For many, the most exciting part of a vacation is going off the beaten path to look for unique experiences, attractions, restaurants and more. And for truly adventurous travelers, those thrills don't have to end just because it's time to go to sleep.
There are amazing resorts, hotels, campsites and more around the country that provide much more than a bed and roof over your head. We’ve picked out one lodging option in every state in America that offers those unusual touches — rich history, stunning views, quirky decor and other unique features — that make for a one-of-a-kind place to spend the night.
In these quirky hotels, B&Bs and rentals, you can sleep underwater, under the stunning northern lights, 50 feet underground or even inside an unconventional abode like a grain bin, a bank or an art gallery. No matter your destination in the United States, there's a charming place to spend the night that will elevate your trip from everyday to extraordinary.
University of Alabama pride runs deep in the Yellowhammer State, and one of the ways to experience it is by staying in Tuscaloosa's Bama Bed & Breakfast during a college football weekend. The antebellum home has decor themed around Alabama history and, of course, the Crimson Tide.
While Fairbanks, Alaska, is home to plenty of outdoor activities and amazing restaurants, it's worth traveling outside the city to experience the natural beauty of the northern lights during your Alaska vacation. One of the best ways to view them is at Borealis Basecamp in Chatanika. Guests can enjoy access to adventures like dogsledding and eat local cuisine in the camp's dining yurt before getting cozy in a modern heated geodesic dome with clear ceilings to take in the night sky.
One of Route 66's iconic and historic motels, the Wigwam Villages in Holbrook, Arizona, transport guests to a famous part of the country's past. It's a unique place to stop while on a classic American road trip to see the Grand Canyon.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Rescue in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a nonprofit dedicated to rescuing big cats. Visitors can get within five feet of majestic animals such as tigers, lions and leopards during a guided tour, and the rescue offers unique on-site lodging in the form of African safari tents. Renting one supports the organization's care of the cats.
Kent Mountain Adventure Center/Yelp
Kent Mountain Adventure Center in Estes Park, Colorado, can organize a once-in-a-lifetime sleeping setup for intrepid campers. The staff will set up a cliff camping portaledge that can be reached by people of any skill level. From there, you can rock climb or relax and take in the epic view. The Kent Mountain crew will even deliver a steak dinner at night and breakfast in the morning.
Winvian Farm in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut, has multiple unconventional abodes for guests to stay in, including a treehouse and a log cabin, but perhaps its most distinctive sleep quarters are in a room that includes a fully restored 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH3F Coast Guard helicopter. Lounge in the pilot and co-pilot seats or watch TV in the cabin before spreading out in the rest of the suite.
Lewes, Delaware, is one of the top cities for beer-lovers as its home to the craft brewery Dogfish Head. Beyond touring the brewery, visitors can stay at the beer-themed Dogfish Inn. The hotel has beer shampoo and soap in the rooms and free growlers for guests, and it provides a good base camp for exploring the area and visiting the pub where the brand got its start.
The only underwater hotel in the entire country, Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, is located more than 20 feet underwater. Guests have to be scuba-certified to get to their room, which has a kitchen, TV, bed and porthole window to watch the underwater world outside. A staff member will even dive down to deliver you a pizza, sealed in a waterproof case.
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia, offers a different sort of retreat for travelers looking to refresh their spirits. Guests can visit for a day and join monks for mass and prayer and take a reflective walk around the grounds. The monastery also offers donation-based weekend retreats, some with presenters who teach on a specific themes and others centered around solitary time for spiritual reflection.
Waimea Plantation Cottages/Yelp
Enjoy the coastal beauty of Kauai in one of 61 beachfront cottages originally built as part of two sugar plantations in the early 1900s. Nestled in a coconut grove along the island's black sand beaches, the rustic cabins have history and vintage charm.
There are plenty of exciting movie filming locations you can visit in real life, but sports movie fans won't want to miss the chance to visit the original field and stay in the house from the classic baseball movie "Field of Dreams." At the century-old Lansing family farm in Dyersville, guests can rent a queen-size room in the home used in the film.
