Why stay in a ho-hum hotel when New England offers such a wild variety of quirky and unusual lodging options? Here are 10 properties so unique, your getaway will be memorable even if you never venture out.
Waking up in a covered wagon is unusual enough. Opening the door to views of the marshy Maine coast makes the experience seem even more out-of-the-ordinary. Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport was already Maine's ultimate glamping destination when it added "Unique Retreats" to its offerings in 2019, including a pair of Conestoga-style wagons. Each has a king bed, seating area, refrigerator, fan, air-conditioning, and WiFi: The pioneers who went West never had it so good! A short walk to the bathhouse is the only sacrifice you'll make, and it's a small tradeoff for a genuinely adventurous stay. Campers here can choose from a variety of other unique accommodations, too: safari tents, a clear-bubble dome, an Airstream, designer cottages, and Hideaway Huts. Whichever you choose, you'll enjoy on-site amenities, including a heated saltwater pool, lodge, general store, and bike and kayak rentals.
As enchanting as the treehouse of your youth with all of the luxuries you crave as an adult, this two-story hideaway is such fun, you won't ever want to check out. Built with the help of Yestermorrow Design/Build School students using environmentally sensitive practices, Moose Meadow Lodge's one-of-a-kind treehouse features inventive and distinctly Vermont touches including a sink custom-crafted from a rock found on-site. Located in Waterbury, Vermont—close to attractions, breweries, and outdoor adventures—it's tucked-away and tranquil, just steps from a trout fishing pond and hiking trails that delve into the 86-acre property. Book a stay mid-May through October: A delicious, Vermont-inspired breakfast in the lodge is included.
The most memorable getaway in Connecticut is this 60-acre woodland dotted with magical cabins that look built for adult-sized nymphs and elves. Yes, they are rustic—but oh so romantic—particularly the Mt. Laurel Cabin made of twirled vines. Views from the Summit Cabin are incomparable. The seven private cabins share a rustic kitchen in the woods, and outhouse facilities are available, as are five outdoor showers. This seasonal property is also known for its hiking trails (open free to the public), its emerald mountain of moss, a meditative labyrinth, and a stone barn used for events.
Airbnbs in New England run the gamut, and one of the coolest is this wigwam: a handbuilt labor of love on a working Massachusetts farm not far from Sturbridge. Couples love this cozy nest, which can be rented year-round (there's a wood stove). It's Native American traditional housing meets Scandinavian-inspired minimalist design, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature's scents and sounds in full. Honestly, who needs electricity? OK—if you're desperate, the owners will allow you to charge your phone in their home, and their shower is available to multi-night guests. There is a Sioux Tepee tucked among the trees on the same property, which gives you another out-of-the-ordinary option if the tent is booked.
Have you heard of Getaway? It's an expanding chain of tiny house resorts outside of major cities, where couples and families go to lock away their cell phones and reconnect with each other. The brainchild of Harvard Business School grads, the OG Getaway is outside of Boston in Epsom, New Hampshire, and its 42 cabins are dog-friendly and furnished with all the necessities for a stress-free escape. Just pack clothes, and go. You'll love gazing through oversized windows at the beauty outside as New England seasons change.
There isn't another place like Winvian in New England—or all of the world. Situated in Connecticut's Litchfield Hills, this Relais & Chateaux property is exclusive, exotic, and expensive. But can you put a price tag on spending a weekend in a cottage with its own vintage Sikorsky helicopter? Or a posh nest with a tree growing in its midst and its own interior waterfall? Each of the 18 cabins, some of which are dog-friendly, sprang from the imagination of a notable architect, and choosing from the fun array of options is your only chore. Prepare to feel otherwise pampered at this destination property with its own restaurant, pool, and spa.
If you're enchanted by lighthouses and stories of old about the heroics of their keepers, you'll adore overnighting at one of New England's historic lighthouses. There are several that offer stays, and for location, you can't beat Rose Island Lighthouse: just a short lobster-boat ride away from magnificent Newport, Rhode Island. Book a single, soothing night with views of the illuminated Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge or consider applying to serve as lighthouse keepers for a week. In addition to paying a fee for your family of up to four people to stay in the second-floor keeper's apartment, you'll help out with work projects that keep this lovely 1870 beacon shipshape.
Every night is Halloween—only scarier—at Adventure Suites in North Conway, New Hampshire. That is if you're among the brave souls who book the Haunted Castle Suite instead of one of the tamer (but still pretty wild) options like The Cave, The Jungle, or The Love Shack. Unlike real haunted hotels with ghosts roaming about, the Haunted Castle Suite is the world's first simulated haunted hotel room, and that means the spine tingles are guaranteed. The massive, five-level suite's creepy effects are touted as Disney-level, and you'll be glad you can bring a posse of up to 18 people to share the overnight experience. Not just so you'll always have someone to cling to, but because paying $1,500 to $2,000 per night on your own would genuinely be a horror.
Camp Out in a Tipi at Lake Compounce Amusement Park
Wait 'til you tell the kids you're going to America's oldest theme park, and you're spending the night! Bear Creek Campground offers Lake Compounce visitors old-fashioned thrills like night-sky gazing, marshmallow toasting, and horseshoe tossing. In addition to tent and RV sites, there are one- and two-bedroom cabins and cute little Cub Huts to rent, but the unique opportunity here is overnighting in a hand-built tipi. Each of these Native American-inspired tents can accommodate up to five cots, and there's electricity, so you won't have to rough it. A tram operates between the campground and the amusement park gates, and campers get discounted admission to this enduring family play place and its Crocodile Cove water park.
Entrepreneur Neil Malik's passion for sailing and global adventure has fueled the growth of a truly unique New England enterprise: Sleep Aboard. Now with a collection of 20 houseboats and yachts available to overnight guests, he's given travelers an alternative to ho-hum hotel stays. Providence, the company's original location, is still a top choice for those who want to experience life afloat in an urban marina just steps from cool bars and restaurants. East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and Boston locations have been added, and each floating hideaway has its own unique charms. The M/V Yacht Basil, a 61-foot stunner that sleeps four to eight, is moored in Providence and the flagship of the fleet.