If you’re craving a getaway and perhaps want something a little more interesting than the hotel same old, same old, we have you covered. Pack your bags and head to any of these Southern destinations to enjoy an unusual — and highly enjoyable — stay in some outside-the-box accommodations. From tepees and tiny houses to treehouses and even a castle, here are some fun alternatives for an overnight stay.
Santa Fe, TN
As its perfect five-star rating on Airbnb suggests, a stay at Forest Gully Farms is sure to be unforgettable. In fact, at the farm, you will stay in an environment unlike any other — underground. Their adorable white cedar huts are built right into the earth — seemingly from your fairytale dreams — but offer modern accommodations to complement their charm. During your stay, you will have access to all three huts on the 15-acre farm, including the Green Hut, which has a kitchen and dining room. But Forest Gully Farms is more than just an exceptional place to sleep, it’s also a welcome chance to explore agriculture in a new way and truly immerse yourself in nature. The farm was born out of owners Mandi and Jon Griffin’s passion for horticulture, so it is packed with incredible plants and animals one cannot find in the city. During the day, visitors can take full advantage of the land, whether they are looking for a hike to the waterfall and time by the fire or the experience to be a farmer during the visit. In the right season, guests can gather fresh eggs, pick berries and enjoy the food grown right on the farm. Forest Gully Farms is truly an experience like no other.
If you’re in the market for a rare and covetable overnight stay — and you have some spare cash laying around — head to Parthenon, Arkansas, where you can spend the night in a cave. Beckham Creek Cave Lodge, located in the Ozark Mountains, is a 6,000-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 4-bath lodge that offers a host of luxury amenities — all within a living cave. Rope-strung iron chandeliers and Edison-bulb lighting hang throughout the spacious accommodations, which include a full chef’s kitchen, multiple living spaces, even a spiral staircase — yes! All inside a cave! Rates start at $1,200 per night, so it’s definitely on the high end, but then again, how often will you get this experience? Learn more here.
For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, point your compass toward Marfa, TX, for a stay at El Cosmico. This self-described bohemian village features a variety of accommodations, including yurts, Airstreams, tepees, safari tents and more. Be prepared to slow things way down if you pay a visit to El Cosmico, though, as the “mañana culture” reigns supreme. That means, per the El Cosmico website, that “mañana doesn’t care about email or normal hours of operation … We know that mañana continues to promise new magic, and we see good things just over the horizon. But for now, we’re happy to sit back in the hammock and celebrate today.” Yeah, it’s that kind of place. Leave your iPhone and sense of urgency at home. There’s no place for those sorts of things at El Cosmico. Find accommodation options and learn more about this refreshing escape here.
If you’ve ever imagined forgoing your unnecessary space and moving into a tiny house, there are options to try before you buy. The website TryItTiny.com is filled with a variety of tiny homes available for short- or long-term stays. For example, the Tin Man tiny home in Floyd, VA, is located at Chantilly Farm Campground, which is home to a variety of festivals. The minuscule dwelling has a decidedly modern exterior and bright and airy interior featuring all of the modern amenities you can imagine — loft sleeping, pull-out couch, full bath, kitchenette and access to plenty of nearby outdoor recreation activities. Want something more bold and edgy? The inviting Nash House has everything you need — two lofted sleeping areas, a bathroom, kitchen and lounge area — all delicately stuffed into a 20-foot-long tiny home located on five acres of private property just outside of Nashville. In this lovely trailer, modern appliances and chic white walls are complemented with turquoise accents and homey decorations that will undoubtedly make you forget about the size. Or head to the Smoky Mountains, and try this tiny home in Gatlinburg, located at a peaceful family campground on a branch of the Pigeon River. Equipped with a bed, bath, flat screen TV, private patio and more, this home has so much character that it was even featured on the show “Tiny House Nation.” Want something a bit beachier? Head to The Margarita tiny home in Sarasota, FL, where you’ll find room to sleep up to six, along with a roomy kitchen, butcher block countertops and vibrant decor. Sometimes tiny can give us a valuable change in perspective — how much space do we really need?
Castalian Springs, TN
Want to spend some time in nature, but not on board with the whole sleeping bag/cramped tent scene? Then Come As You Are Camping is for you. Nestled along the picturesque Bledsoe Creek in Castalian Springs, TN, this glamping (glamorous camping) spot offers its visitors everything great about camping without any of the hassle, inconvenience or the cost of unnecessary supplies and equipment. Each Come As You Are Camping tent is furnished with comfortable, clean daybeds, adorable bedding and nice carpets so that you can truly enjoy your night out in nature without any stress. And you’ll need that good night’s sleep too, so that you can enjoy all the incredible recreation opportunities at your disposal during the day. Want to kayak but need some instruction? Come As You Are Camping owner Leslie Dunn is an American Canoe Association-certified kayak instructor and is happy to help. If you aren’t out on the water, you can spend your day exploring the grounds, biking, fishing or just soaking up your precious time in the great outdoors. The surrounding wildlife in Bledsoe Creek State Park is rich, diverse and perfect for visitors to appreciate during the day but feel protected from during the night, thanks to the enclosed campground. This unique glamping experience lets you appreciate all that nature has to offer without sacrificing comfort, ensuring your camping experience gets to the heart of what you really want and need — to relax.
Blue Ridge, GA
Spend the night among the trees (and perhaps relive your youth) in your very own treehouse. Blue Ridge Treehouse Rentals has two treehouse options — the Canopy Blue Treehouse and the Inn the Ravine treehouse. Both offer spacious and comfortable accommodations with a luxury-meets-rustic vibe. Enjoy coffee on the porch while you take in the beautiful mountain view, take a dip in the hot tub beneath the stars, and fall asleep to the sounds of nature just outside the window. The rentals are located near plenty of outdoor hiking trails, too, offering an all-inclusive nature-oriented escape.
Meghan and Harry can’t have all the fun. Live like a queen if only for a night when you stay at The Kentucky Castle, voted “Most Beautiful Hotel in Kentucky” by Architectural Digest. This beautiful boutique hotel, which also has an on-site farm-to-table restaurant called Castle Farms, offers six room types with varying levels of amenities. If you decide to venture off grounds, you’ll find plenty of authentic Kentucky awaits beyond the kingdom — distilleries, horse farms and the like. Otherwise, enjoy the good life on property — tour the castle, enjoy a world-class meal and enjoy the royal treatment — right here in the South! Learn more about The Kentucky Castle here.
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