The 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville has 9,000 square feet of gallery space with rotating collections dedicated to 21st-century art as well as 90 hotel rooms each with its own unique works of art. Seven other 21c locations have opened across the country since the original opened in 2006.
Italian for "The Bank Hotel," L'Banca Albergo is located in the the old Jeff Davis Bank on Main Street in Lake Arthur, Louisiana. The converted property has eight suites that still have touches of the past including a vault door, the old drive-thru window and the deposit box.
West Quoddy Station is located near the easternmost part of the United States. Guests can stay in the nearby keepers cottage, a serene base camp for exploring the area, going whale watching and catching amazing sunrises.
The historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, or C&O Canal for short, operated along the Potomac River for almost 100 years. Lockhouses were built at each lock point for the lock-keepers and their families to live. These six houses have been restored and furnished to celebrate different periods in the canal's history and are a picturesque location for bikers, hikers and birdwatchers.
While many coastal beacons are on land, the Borden Flats lighthouse sits in the middle of the Taunton River in Somerset, Massachusetts. Visitors can stay overnight in the "sparkplug" lighthouse, which has been upgraded with some modern touches like a solar panel but still offers the experience of living like the original lighthouse keeper in 1881.
The Charlevoix Mushroom houses in Charlevoix, Michigan, were made by self-taught builder Earl Young, who spent 50 years building 26 residential properties with a signature whimsical style. Today, visitors can rent a few of the different homes and experience their storybook charm firsthand.
The Covington Inn is a floating bed-and-breakfast permanently parked along the Mississippi River with a view of the St. Paul skyline. The former towboat was converted in 1995 and now has a relaxing deck and nautical-decorated rooms with private bathrooms and fireplaces.
At The Shack Up Inn in the Mississippi Delta town of Clarksdale, visitors can stay in 35 units made from renovated shotgun shacks or cotton gin bins, both symbols of the South. The inn hosts concerts, workshops, camps and more for musicians and jazz and blues aficionados.
Brinkmann Farmstead Bed & Breakfast/Yelp
Travelers who want an authentic Midwestern experience can stay in the hayloft of a barn on an active dairy farm in Owensville, Missouri. The meals at this B&B are made with ingredients fresh from the farm, including artisanal cheeses, and guests can watch daily chores like milking the cows.
Howlers Inn B&B is also a wolf sanctuary near Bozeman, Montana. Visitors can stay in one of four rooms in the lodge amid 42 acres of land. Guests have access to view and photograph the captive-bred wolves that live there in two separate enclosures.
At Barn Anew Bed and Breakfast in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, guests can stay in a 100-year-old, fully restored sheep wagon. Made to be a cozier version of a covered wagon used by shepherds traveling with their flock, these sheep wagons are comfortable with a rustic charm that will make you feel "home on the range."
There are more than 50 historic bridges in the state of New Hampshire, and you can stay at a bed-and-breakfast that owns one of them. The Bartlett Covered Bridge was built in 1850 and spans the Saco River. It's located right outside a quaint colonial-style home that's more than 100 years old.
Feather Nest Inn/Yelp
Cherry Hill's Feather Nest Inn is famous for suites with kitschy themes, including a pirate ship, an Egyptian tomb, a prehistoric cave and more. The hotel's three “romance suites” even come with fireplaces and red heart-shaped Whirlpool tubs.
Kokopelli's Cave is a man-made cave carved out of a cliffside overlooking the La Plata River valley near Farmington, New Mexico. Sitting 50 feet below ground, the house-sized cave has full amenities as well as spectacular views from its patio, making it a unique romantic retreat.
America's isn't home to any true medieval castles, but you can find a funky castle-themed hotel in Regent, North Dakota. With a drawbridge out front and suits of armor lining the hallways as well as a full-sized basketball and volleyball court, the Enchanted Castle Hotel is the perfect family-friendly stop while traveling with kids.
This 1910 jailhouse in Vermillion, Ohio, has been converted into an unusual bed-and-breakfast, thanks to the owners keeping features like the original layout and cell bars. The private inn can accommodate up to four guests at a time.
