Maxam Hospitality Group/Ryan and Amy Hoover
When it comes to the best vacation destinations and accommodations, many Airbnb hosts have found an opportunity to be creative — in some cases, extremely creative — with the homes they provide for guests. While there are plenty of homeowners renting out their spare rooms or main home in the more traditional Airbnb model, there are just as many hosts that have set out to build tourist attractions in their own right, and that do not disappoint.
But where to go? If you’re looking for something unusual, we dug through hundreds of listings to find the most unique Airbnbs in every state. Some are so popular they have to drop booking notifications on their Instagrams like a new fashion launch. Others are backyard projects of local hosts that greet guests at the gate and welcome them to graze in their vegetable garden. There are domes in areas of the country that preserve dark skies for gazing at the heavens, treehouses suspended over forests across the country and quirky literary-themed homes tucked into quiet little towns. Many of these accommodations are geared towards families traveling with kids while others are better suited to solo getaways or romantic weekends. But whether you’re looking for a big city adventure or an off-the-grid escape with no Wi-Fi and no distractions, there is an Airbnb to meet your needs.
Looking for more 2023 travel inspiration? The 2023 Good Housekeeping Family Travel Awards covers everything from the best destinations for kids to the gear that’ll help get you there and back.
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Storybook Castle BnB (Alabama)
This idyllic fieldstone castle looks like it was ripped from the pages of a fairytale. Sheldon Castle is a registered historic home in the quaint town of Fairhope, Alabama, where guests can walk to every attraction. Even better, this castle is also just a short walk from gorgeous beaches overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
North Pole Cabin (Alaska)
OK, so this cabin isn’t located at the actual North Pole, but kids will never know the difference. This town, which is in a subarctic climate zone, sparkles with Christmas magic year-round. And if they’re sticklers for accuracy, it’s just 15 minutes from Fairbanks, which makes a visit to the actual North Pole quite simple. Guests can stroll down Snowman Lane or even have a chat with the local man who legally changed his name to Santa Claus.
RELATED: 36 of the Best Places to Spend Christmas
Olive Tree Retreat (Arizona)
Arizona has developed a reputation as the perfect haven for snowbirds, and the Olive Tree Retreat by Coast to Cactus features everything a guest needs to escape the cold northern winters. The stunning interior spaces open onto a backyard that includes a private pool and personal putting green. Located in the heart of Scottsdale, this home is convenient to all of the food, art, golfing and culture the city offers.
Canyon View Treehouse (Arkansas)
This gorgeous and perfectly appointed cabin is suspended over the Arkansas Grand Canyon. Guests can enjoy the views from a hammock on the balcony or cozy up in front of the fireplace. The cabin, which is part of Buffalo River Vacations’ collection of unique homes, is located in the Ozark Mountains, in the quaint town of Jasper, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
The Boathouse (California)
This quirky Airbnb is all about the kids — or kids at heart. Just a short drive from the iconic Pismo Beach, the two-bedroom Arroyo Grande home features a fully stocked beach cottage, a playground with art space and ball pit and an actual lifeguard stand that’s been repurposed into a play fort. Guests can walk from the home to a variety of restaurants, breweries and other attractions.
Holloway Cabin (Colorado)
For guests visiting Colorado, especially in the winter months, a personal hot spring is a luxury. Thankfully, this quaint cabin in Buena Vista has one just for guests. The two cabins located on the Merrifield Homestead each have their own private spring. The homestead is near rock climbing, rafting and every other adventurous activity Colorado has to offer.
Windy Top Cottage (Connecticut)
This historic 1932 stone cottage was once the servant’s quarters for a wealthy Hartford family’s country escape. The cottage, which has no kitchen, is a great spot for anyone wanting to enjoy the food scene in the rural town of Granby. Located in the foothills of the Litchfield Hills, the area is also full of outdoorsy activities for more adventurous guests. The furniture in the home has been lovingly restored by the owners, who also own A Girl With a Paintbrush.
The Farm at Marshtown (Delaware)
For travelers who have dreamed of waking up to grazing horses and the low of cattle, this farmhouse rental will fulfill their childhood fantasy. Located on a working farm and hunting preserve, this farmhouse sleeps a whopping 12 guests. The staff is available to provide pony rides for kids (not adults) and is happy to explain the workings of the farm. It’s located on the 500-acre Marshtown Hunting Preserve, but hunters are kept far from guests for safety.
