pit, and rustic communal kitchen.
FAIRYTALE GINGERBREAD HOUSE
This tiny, charming cottage looks like it was ripped straight from the pages of Hansel and Gretel. It sleeps two and features stained-glass windows, a thatched roof, a loft, and a wood-fired oven outside; nearby are a communal pool, sauna, hot tub, and bathroom. If you're more of a "Lord of the Rings" fan, check out the Hobbit Hut next door.
COZY STORYBOOK CASTLE
If you can't fly to England or Ireland to fulfill your castle dreams, this quaint Connecticut version is a worthy stand-in for up to six guests. Built in 1917, it has a modern kitchen, a large formal dining room, three themed bedrooms, and a stone porch (guarded by a knight, of course). Outside are gardens, a gazebo, and a pond.
'GLAMPING' TENT RETREAT
When you want to rough it just a little bit, "glamping" at this mountain ranch a half-hour from Aspen is the way to go. A large safari tent holds a California king bed for two guests. Outside is a large deck, and a bathroom and shower are a short walk away. The ranch also hosts plenty of livestock as well as working artists who have turned barn stalls into studios.
1880S CARRIAGE HOUSE
This converted carriage house is tucked away in the back garden of a historic Denver home. The stunning interior has exposed brick, reclaimed wood, leather furniture and a luxurious bath and kitchen. Cable and Wi-Fi are part of the deal, and it's just a short walk to craft breweries and restaurants. You can even take a free CrossFit class from the owner.
MAN CAVE APARTMENT/AIRPLANE HANGAR
Northeast of Orlando, this man cave in an airplane hangar that sleeps up to three guests has to be seen to be believed. There's a bar, fireplace, a full bathroom and plenty of eclectic décor and Americana on the walls. In the nearby garage, the owners work on classic cars, farm equipment, "and other manly things."
SECLUDED IN-TOWN TREEHOUSE
Airbnb's "most wished-for listing" in 2016 is only minutes from downtown Atlanta, but feels like a private retreat. There are three rooms connected by rope bridges: an antique-filled living room, a bedroom with organic linens, and a deck with a hammock. Note that there is no bathroom -- one is a short walk away, however.
This 1799 guest house with pine walls, floors and ceilings was used in the filming of a Robert Redford movie, "The Conspirator," and is just off Columbia Square in the heart of historic Savannah. Highlights include a Juliet balcony overlooking a private garden, antique furniture, a full kitchen and bathroom, and Wi-Fi.
TREEHOUSE AT KILAUEA VOLCANO
Five minutes from famous Kilauea and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, this custom-designed treehouse for two is in an old-growth rainforest, complete with stained-glass windows, two lanais, an outdoor shower, and a cedar hot tub. Amenities include a small kitchen, flat-screen TV, composting toilet, and fireplace.
DOG BARK PARK INN
Among the odder structures offered, this home is built to look like a giant dog -- a beagle, to be precise. It sleeps up to four and includes dog-themed books, games, and décor. A second-story deck affords great views of the prairie and stargazing at night, and, of course, canine companions are welcome.
UPSTAIRS OF OLD CREAMERY
Up to five people can have their run of this renovated creamery's top floor. The apartment features skylights, a balcony, two bedrooms, and a full bathroom. Guests also have access to a downstairs kitchen, and the yard is available for bonfires. Feel like getting married? The property owner is licensed to perform weddings.
BOURBON COUNTRY GETAWAY
This apartment for two is in a horse barn in Kentucky's rolling countryside, and offers a full bathroom, eat-in kitchen, and laundry room. Outside is a gas grill and porch for enjoying the peaceful scenery. Area attractions include the Maker's Mark distillery, wineries, golf courses, and plenty of horse farms, of course.
WINGS NECK LIGHTHOUSE
What could be more quintessentially New England than staying in a lighthouse? Bring friends: The attached keeper's home sleeps up to eight people in three bedrooms. There's an eat-in kitchen, a stone fireplace, and of course, sweeping views of the Atlantic from the lighthouse lantern room, accessed by an old spiral staircase.
SILO STUDIO COTTAGE
This former sculptor's studio on the Santarella Estate in Western Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains boasts a charming wood-clad exterior, a 35-foot ceiling and a gorgeous setting, complete with stone bridges, brooks, and a lily pond. The cottage sleeps two guests and has some nice amenities, including satellite TV and Wi-Fi.
This picture-perfect, updated 1900s farmhouse near Lake Michigan has three bedrooms and bathrooms for six guests and boasts a chef's kitchen, sauna with rain shower, radiant floor heat, Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV. Step outside to meet the free-range chickens, cook in an outdoor kitchen, or relax in a hammock.
Clear Lake, Minnesota
Climb the spiral staircase to a sleeping space for two in this real silo, northeast of Minneapolis. You'll even have a private bathroom and kitchenette, as well as a balcony overlooking a lake and 600 wooded acres. The farm below offers hiking, wetlands, and friendly livestock to visit.