Oklahoma might be the last place you expect to be surrounded by water on every side, but the floating cabins on Lake Murray in Ardmore, Oklahoma, make it possible. Reconnect with nature by hiking, swimming, boating and more.
McMenamins Kennedy School/Yelp
You can sleep in class without getting in trouble at McMenamins Kennedy School, a former Portland elementary school that closed in 1975 before reopening as a hotel in 1995. The guest rooms are decorated with school desks and blackboards, and guests can grab a drink at Detention Pub.
Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant/Yelp
The Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant in Ronks, Pennsylvania, was originally made up of 19 different 25-ton surplus Pennsylvania Railroad cabooses. Open since 1970, the Red Caboose has since added additional colors of cabooses as well as a mail car and baggage car. Climb to the top of the motel's 50-foot silo for a great view of the surrounding countryside.
This more than 100-year-old Queen Anne-style building that previously housed the Newport Fire Department's Hose Co. 6 has been converted into the Firehouse Inn. It was restored in 2017 and offers modern amenities as well as room service and in-room spa services.
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum/Yelp
The USS Yorktown, which saw action in World War II and the Vietnam War, was decommissioned in 1970 and became the centerpiece of Charleston's Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. Kids in organized groups of 10 or more can eat in the crew mess hall and sleep overnight in traditional bunks on the ship through the Youth Overnight Camping Program.
Named after the iconic 1941 song "Chattanooga Choo Choo," the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel is based at the city's old Terminal Station. Stay in guest rooms in the building or Pullman train cars from the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
Designed to resemble a World War II hangar, the 50-room Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg, Texas, is decorated with airplane memorabilia and model planes. Its location next to the Gillespie County Airport means airplane enthusiasts have a great view of local takeoffs and landings from the observation deck.
Feel like a Wild West trail blazer when you stay in the Conestoga wagons available at Capitol Reef Resort in Utah. Enjoy star-speckled skies, red rock mountain views and cozy campfires before retiring to a spacious room with modern amenities. The resort can also plan fun excursions like hiking with pack llamas.
This wooded resort goes beyond the traditional cabin with its lakeside treehouse. Built around two pine trees, this treehouse will make you feel connected with nature even while enjoying electricity, plumbing, a wrap-around deck and rustic furnishings.
Sandy River Outdoor Adventure/Yelp
Located in Rice, Virginia, Sandy River Outdoor Adventures has tipis outfitted with luxury amenities including heated floors, full bathrooms, kitchenettes, Wi-Fi, TV and more while still being located amid Virginia's natural scenery and the adventure activities of Sandy River Reservoir and High Bridge State Park.
Salish Lodge and Spa/Yelp
It's all about location, location, location at Washington state's Salish Lodge & Spa. It sits almost 300 feet above the Snoqualmie River with stunning views of Snoqualmie Falls. The hotel is also the setting for the cult television series "Twin Peaks," making it one of the locations from TV shows and movies you can visit in real life.
The eccentric, sprawling Mansion on O Street might seem unassuming from the outside, but inside it has 100 rooms with 70 hidden doors decorated with antiques, memorabilia, furniture and tchotchkes that are all for sale. The historic building is valued at more than $50 million because of its central D.C. location.
For a campsite with unobstructed vistas, book a stay in Seneca State Forest’s 65-foot-tall Thorny Mountain Fire Tower. This simple lodging is available between May and October and offers 360-degree views of the state's oldest forest.
The Brewery Creek Inn in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, is housed in an 1854 stone warehouse that formerly had a dirt floor and was used for storage for railroad supplies. It was then used as a veterinary clinic and stable before being converted into an inn, brewery and restaurant that uses local Wisconsin ingredients.
There are many ways to appreciate the stunning natural landscape of Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park, but perhaps the most iconic lodging available is the Old Faithful Inn. The largest log structure in the world, the historical inn has an impressive 76-foot-tall lobby with intricate wooden balconies. While Yellowstone is world-famous, there are other undiscovered, amazing landmarks every traveler should visit.
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