Famous Tiny Houseboat (Florida)
Young Wild & TREE(HOUSE) (Georgia)
It’s hard to pick the most unique Airbnb in Hawaii, where nearly every view is heart-stopping. The Aolani House, nestled between the Holualoa coffee farms on the Big Island, is a top contender. Aolani House is consistently ranked as one of the best stays in Hawaii. It features sweeping sunset views as well as a gourmet kitchen including Wolf range and wine fridge for preparing dinners to be enjoyed on the balcony.
Big Idaho Potato Hotel (Idaho)
For guest visiting Idaho, there’s nothing more iconic than staying in an actual potato. While that might sound less than appealing, this zany Airbnb is actually a 336 square foot, smartly appointed stay that fits two guests and sits on 400 acres of farmland. It’s also located in the capital city of Boise, so there’s tons to do.
Emil Bach House (Illinois)
Frank Lloyd Wright built hundreds of homes across the country, from the famed Fallingwater to houses of worship like Unity Temple. However, there are very few that architecture buffs can stay in overnight. The 1915 Emil Bach House is available for overnight stays as well as events. The home features some of the more modern turns Wright took towards the end of his career and is situated just a block from Lake Michigan’s shore.
Castaway Lakeside Tents (Indiana)
Glamping rose in popularity during the pandemic, and the trend doesn’t appear to be waning anytime soon. In Jasonville, Indiana, guests can choose from one of several canvas tents that are fully appointed for cooking and sleeping. There are even flushing toilets. The owners also provide kayaks, paddle boards and a jon boat for an additional fee, and the tents are near a variety of other large lakes for guests with larger boats for more rugged adventures.
Captain’s Quarters Old Mill House (Iowa)
From the deck of this old mill house, guests can watch riverboats pass by on the mighty Mississippi River. This suite, which fits two guests, has a small kitchen and is situated near the Libations Trail of LeClaire. Voted one of the most romantic spots to stay along the river, the suite is in a historic home shared by the owners, but is totally private.
The Santa Fe Boxcar (Kansas)
For fans of the Boxcar Children iconic book series, this 1941 Santa Fe boxcar is a childhood dream come true. With a loft bed, full bathroom and kitchen, it is certainly more well appointed than where the original Boxcar children slept. The boxcar is not far from Witchita and all the amenities it offers.
Sleeping in a glass cage suspended from a cliff isn’t for everyone, but for more adventurous guests this totally unique Airbnb is a stay that won’t be forgotten. This accommodation is bolted to the cliffline of Red River Gorge and is only accessible via hundreds of suspended stairs. It has a bathroom and kitchen, though, so guests can stay put and enjoy their experience without having to traverse back down to Earth.
Tensas Tower on the Teche (Louisiana)
Suspended above Bayou Teche, this soaring tower offers views of Cajun country with luxurious modern design. The home, which is only accessed via spiral staircase, is walking distance from everything historic New Iberia offers to visitors. It’s enough to make you want to say Bienvenue en Louisiane!
Hobbit House at Fern Hollow and Treehouses (Maine)
At Purposely Lost in Sanford, guests can enjoy several unique properties, including treehouses, but the jewel is this brand-new Hobbit house. Lord of the Rings fans can geek out in the gourmet kitchen that has a private dock abutting a trout pond. The 15-acre property is entirely private for guests at Purposely Lost, but is not far from the amenities Sanford offers.
Cove Point Lighthouse Keeper’s House (Maryland)
A bright-white lighthouse tucked against a sleepy Chesapeake Bay cove is the premier setting for a weekend getaway. At the Cove Point Lighthouse, guests can book the old lighthouse keeper’s cottage, which can sleep up to 16 guests. The original structure dates to 1828, which makes Cove Point the oldest lighthouse in Maryland.
The Filomena (Massachusetts)
This 1850 colonial stunner in West Stockbridge has been lovingly restored to create the perfect Berkshires getaway. The six-bedroom home can sleep up to 12 guests and is just a short walk from the culture, art and food scene in town. The area is known for its biking and hiking scene, so guests should pack their gear and prepare for an adventure. The home books up often, but openings are shared on their Instagram account.
RowShell Houseboat (Michigan)
This 24-foot pontoon boat situated on 340-acre Big Fish Lake is cozy on space but not lacking in amenities. With a galley kitchen and full bathroom, it’s the perfect place to take in the sunset or drop a line in the water. There’s even high-speed internet for remote work and streaming a movie before bed. Guests can wander across the street for a bite to eat at the local eatery if they don’t catch enough fish for dinner.
Lord of the Rings Stargazer Cabin Treehouse (Minnesota)
This whimsical treehouse cabin in Upsala, Minnesota is filled to the brim with Lord of the Rings references for mega-fans. It’s also luxuriously stocked with anything guests could need. An outdoor recreation area dares guests to picnic in the Land of Mordor, under Sauron’s lidless eye. Upsala is a tiny village just under two hours from Minneapolis, and the rural community is full of outdoor adventures.
