I’m a major travel junkie. I love to just jump in my car (or on an airplane) and end up somewhere awesome in a few hours with very little long-term planning. However, I’m not a fan of huge hotels which always seem to come with huge taxes and fees. Thus began my love affair with Airbnb. Not only can you rent an entire house brimming with thoughtful, homey touches and amenities for the same price as your average hotel room, it now offers a plethora of bizarre yet awesome properties you never dreamed of having the chance of experiencing. Curious about haunted castles in Russia? Bring your toothbrush! Always wanted to live like a hobbit? There are actually several shire-like options on the menu. While eccentric places are plentiful on Airbnb, these are the ones that make my personal bucket list.
1. Tree house in Atlanta
Ever wanted your own tricked out treehouse as a kid? Well, now you can make that dream come true as an adult in this ethereal masterpiece located in Atlanta, Georgia. Actually a group of three tree houses connected by rope bridges, this property is “often described as being the most relaxing, romantic, dreamy and unique place you’ll ever stay. What could be better than falling asleep in the trees and waking up to birds singing around you — all within the city limits?” I don’t know. I really can’t think of anything looking at this place that was obviously built for fairies.
2. Boathouse in Amsterdam
No, your eyes do not deceive you. That beautiful freestanding fireplace is on a boat that you could stay on for an indefinite amount of time! And what better place to do that than in a city dominated by waterways? This Amsterdam boathouse comes equipped with two bedrooms, one with a kingsize bed (seriously) and all the comforts of home including Wi-Fi and a jacuzzi. All I can say is, how can a boat have so much more going for it than my apartment? Life is not fair.
3. Silo Cottage in Massachusetts
Looking to make life more like a fairytale? You totally can if you stay in this adorable cottage. It has a lovely queen-sized bed at the top of its tower fit for a princess, and the whole thing is located on two acres of woods complete with babbling brooks, ponds and gardens. The owners live in the larger house on the property, but they leave you alone unless you require assistance. So feel free to bring your fake Rapunzel hair, work on your Elvish and have an awesome cosplay weekend.
4. A Castle in Kirkby Stephen, United Kingdom
You heard me right. Stay in your own freaking castle in Northern England! Whether it’s for a wedding, or just a long weekend, this castle has it all, including 15 bedrooms, a staff of 16 and 20 acres of land to play manhunt on. It can accommodate up to 30 guests, but you can also just stay with your family if you feel like reenacting The Shining. It was built in 1841 as “a Victorian gentleman’s folly” and is now a real family home on the edge of Yorkshire. I don’t know about you, but I’m coming up with about 15 different reasons why this should be my spring break destination.
5. Dog Park Bark Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho
And now for something completely different — a house that’s shaped like a dog! I think the description by the owners Frances and Dennis says it best, “Stay in a giant dog! That’s right, it’s a beagle-shaped one-unit inn where being in this doghouse is a GOOD thing and comfortable to boot!” On top of that, the owners have an art studio adjacent to the property where they fashion canine carvings by chainsaw. Yep. Good luck not checking this one out.
6. Historic Civil War Farmhouse, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
What weird list of places to stay would be complete without a bona fide haunted house? The David Stewart farm is located smack in the middle of Gettysburg, and was used as a civil war field hospital immediately after the famous Battle of Gettysburg. Now this is a shared property, meaning the owner will be on the premises, in this case, with his two dogs and six cats (yes, six), but he has lots of stories to tell about the house and its many, according to him friendly, ghosts. So if you’re a history buff, and don’t mind sharing space with some living and non-living hosts, this is the place for you.
7. Off-Grid itHouse, Pioneertown, California
This one may be my number one. The Off-Grid itHouse was recently noted by Dwell as one of the “Best Homes in America,” and in the Los Angeles Times as one of the best houses of all time in Southern California. Literally off-grid, the house is powered by solar panels for energy and hot water, and is located in a pristine remote valley in the beautiful California high desert. If you want to get away from literally everything (there is no Wi-Fi, television or reception), then this is the place for you. The hosts just ask you to arrive before dark, otherwise you may not be able to find it. Haha, no seriously though, it’s pretty hard to spot a house with no lights on in the middle of the desert.
8. The Mirrored House, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Honestly, this house is the only way you’d ever get me to visit Pittsburgh — no offense, Pittsburgh. The entire exterior is covered in mirrors which makes it look almost like an optical illusion. The house’s dinning room is similarly embellished, and the rest of the house is done in a mod sophisticated style. Just don’t stare at it when the sun’s reflecting or you might burn your eyes out.
9. Amazing Round Room in the Sky
Exactly as its name implies, this is a round room you can rent in a converted water tower in North Kensington. Aside from being crazy cool, it’s very centrally located in London, with easy access to public transportation, and the sights of the city. However, in order to reach your room, it’s a six-flight outdoor climb, so if you have any fear of heights, steer clear of this one.
10. The House of Collections, Brooklyn, New York
Ever wonder what it’s like to stay in a hoarder’s house? That’s the House of Collections in a nutshell, if that nutshell was perfectly organized, categorized and decorated. “Established in 1989, it features an array of oddities both diverse & prodigious. From the walls of antique tools & implements, to the antique, vintage & hand-crafted furniture, art, taxidermy & collections of collections, it is a NY experience not to be missed.” If you want to experience Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at its coolest, this is the place to stay. It is the giant loft version of the eccentric New York artist.
11. The Seashell House — Casa Caracol, Isla Mujeres, Mexico
It’s a house that looks like a seashell. With a pool. In Mexico. I don’t know why you’re not there already.
12. Yellowstone Under Canvas, West Yellowstone, Montana
You can rent a deluxe tent, complete with wood burning stove, your own tipi bathroom with flushing toilet, 360-degree panoramic views of mountains and rivers and a private patio with lounge chairs. That’s called roughing it. Oh yeah, and you’re sleeping under the stars near the entrance of one of America’s most beautiful national parks. I’m no camper, but I could definitely make that work.