HOME OF 'HAMMPING'
Park Hills, Missouri
Tucked away on 16 acres in the Ozarks, four waterproof hammock tents await for visitors who want to experience something truly different. Outside are traditional hammocks for lounging, lined sleeping bags and mattresses for those wanting a more traditional camping experience, a fire pit, camping chairs, and cooking equipment. A bathroom is a short walk away.
SHIPPING CONTAINER HOME
Billed as the "Little Box on the Prairie," this house is a 700-square-foot mashup of two shipping containers sitting on 10 acres in the rolling Montana countryside. It sleeps two to three and features a modern kitchen and bathroom, a flat-screen smart TV, redwood flooring, and an outdoor fire pit. The large deck also allows leisurely views of the Absaroka Mountains.
HISTORIC FIREHOUSE SUITE
Wilmington, North Carolina
This 1,700-square-foot suite on the second floor of a restored firehouse sleeps six in the thick of historic Wilmington. It includes a sparkling modern kitchen, large living and dining area, and two immaculate bedrooms. HGTV star Meg Caswell has a design shop downstairs, and guests can walk to shops and restaurants.
Taos, New Mexico
This "earthship" is a completely off-the-grid house -- it generates its own electricity, catches rainwater, and uses no fuel -- but it's also sleek and modern, with Wi-Fi, a smart TV, full kitchen and bathroom, and even a high-efficiency washing machine. It sleeps up to four and affords desert mesa views out the massive front windows.
Brooklyn, New York
This 2,400-square-foot stable conversion is a magazine-worthy stunner, with plenty of exposed brick, wood-beam ceilings, high windows, and an arched doorway. It sleeps up to six guests and has three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen, leather furniture, Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and even radiant under-floor heating. The subway is also just a block away.
LOWER EAST SIDE PENTHOUSE
New York City
Floor-to-ceiling windows? Check. Panoramic view of the city? Check. This penthouse sleeps eight and has it all, including a modern kitchen with stainless-steel appliances, a new bathroom, flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, and a balcony off the master bedroom. The skyline views include the iconic Freedom Tower and Chrysler Building.
CATSKILL MOUNTAIN SCHOOLHOUSE
Bovina Center, New York
This restored one-room schoolhouse down a quiet country road in the Catskills sleeps up to three guests and has loads of rustic appeal. Amenities include a small kitchen and a clawfoot tub, and nearby attractions include antique shops, skiing, and hiking. Peaceful mountain views await outside.
MUD HUT WITH BRIDGE VIEW
What better way to enjoy Portland's eco-friendly vibe than in a hand-built mud hut for two? It has a wood stove for heat but no electricity, so light a few candles after dusk. A full bathroom is available in the adjacent owner's home, and there's also a covered outdoor kitchen (complete with a four-tap kegerator). Enjoy views of the St. John's Bridge and proximity to canoeing and hiking.
THREE-STORY LOOKOUT TOWER
Designed to mimic a forest-fire lookout station, this tower sleeps up to four guests and offers panoramic views of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains in central Oregon. There is a reclaimed-lumber deck that wraps around the whole tower, a gas grill, an outdoor hot tub, and Wi-Fi. Nearby activities include golfing, rafting, fishing, and rock climbing.
RESTORED VINTAGE CABOOSE
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
This 1941 caboose has been retrofitted to provide a shower and toilet, dinette, and other modern amenities, but it still has plenty of retro charm to offer two guests. It's also next to the Castanea Railroad Station, and outside that is a kiosk where visitors can learn about local railway history.
HISTORIC CIVIL WAR FARMHOUSE
If you're fascinated by the Civil War, don't pass up the chance to stay in this farmhouse that was used as a field hospital after the Battle of Gettysburg. It sleeps four and has two bedrooms and a private bathroom, as well as a shared kitchen and family room. The owner says the place is haunted, but the ghosts "are all friendly."
UNIQUE ARTIST MIRRORED HOUSE
You won't miss this suburban Pittsburgh house that sleeps up to 10, which is covered in mirrors outside and in. Another highlight is a dizzying high-contrast patterned bathroom -- toilet included -- as well as a backyard garden with a pond. Amenities include a flat-screen TV, walk-in shower, and sunken tub.
FARM ON THE COAST
Saunderstown, Rhode Island
This charming guest suite is in a barn built during World War II as part of a model farm. It includes a private bathroom, a small refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, and Wi-Fi. You'll find horses in their original stables at the other end of the barn; other residents include chickens, a dog, a cat, and a rabbit. Newport and its Gilded Age mansions are just 15 minutes away.
Charleston, South Carolina
It may be a houseboat, but the 12-foot ceilings, large windows, and calming color scheme make this one anything but rustic. In fact, you'll even have a shower and full-size toilet, heat, and air-conditioning. Situated in a private marina slip, the boat also has views of Charleston Harbor and the Ravenel Bridge.
