Restored 1909 Train Car: Make It Train
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Historic Vacation Rentals Across America

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Restored 1909 Train Car: Make It Train
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History Sleeps Here

Hotels and motels are all well and good, but they're just so… bland (okay, maybe some aren't so bad). If you're looking for a memorable place to stay during your next vacation, consider a short-term rental in a historic structure instead. From Civil War-era farmhouses to midcentury marvels and more, you can find a unique place to stay with a pedigree no hotel or motel can match.


Related: 20 Best Winter Home Rentals in America

Lindsey Luxe
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Lindsey Luxe

Palm Springs, California | Sleeps 6
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Enjoy a swingin' midcentury getaway in this 1958 ranch home designed by noted California architect William Krisel, whose iconic work can be found throughout Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and San Diego. This three-bed, three-bath home also has a heated pool in the backyard.


Related: Most Luxurious Vacation Rentals in Every State

Lindsey Luxe: Stay a While
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Lindsey Luxe: Stay a While

This home is available for long-term rentals only. Currently, it's booked through mid-June. The good news is that Palm Springs is littered with midcentury gems like these available for vacation rentals.

Still Bend/Frank Lloyd Wright's Schwartz House
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Still Bend/Frank Lloyd Wright's Schwartz House

Two Rivers, Wisconsin | Sleeps 6
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Speaking of architectural gems, it's hard to find a more historic or iconic residence you can rent than this Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home built in 1938. It has four bedrooms and three baths. 


Related: 31 Historic Places Across America That You Can Tour Virtually

Still Bend: Dream Home Vacation
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Still Bend: Dream Home Vacation

Wright designed this home — on the banks of the East Twin River — as a prototypical "dream home" for the masses, something he initially proposed in Life Magazine. Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been featured on the Travel Channel's "Amazing Vacation Homes."

Lucy the Elephant
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Lucy the Elephant

Margate, New Jersey | Sleeps 2
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This Jersey Shore icon was built in 1881 and has served as an office, restaurant, residence, and tourist attraction. Today, it's a vacation rental for two, with spacious sleeping and living areas decked out in Victorian style, plus a commanding view of the Atlantic Ocean from the deck-like howdah atop Lucy's back.


Related: 40 Iconic and Beautiful Boardwalks in the Country

Lucy the Elephant: Surviving Strife
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Lucy the Elephant: Surviving Strife

After falling into disrepair in the 1960s, community members raised money to restore the structure and move it to its present location. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and has survived being struck by lightning in 2006 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The Barn at Schon Stein Farm & Vineyard
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The Barn at Schon Stein Farm & Vineyard

Hermann, Missouri | Sleeps 4
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Built some 170 years ago, this stone barn — which once housed a wine press — is located in the heart of the Missouri River Valley wine country. There is a queen bed in the upstairs bedroom, plus a full-sized bed downstairs.


Related: 50 Amazing Airbnbs and Vrbos Across the Country

The Barn at Schon Stein Farm & Vineyard: A Roomy Porch
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The Barn at Schon Stein Farm & Vineyard: A Roomy Porch

If you need room for more than four people, you can also rent the nearby Old House on the farm property. The 165-year-old home sleeps five, with a spacious outdoor porch.


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John Steinbeck's Writer's Studio
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John Steinbeck's Writer's Studio

Pacific Grove, California | Sleeps 2
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Writer John Steinbeck owned this cozy 350-square-foot cabin in the 1940s. It has one small bedroom, plus a kitchen and living area, as well as garden access. The owners of the studio require a 30-day minimum stay.


Related: 40 Famous People's Homes You Can Visit

John Steinbeck's Writer's Studio
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John Steinbeck's Writer's Studio: Steinbeck Connection

Steinbeck, who used the 1920s-era building as a studio while writing "Sea of Cortez," mentioned this house in a letter he later included in his autobiography, "A Life in Letters." 

Historic Paris Livery
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Colville Bridge in Bourbon County, Kentucky near Millersburg.