The Farmhouse (Mississippi)
This recycled grain bin just bowls visitors over when they walk through the front door. While it once housed corn and wheat, it’s now outfitted with granite counters, a gourmet kitchen and a luxurious living space. This home sleeps four guests, and is just minutes from the bustling tourist town of Corinth, Mississippi as well as Shiloh National Park.
Breaktaking Blacksmith Bungalow (Missouri)
This blacksmith shop sits in The Village, which is an Old West movie set built on the former property of Donna Douglas — better known as Ella May Clampett of Beverly Hillbillies fame. While this structure was rebuilt in 2019 to create a safe space for guests, and there are several other structures available for rent on the same property, including a log cabin with four sleeping areas.
Raven’s Nest Treehouse (Montana)
Just a 30-minute drive from Glacier National Park, the Raven’s Nest treehouse does not lack a single luxe amenity. While the Meadowlark treehouse, located on the same property, has received national attention when it was built by the Magnolia Network (formerly DIY Network), the owners of the Montana Treehouse Retreat are so excited to welcome guests to this new A-frame beauty, which has two bedrooms, a living room, two deck areas and two living trees growing in the interior.
The Corn Crib Cottage (Nebraska)
What screams Nebraska more than staying in an actual corn crib? The folks at Front Porch Vineyards welcome guests to this waterfront cottage with an efficiency kitchen. The vineyard is dog-friendly, and there is even an outdoor kennel for furry friends to lounge in while the adults sample the local vintage.
Sandy Valley Ranch Conestoga Wagon (Nevada)
Rather than stay on the crowded Las Vegas strip, guests can crash in this nearby Conestoga wagon (without any risk of dysentery like in the pioneer days). Sandy Valley Ranch has a host of other neat accommodations, trail rides and a full service restaurant serving up ranch fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Photo by Gai Phanalasy; see @gaichicken on Instagram.)
The Lil’ Red Caboose (New Hampshire)
This tiny New Hampshire accommodation is the perfect place for families visiting the next-door Whale’s Tale Waterpark, which is ranked as one of the top 25 water parks in the country. The caboose fits four guests, with one bed in the cupola, and is perfect for kids obsessed with trains.
Guests at this 1860s colonial home have access to four full bedrooms and four bathrooms. It’s been painstakingly restored by the owners to maintain as much historic detail as possible, but contains every modern amenity — including a hot tub and a fire pit — all situated along the calming waters of the Cohansey River.
Freya Geo Dome Suite (New Mexico)
New Mexico is full of beautiful desert landscapes, and the Freya Geo Dome, which is one of several luxurious glamping accommodations available through Airbnb at the El Mistico Ranch, is the perfect place to view them from. The ranch, which is just minutes from Lincoln National Forest, encompasses 30 acres of high desert with natural springs.
Tyler Hill Catskills Retreat (New York)
This large country home in New York’s Catskill mountains beckons large families to gather and reconnect. With a dining table that seats 10, board games and puzzles galore, and a fully appointed kitchen, groups won’t lack ways to fill their time. There are also two offices with high-speed internet for remote work. Just outside of Roxbury, guests are near restaurants, skiing, hiking and more.
2nd Street Inn (North Carolina)
This boutique hotel located in Hickory, North Carolina houses 14 different suites in a converted grain mill. Each suite is different and retains elements of the original structure. In the two shared kitchen spaces, gears and machinery from the original mill remain. The inn is located along the railroad tracks that anchor downtown Hickory — which is full of artsy boutiques, breweries and coffee shops.
Note: The author was a welcomed guest at this property.
Giant Rustic Cabin (North Dakota)
Dunlap Hollow Cave (Ohio)
Hocking Hills is arguably the most popular camping destination in the state of Ohio. This accommodation, though, is located inside an actual cave. Each room features exposed stone walls and creative architecture to carve a home out of the rock. There’s no shortage of natural wonders to explore around the cave. While the cave is being booked only through their website at the moment, the owners are Airbnb superhosts with have two other equally stunning properties listed there. All three properties are within sight of each other on one lot, which would make a fun family reunion.
Slideaway Hideaway (Oklahoma)
Why take the stairs when there’s a curly tube slide? This massive Oklahoma vacation home can sleep up to 32 guests, making it the perfect spot for a family reunion or gathering of old friends. It’s located in Broken Bow, Oklahoma, which is rife with outdoor activities and family-friendly events.
