Staying somewhere super cool doesn't have to break the bank. Opting for a vacation rental rather than a hotel can be an affordable choice for many families, as you often get more space and home-like conveniences for less money.
The vacation rental site HomeAway just hit a landmark one million listings, which makes it nearly twice the size of any other vacation rental company. Options run the gamut from conventional houses and cottages to truly unusual properties that are guaranteed to make your vacation a memorable experience.
Here are just some of the many unique and family-friendly properties listed on HomeAway where you can stay for less than $200 a night:
Castle in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains
This mock castle sits on 10 private acres in the Smoky Mountains and dazzles inside and out with regal bedrooms and knightly displays of weaponry. It even has a drawbridge.
Prices start at $135 a night. Minimum stay is 2 nights. Sleeps 4.
Adobe Casita in New Mexico's Wilderness
Set in northern New Mexico's hill country, this authentic adobe casita features viga ceilings, southwestern decor, and works by local artists. With myriad hiking options just outside the door, this is a great choice for nature-loving families.
Prices start at $135 a night. Minimum stay is 3 nights. Sleeps 5.
Caboose in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley
Climb aboard this fully restored 1920s C&O caboose located near Virginia’s beautiful Natural Bridge and the historic town of Lexington.
Prices start at $165 a night. Minimum stay is 2 nights. Sleeps 4.
Houseboat in the Florida Keys
This "Big Bamboo" houseboat is a memorable place to stay in Key Largo, Florida, slipped at the end of a dock so you have a boat on one side and the beach on the other. You'll get amazing views plus use of a paddle board, kayaks and two bicycles.
Prices start at $147 a night. Minimum stay is 4 nights. Sleeps 6.
Tipi in South Texas
Spending the night in one of these Geronimo Creek Tipis in Seguin, Texas, means connecting with nature while taking advantage of modern conveniences such as a private bathroom, air conditioning, satellite TV, kitchenette with sink, under-counter refrigerator and stove top.
Prices start at $152 a night. Minimum stay is 1-3 nights. Sleeps 6.
Treehouse in Central Minnesota
Your kids will love spending the night in this rustic treehouse in Long Prairie, Minnesota. The main room features a queen bed, wrap around porch and dining area. This experience is similar to cabin camping and will take you back to a bygone era of lanterns and outhouses.
Prices start at $150 a night. No minimum stay. Sleeps 5.
Barn in Southwestern Vermont
This beautifully converted barn with its rafters and loft intact makes a magnificent base from which to explore the idyllic countryside and charming towns of southwestern Vermont.
Prices start at $104 a night. Minimum stay is 2-4 nights. Sleeps 6.
Houseboat on California's San Francisco Bay
Located on the waterfront in lovely Sausalito, this charming houseboat offers views of San Francisco, enough space for a family of five, and bikes and kayaks for you to use.
Prices start at $167 a night. Minimum stay is 7 nights. Sleeps 5.