Historic Paris Livery: Covered Bridge Adjacent

There are a dozen historic covered bridges in Kentucky, most of which are within an easy drive of an hour or two. The closest is the Colville Covered Bridge, built in 1877 in Millersburg.

Salmon River Lighthouse
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Salmon River Lighthouse

Pulaski, New York | Sleeps 8
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This lighthouse, built in 1838, stands at the mouth of the Salmon River where it meets Lake Ontario. Accommodations include three bedrooms with double beds, and the marina is literally steps away.


Related: The Best Lakes in All 50 States

Salmon River Lighthouse: Salmon Runs
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Salmon River Lighthouse: Salmon Runs

Anglers take notice: the Salmon River is noted for its fishing, particularly for brown and steelhead trout and (you guessed it) king, coho, and Atlantic salmon. Fishing guides can be hired locally.

Historic Civil War Farmhouse
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Historic Civil War Farmhouse

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania | Sleeps 4
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The David Stewart farmhouse served as a field hospital in the wake of the bloody Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Today, it is a private residence; the owner lives on the first floor and rents the two upstairs bedrooms and adjoining bath to guests.


Related: 30 Under-the-Radar Road Trips You Can Take in a Day

Historic Civil War Farmhouse: Pets and Ghosts Welcome
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Historic Civil War Farmhouse: Pets and Ghosts Welcome

Visitors must like pets, the owner says; she has six of them. A tolerance for ghosts is also a must. "Yes, the house is haunted, but they are all friendly! I have been here for 36 years and have lots of interesting stories that I'd be happy to share with you if you are interested," host Stephani notes on the rental site.

1842 Bavarian Brew House
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1842 Bavarian Brew House

Galena, Illinois | Sleeps 6
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Another historic option for a Galena getaway is this home built in 1842 by a German immigrant named Peter Sprecht, who operated a brewery and tavern in the cellar.


Related: 12 Small Towns Known for Being LGBTQ-Friendly

1842 Bavarian Brew House: Get in the Cellar
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1842 Bavarian Brew House: Get in the Cellar

Guests have access to the entire three-bedroom home, which was renovated in 2008, including the cellar, which retains its sloped stone walls and brick floors.

Historic District Garden Apartment at Forsyth Park
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Historic District Garden Apartment at Forsyth Park

Savannah, Georgia | Sleeps 4
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This brick townhouse dates to 1872. The restored garden unit features a queen-sized bed in the bedroom, a separate kitchen and living area, and access to the home's courtyard and fire pit.


Related: The Most Romantic Place in Every State

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia
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Historic District Garden Apartment at Forsyth Park: Fountain Photo Op

Savannah's Forsyth Park is the city's oldest, dating to the early 1850s, and this apartment is just a couple blocks away. Take a stroll and pause to admire the park's iconic fountain, one of the city's most photographed landmarks.

Historic Civil War Farmhouse
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401 Madison

Galena, Illinois | Sleeps 10
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Located on the Galena River, this historic town was once home to Ulysses S. Grant. Today, it's a mecca for tourists who love antiques and 19th-century architecture, including this former schoolhouse built in 1891. Guests have access to the entire three-story structure, which is available for long-term rentals.


Related: The Most Beautiful Main Streets in Every State

Historic Civil War Farmhouse: Pets and Ghosts Welcome
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401 Madison: Modern History Meets Luxury

The main floor features 12-foot ceilings, a large sofa sectional facing a wood-burning fireplace, plus a wet bar and raised work area. The renovated cellar contains a gourmet kitchen, another fireplace, and a sunroom leading to the landscaped yard with hot tub, grill, and koi pond.

The Depot B & B
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The Depot B & B

Champaign, Illinois | Sleeps 5
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Built in 1857, this restored rail depot is now a bed and breakfast. You'll find a California king bed in the skylit upstairs loft, plus a second sleeping area, living space, and kitchen downstairs. 


Related: 50 Stunning Photos of Historic Train Stations Across America

The Depot B & B: Friendly Neighbors
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The Depot B & B: Friendly Neighbors

There's room to relax outside, too, including a pet-friendly fenced-in yard and private patio. If you need anything, the owners live in the adjacent home.

