Last Updated on February 6, 2023

2023 is reflecting a significant rise in the number of vacation rental reservations. According to data and insights platform Key Data, reservations made in the U.S. are up 27 percent in January alone.

Vacation rentals in coastal and mountain destinations have always been popular with travelers heading to the beach, to ski or just enjoy the changing colors of the autumn. We thought it would be fun to look at the more unusual vacation rentals in the U.S. that even stretch beyond the glamping or treehouse trends.

How fun would it be to say you’ve stayed in a gypsy wagon, wine barrel house or historic caboose? Let’s take a look at some of the eccentric, fun and unique VRBO rentals as you plan your next vacation.

“Lord of the Rings” VRBO

In a remote valley in northwest Montana, you can release your inner Hobbit at The Shire of Montana-Trout Creek, Montana. This cabin bungalow patterned after the “Lord of the Rings” hobbit houses is magical with its welcoming display of mushroom lamps lining Hobbit Lane to the lighted mural of an Elven village.

Each guest arriving at the bungalow gets a special welcome treat – a large and distinctive ‘Trollhouse’ cookie made with fairy dust, of course. The two bedroom, one-bath cottage can sleep three and also includes a kitchen, outdoor barbeque grill and deck/patio.

Welcome to the Shire!

Wagons ho!

Have you ever spent the night in a covered wagon? You can at the Covered Wagon, Sevierville, Tennessee VRBO which sheds a new light on glamping at Tennessee’s Smoky Hollow Resort. Located in an 18- acre farm setting, the resort features luxury Conestoga Covered Wagons that can sleep four and include heating, air conditioning, luxury bedding and a small bath and kitchenette. There’s a barbeque area for those who love to cook in the great outdoors, a barn for gathering, a petting farm, and onsite playground for the kids.

Of course, camp fires, s’mores and stargazing are an integral part of this unique experience.

And talk about location. Guests can hike, fish and cycle nearby, plus, the resort is only a mile and a half to the main parkway leading to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.

Up, Up and Away

Aviation enthusiasts will love the one-of-a-kind Aircraft Hangar- Fort Worth, Texas vacation rental at Hicks Airfield. The aircraft hangar has been transformed into a two-story, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath lodge that also features a fully-furnished kitchen, living room, dining area and washer/dryer. 

With cottage styling and a retro flair, this is ideal for anyone looking to elevate their next VRBO stay.

All Aboard!

1929 Caboose- Lake Burton, GA
1929 Caboose- Lake Burton, GA- photo courtesy of VRBO

1929 Caboose- Lake Burton, Georgia gives guests the chance to stay in a historic, completely renovated 1929 caboose in the north Georgia mountains. Located just one mile from picturesque Lake Burton, the one-bedroom, one-bath red caboose with stunning mountain views can sleep two guests. A small dorm-room style kitchen includes a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker.

The caboose has undergone a complete restoration while keeping with the look of the luxury Pullman cars of yesteryear. The impressive caboose interior is accessorized with train paraphernalia and you’ll enjoy the utmost privacy without being bothered by a conductor looking for your ticket!

Wine Loft

The Wine Barrel for Two- Walla Walla, Washington is not only loft living at its finest, but this vacation rental barn sleeps up to six guests in its 1200-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bath home with an open floor plan concept that includes a kitchen, dining area, living room, fireplace and a deck/patio. Guests enjoy outdoor space on the 3.5-acre property that includes a swimming pool, play area and a fire pit.

What drew us to this property as a unique VRBO is that it includes a wine barrel that can actually sleep two guests. The only problem a group will have is deciding which oenophiles gets to sleep there!

Anchors Away

How does staying in a tug/houseboat sound? Tugboat, Charlottesville, Virginia is a luxurious boat floating on an eight-acre private lake with an island on 142 wooded acres that include five-plus miles of hiking trails. The three bedroom, one-full bath unit can sleep up to five and offers a kitchen, dining area and a patio/deck.

Lake life features fishing, paddle boarding or just relaxing on a private beach with fire pit. The property also houses farm animals like sheep, ducks, chickens and rabbits that guests can meet, pet and feed.

A skipper’s license is not required!

Escape from Reality

Interior of the Bloomhouse- Austin, TX
Interior of the Bloomhouse- Austin, TX- photo courtesy of VRBO

The Bloomhouse- Austin, Texas is definitely one of the most unusual vacation rentals we’ve ever seen. The idea for the bright white giant seashell unicorn structure came from two hippie University of Texas students in the 70s who decided to build their ‘escape from reality.’

After sitting empty for a while, the one-of-a-kind place was meticulously restored with period-specific details taking it back to its originally weird fascinating form. The 1,100-square foot, three bedroom, one-full bath structure without any straight lines or corners can sleep up to four.

Know there’s no ‘trip’ involved, but the place is gorgeous. If you book a stay here, you’ll have stories and bragging rights for a long time – that’s a guarantee.

Gypsy Fantasy

The two-bedroom Gypsy Wagon, Caribou Trail Wagon Camp, Montana is situated on a dirt road in a lake wilderness area in Lincoln County, Montana, a 15-minute drive from Eureka. If you’re into camping and off-the-beaten-trek experiences, this is definitely for you.

The wagons contain porta potties, shower stalls, a small sitting and outside kitchenette area, and of course, a fire pit with log seating. You really have to check out the décor to know why it’s called a gypsy wagon. It’s eclectic and colorful to say the least. Scarves, earrings and crystal ball not provided.

Fireman’s Bunkhouse

In April 1915, Engine Company No. 2 began operation in Wilmington, NC with six men, two horses, and a two-horse hose wagon. The downstairs firehouse now serves as an event venue and guests can book the stunningly beautiful upstairs two-bedroom, one bath Historic Firehouse- Wilmington, North Carolina apartment that was once used as the firemen’s’ bunkhouse.

With 1709-square-feet, the hip, open floor plan apartment can sleep six in its bedrooms and pull-out sofa. The unit boasts 14-foot ceilings, hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, concrete countertops, stainless steel kitchen appliances and original art in every room including pieces from renowned local artists. Dalmatians, however, are not part of the deal.

At One with God

A former Roman Catholic church, Church Sanctuary, West Dummerston, Vermont includes 25-foot cathedral ceilings, original stained-glass windows and curved sanctuary walls and archways. The 2,000-square foot home with three bedrooms and two-full baths can sleep up to six guests. The rental includes a full kitchen, living room and dining area. The kitchen boasts a six-burner double oven Garland Restaurant gas stove, double soapstone farm sink and detailed concrete countertops.

A master suite located in the extended choir loft includes a spacious bedroom and dressing room with a private bath, double-headed shower and claw-foot tub. Two small rooms on either side of what used to be the altar feature queen beds, a shared bath, and each has a skylight.

Stratton Mountain is just 30 minutes to the access road and it’s less than a 35-minute drive to Mount Snow for ski and ‘shoe fans. Brattleboro, just five minutes away, has been consistently voted as one of the best small towns in America.

The best part about staying here is no matter how much fun you have, you don’t have to go Confession in the morning.

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