HORSE LOVERS' BLACK HILLS BUNKHOUSE
Hot Springs, South Dakota
This cozy cabin sleeps up to four and is on a working quarter horse ranch -- you can bring your own horses to stay, too, in corrals near the bunkhouse. Amenities include a small fridge, microwave, dining table, and porch. Nearby attractions abound, including Black Hills National Forest, Wind Cave National Park, and Evans Plunge Mineral Springs.
PRIVATE HISTORIC COTTAGE
This open-concept cottage for up to four guests has charm in spades: It's been given an Architectural Historical Preservation award. It also has an ideal location in hip East Nashville, walkable to shops and restaurants. There is a private entrance and patio, loft, kitchenette, and full bathroom.
SOUTH AUSTIN ATOMIC RANCH
This remodeled mid-century ranch sleeps up to eight and encapsulates Austin's funky vibe. It has a retro red kitchen, a bar made of pennies, and a "dinos vs. cowboys" living room, not to mention Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, surround sound, an outdoor grill, and a patio. It's also just a couple of miles from downtown.
OFF-GRID ADOBE DOME IN THE DESERT
This solar-powered hideaway in far west Texas rests in the desert near Big Bend National Park. It sleeps up to three, and while there is a working kitchen and even Wi-Fi, there is no shower, and the composting toilet is in an outhouse outside. The biggest attraction might be the starry skies, since there is a dark-sky ordinance that limits light pollution.
'FIXER UPPER' HARP HOUSE
One of several HGTV "Fixer Upper" renovations that have popped up on rental sites, the five-bedroom Harp House is a must for any die-hard fan of the show. It sleeps up to 12 people and boasts high ceilings, exposed beams, and a gourmet kitchen. For true fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines, it's also only a mile from Magnolia Silos.
Just minutes from Shenandoah National Park, this rustic yurt in the Blue Ridge Mountains sleeps six and has a full kitchen, bathroom, gas grill, and fire pit. Outside are a shared hot tub and a saltwater pool. It's on a sustainable farm, so visitors can make friends with goats, chickens, and other livestock.
GEORGE WASHINGTON STOPOVER
St. Stephens Church, Virginia
History lovers won't be able to resist this historic farmhouse northeast of Richmond. Built in 1760, it sleeps up to six and reportedly hosted George Washington while he was traveling from Washington to Williamsburg. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a fireplace. Outside, relax while watching horses in the pastures and geese in the farm's pond.
Built into a mountainside in the Columbia River Gorge, this Hobbit-style cozy getaway for two has a charming round doorway, stone fireplace, carved wooden sink, inviting tub, and breathtaking views from the patio. Note that there's a short, steep hike from the parking area, and four-wheel drives are necessary in the winter.
DOME OF YOUR DREAMS
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
The last time you heard about a geodesic dome may have been geometry class, but now's your chance to sleep in one. It sleeps up to 10 and sits on two wooded acres. Features include 25-foot ceilings, a spiral staircase, a full kitchen, and a wrap-around porch. Just a few miles away, Harpers Ferry offers plenty of history, hiking, rafting, and tubing.
COZY SCHOOL BUS CONVERSION
Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Relive those bus rides to school with a stay in this unique converted bus on a country road in West Virginia. It can accommodate up to three guests and has a full bed and sofa, a wood stove, and a hammock and tree swing just outside. Guests can use the bathroom and kitchen in the owner's nearby home.
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT'S SCHWARTZ HOUSE
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Calling all architecture buffs: This Frank Lloyd Wright home, otherwise known as Still Bend, was designed in 1938 and sits on a marsh on the edge of Lake Michigan. It has four bedrooms for up to eight people. Highlights include the dramatic, 63-foot-long living room, three fireplaces, loads of interior brick and cypress, and Wright's signature built-in furniture.
FULLY RESTORED 1920S SHEEP WAGON
Shirley Basin, Wyoming
It's rustic and a bit cramped, but if you ever played "Oregon Trail" as a kid, this sheep wagon on a 30,000-acre Wyoming ranch is a must. Outside, you can hike, bike, fish, hunt, stargaze, and visit with livestock. The wagon sleeps four and has cold boxes, a wood-burning stove/oven, and a pull-out table. For lights or power, you'll need to bring your own generator.
CONVERTED COVERED BRIDGE
Nevada City, California
This HGTV-featured converted covered bridge house in California's gold country is a stunner, with wood beams, high ceilings, exposed pipes, and modern style galore. The guest suite sleeps two and has one bedroom with a bathroom, a private patio, Wi-Fi, and hosts who provide fruit and muffins for breakfast. Hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and loads of other outdoor activities are nearby.
COTTAGE AT WINCHESTER MANOR
New Market, Alabama
Small but packed with personality, this 100-year-old cottage sleeps two and sits on a property that has served as a post office, jail, doctor's office, and antique store. The open-concept space has a kitchenette, full bathroom, flat-screen TV, and courtyard access. Guests are less than 15 miles from Huntsville, and a country restaurant is a quick walk across the street.