Many of us only think about exploring our beautiful state during certain seasons – visiting the mountains in the fall, for instance, or the coast during the warmer summer months. But there are plenty of interesting places to see and what some of us might consider “off-the-beaten-track” accommodations that offer unique and fun experiences, at almost any time of the year.
Alternative accommodations are growing in this country as we seek more and more exciting things to do and authentic, innovative choices of lodging. Many of us are not aware that North Carolina offers a wide range of unusual getaway options, from yurts to barns, and treehouses to railroad cars and cabooses, and this number is increasing. Here are just a few of these non-traditional offerings to pique your interest.
Woodfin, NC’s incredible, 3-level “The Aerie at Earth Sky Dwellings” treehouse
features spectacular views, a living room, kitchen, grill, and games. The décor is upscale and serene, and the deck areas, are spacious and comfortable.
This deluxe treehouse – complete with a swinging bridge, high-end furnishings, sophisticated gas fireplace, and relaxing sauna – offers a truly romantic retreat for those who desire a back-to-nature experience but don’t want to give up all the creature comforts of a four-star resort. Located just 10 minutes from Black Mountain and 20 from Asheville, the “Luxurious Secluded Romantic Treehouse with Hot Tub”
is one of the most highly-rated rental properties in the state.
Typically, a tiny house is defined as a self-sufficient, fully functioning living space of up to 400 square feet in space. North Carolina tiny house getaways include this well-located and sophisticated tiny home located on a 7-acre pond in Raleigh
, with its full bath, wi-fi, refrigerator/freezer, private barbecue, and an outdoor sitting area perfect for relaxing after hiking the area. The eclectic “Polo” tiny home in Burnsville, NC
is a refurbished horse trailer that has been completely refurbished to accommodate two in a cozy loft, with a scenic deck offering fabulous views of mountains and wildlife. Saluda, NC’s cheerful, lime-green tiny house
features a full bath, living room, flat-screen TV, and kitchenette. A canoe and boat on the neighboring fishing pond provide plenty of opportunities to get out and explore nature.
A yurt is one of the most ancient known types of housing, used primarily by nomads in Mongolia and elsewhere in Central Asia. Historically, yurts
were covered in felt, fabric, or carpets, with a traditional wood-burning stove in the middle for cooking and warmth, and a chimney stretching up and out through the middle of the roof. This type of structure – round, spacious, and easy to dismantle and transport – has also become widely used nowadays in areas where camping and outdoor activities are prevalent, and today they can be found throughout the U.S. Depending on the size and location of the yurt, it can hold up to six guests, and offer amenities such as multiple beds, kitchenettes, bath facilities, sun decks and more.
Some of the more interesting yurts in our state include this spacious rental in Hendersonville
– complete with kitchen bar, outdoor deck, picnic table, walk-in shower, sofa, and TV – and the yurt at Raleigh’s Lakeside Retreats
, where amenities like walking and biking trails, picnic shelters, canoe, and kayak access, and sauna are available to yurt guests.
This deluxe bell-shaped Lotus Belle Tent
on a private estate at Carolina Shores offers the epitome of luxury – a kitchen with quartz countertops, a washer, and dryer, a firepit, grill, and a luxurious bathroom – in a location that cannot be beaten if you’re seeking an out-of-the-ordinary getaway that will accommodate up to 4.
This comfortable, 24-foot teepee (or ‘tipi’) is in the ideal location for hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains in and around Ferguson, NC. With an authentic décor featuring hand-painted Native American designs and nearby amenities such as a trout stream and several stocked ponds, visitors here will feel relaxed and at one with nature.
Longhouse in Swannanoa
If the thought of sleeping in a tiny house so tuned in to nature that you’ll be using a composting toilet – minimalizing your impact on the environment and reducing your dependency on water, too – and showering in water heated by the sun appeals to you, this tiny home in the style of an Iroquois longhouse
is for you. Sleeping up to three, it also offers stunning mountain views.
This century-old, scenic, refurbished dairy barn
situated just miles from downtown Winston-Salem will sleep up to 8 (3 en-suites) and features a full kitchen, a/c, wi-fi, and TV. A meditation loft and barnyard full of friendly farm pets will ensure your visit is as tranquil as possible.
Located in a charming mountain setting, this refurbished tobacco barn
in Burnsville, NC provides opportunities for visitors to hike and fish along a neighboring creek, or simply relax and enjoy nature from a large and comfortable screened-in porch. The galley kitchen, living room with pull-out couch, queen-sized bed, and large dining area are perfect for a family of four. The barn still retains much of its quaint character as a once fully-functioning tobacco farm.
A Little Further Off the Grid
This elevated camping pod
in hip and beautiful Boone, NC is a treehouse with flair, as it hangs suspended from the trees and connects to a private platform via a suspended bridge. The sphere features a shower, a/c, heating, fireplace, and dining table, while outdoors guests can take advantage of a private barbecue, telescope, and firepit.
Situated in the middle of a pine grove outside of Weaverville, NC, this colorful, eclectic converted bus
offers electricity, a fan, hot water, a fire pit, and an outdoor bio-toilet. The views are spectacular.
This unique shipping container rental
will not only accommodate you and your partner but any furry friends you might want to bring along, too. Just outside of Saxapahaw, NC, the container features brightly colored interior walls, wi-fi, a/c, heating, kitchenette, and dark floors. Outside, a sandy play area, deck, bar, and putting green are shared with two other units in the area.
Themed accommodations range from this “rustic” (no heat, air conditioning, or restroom beyond a portable toilet) Wizard of Oz cottage
in West Jefferson, NC to another Asheville area original, the Hobbit Treehouse
Airbnb with its lovely entry and “fairy tale wrap-around porch” overlooking your Hobbit realm. A second Hobbit-themed home-away-from-home, the Hobbithenge Earthen Home by Motherhood,
is even more reminiscent of Middle Earth as it nestles into a meadow outside of Asheville with stained glass and other artistic elements placed throughout. Considered rustic in that there is only cold running water and tends to be cold inside when it’s cold outside, the atmosphere is nevertheless serene and pure Hobbit heaven.
Take your pick of a range of comfortable, vintage railroad cars and cabooses
in western NC’s Smoky Mountains, all perfect for exploring scenic Asheville. Full of amenities, these unusual rentals sleep up to five – perfect for families wanting to explore the southern Blue Ridge mountains.