The Historic Florsheim Mansion
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The Historic Florsheim Mansion

Chicago | Sleeps 11
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This art deco architectural gem, built in 1938, was home to Lillian Florsheim, an artist, sculptor, and socialite. Stay in the three-bedroom main house or the two-bedroom guest house, then meet for breakfast in the shared kitchen.


Related: One of Chicago's Best Seafood Restaurants Is Open for Takeout

The Historic Florsheim Mansion: Koi Party
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The Historic Florsheim Mansion: Koi Party

If the weather's nice, take your coffee to the garden, which overlooks a tranquil koi pond. Feeling festive? The mansion is also available for events of up to 50 people.

The Zelda Suite
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The Zelda Suite

Montgomery, Alabama | Sleeps 4
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This 1910 home was once occupied by F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. Today, the lower floor is a museum dedicated to the Jazz Age couple, with a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor available as a vacation rental. A second unit, the Scott Suite, is also available for rent.


Related: Historic Hotels in Every State

The Zelda Suite: Great Scott
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The Zelda Suite: Great Scott

F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda spent the winter of 1931-32 in Montgomery, her hometown, after returning from Europe. Both of them were working on novels that would be published in the coming years: Scott's "Tender is the Night" and Zelda's "Save Me the Waltz."

Sonny and Cher's Former Home
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Sonny and Cher's Former Home

Los Angeles | Sleeps 5
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Built in 1954 and once home to entertainers Sonny and Cher, this one-bedroom Lake Hollywood bungalow has a commanding view of the San Fernando Valley. The Hollywood Reservoir and Lake Hollywood Park are a 5-minute walk.


Related: 21 Famous Movie Homes That Will Bring Back Memories

Sonny and Cher's Former Home: You've Got History, Babe
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Sonny and Cher's Former Home: You've Got History, Babe

The home was designed by Greta Grossman, a Swedish-born architect, furniture designer, and interior designer who lived and worked in Los Angeles.

Thorstein Veblen Farm National Historic Landmark
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Thorstein Veblen Farm National Historic Landmark

Nerstrand, Minnesota | Sleeps 2
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Spend the night at this working farm, which dates to 1867, in one of three bedrooms on the second floor (the bathroom is shared). The host promises: "The cookies are always fresh-baked, breakfast is delicious, and the coffee is fantastic!"

Thorstein Veblen Farm: Floral Fun
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Thorstein Veblen Farm: Floral Fun

Today a flower farm, the property was the boyhood home of Thorstein Veblen, a noted sociologist and economist during the Progressive Era of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The property is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Historic Icehouse in 980 Acres Private Wilderness
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Historic Icehouse in 980 Acres Private Wilderness

Upper Jay, New York | Sleeps 6
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This 19th-century structure was built to store blocks of ice, harvested from nearby waters, during the summertime. Today, it's a two-bedroom guest house with a full kitchen, a grill and fire pit outside.

Historic Icehouse: Great Outdoors Adventures
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Historic Icehouse: Great Outdoors Adventures

This family-friendly rental is perfect for outdoor adventures. Guests have access to the entire 980-acre compound for hiking, and you'll find more outdoor adventures in the surrounding Adirondack Mountains and nearby Lake Placid.

Restored 1909 Train Car on 145 Acres
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Restored 1909 Train Car on 145 Acres

Deary, Idaho | Sleeps 4
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Once owned by the Washington, Idaho, and Montana Railway, this rail car has been lovingly restored into a unique guest house with a bedroom, living area, kitchenette, and a wraparound porch.


Related: Creative Conversions of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Restored 1909 Train Car: Make It Train
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Restored 1909 Train Car: Make It Train

Rail car 306 was built in 1909 by the American Car and Foundry Company. The Washington, Idaho, and Montana Railway used the car until 1955. In later years, it was used to store cattle feed (among other indignities) before the current owners restored it in 2020.