This replica of a historic fire tower overlooks the Summit Prairie and is surrounded by Umpqua National Forest. This popular Airbnb often books quickly when reservations open each spring, so interested guests should inquire early. This impressive tower is very rural — with an outdoor shower and a pit toilet — but most guests find the off-the-grid vibe adds to the appeal.
Ohiopyle Treehouse (Pennsylvania)
Nestled in the Laurel Highland area of the Appalachian mountains, this deluxe treehouse has one feature most do not — it’s wheelchair accessible with a fully ADA complaint bathroom. The vast deck, swinging bed and mountain views make this large home a perfect family retreat. Nearby rafting on the Ohiopyle River or biking along the Great Allegheny Passage are two popular local attractions for rafters and bikers.
Tiverton School House (Rhode Island)
This historic 1800s one-room schoolhouse is now a cozy getaway in adorable artsy downtown Tiverton, Rhode Island. Enter through the two front doors, which traditionally were designated for boys and girls to enter separately. The schoolhouse is bordered by acres of woods and a creek for idyllic morning walks. While it remains its historical charm, it’s been fully updated with modern amenities, including Wi-Fi.
Waterfall Getaway (South Carolina)
This home, designed by modernist architect James Fox, overlooks a cascading waterfall in the Appalachian Mountains. The glass walls that fill the home offer guests views of Longnose Falls from several angles. This location is secluded — there is no Wi-Fi or television — so come prepared to unwind when visiting.
Big Bear Lodge (South Dakota)
Located near historic Deadwood, this lodge has plenty of room for guests who arrive with toys such as ATVs and snowmobiles. There’s a year-round outdoor heated pool and hot tub on the property that are shared with nearby guests. The Black Hills of South Dakota are also home to the Crazy Horse Memorial as well as Mount Rushmore, meaning guests can combine fun with educational activities.
Dreamy Tiny House Cottage (Tennessee)
Don’t be fooled by the tiny scope of this cottage. It’s the most wish-listed Airbnb in Tennessee. This home has a lot of style packed into the square footage, including a clawfoot tub and loft bed. Guests can walk to local eateries and are just ten minutes away from main Nashville attractions.
Located in one of the few remaining territories under a dark-sky ordinance, this solar powered adobe dome is entirely off the grid. It is nearby Big Bend National Park. Guests do rough it a bit to obtain these dazzling night sky views. There is a compost toilet, but there is still Wi-Fi. The dome sleeps two comfortably for the perfect couples’ getaway.
Secluded Hideaway Above Park City (Utah)
The owners of Forgotten Cabins in Park City were seeking a way to keep the amazing natural light in the second floor of this cabin when they stumbled across the perfect solution — a hammock floor. This cabin is accessible only with by four-wheel drive vehicle (with chains in the winter), so plan vehicle rentals accordingly. Situated 8,000 feet above sea level with views of the Uinta Moutains, there is simply not a more creative space in the whole state.
RELATED: 25 Best Wellness Hotels in America
This “northern adobe” is one of five creative micro-cottages located on 25 acres near Jay Peak Ski Resort and eclectic Montgomery Center. The cottage features an efficiency kitchen, heated Mexican tile floors and hand-hewn hemlock timbers. Just over an hour from both Montreal and Burlington, this cozy cottage is a great central point for northern winter adventures.
Fort Ebey Treehouse (Washington)
With easy access to Admiralty Inlet and space to hang and dry diving gear, this treehouse is a cozy retreat for diving enthusiasts. It’s also the perfect spot for hikers, bikers and nature lovers of all kinds. Designed by Peter Nelson for his Treehouse Masters TV show, the owners have not forgotten a single detail to ensure a comfortable stay.
Storybook Crooked House (West Virginia)
Everyone grew up hearing about the crooked man who ended up living in a crooked house with some crooked pets — here’s a chance to stay there. The owners at Castle Creations LLC enjoy creating whimsical homes, and are converting their nearby home to a castle as well. Guests are welcome to harvest fruits and vegetables from the edible front yard, as well as use provided fishing equipment for the backyard pond.
Upcycling shipping containers has never looked so good. At UnContained, two containers have been combined into a family-friendly space. Nearby Viroqua, Wisconsin has quaint eateries and local events, and guests can visit local Amish communities to learn more about their culture (and purchase some of their famous baked goods, of course).
Cedar Lights Retreat Dome (Wyoming)
Described as “boho chic” by the owners, this dome is on its own private hill dotted with pine and cedar. The property is several hours from major cities like Denver and Rapid City, and has no Wi-Fi or satellite, so it’s the perfect place to unwind. Guests have a heated outhouse and private hot tub for their use. The owners’ cats, dogs and horses roam the property freely — and added perk for animal lovers.
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