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How to Find and Book Unique Hotels for your Next Vacation

Think outside the standard hotel room when you find and book unique hotels and other properties that will make your next vacation memorable. 

Tips to help you find and book unique hotels and other lodging options on your next vacation.

I’m all about unique hotels and places to stay when I’m not van camping. And surprisingly, sometimes reserving a unique hotel doesn’t cost much more than what you’d pay to stay at a standard property.

You see news stories and features of bungalows with a great sea view, treehouses in the Amazon, and even a giant spud in Idaho that you can rent for a night or two, but how do you actually book these unique hotel experiences?

Finding and booking these experiences isn’t always easy. This is why I’m going to show you how to find and book these unique properties for your next vacation.

How to Find and Book Unique Hotels 

The Hocking Hills Caboose is a former working caboose turned family-friendly cabin in Hocking Hills.Do your research

The first place to start when finding unique properties is to simply look up hotels and experiences by the place you want to stay. The internet will have a ton of lists that say things like the Top 10 Best Resorts with Pools and other helpful links that can give you some insight into what you’ll find in the area. If you are looking for something really unique, type Unique hotels in ___. This will usually give you some insight into what’s in the area.

For example, if I’m Googling the term unique lodging in Ohio, I’ll find castles, treehouses and a caboose to name a few. You can read about those here————–> 7 Unique Places to Stay in Ohio

Don’t limit your search by price

If you are looking for a really great hotel experience, you won’t be able to really limit your resort by price. Many of these hotels are going to cost more than your average hotel. If you limit your price, you may end up missing these options altogether. Instead, keep your searches open-ended to see what you come across. You never know, you may find a great deal.

Look outside of hotels

Hotels are not where you’ll typically find unique lodging options. Instead, you may opt to search Airbnb. I’ve found roundhouses, Lustron homes, and properties with historic significance.  If you prefer to stay at hotels, search the term boutique hotels in ________ and you may find some interesting options.

This is what I did when my husband and I traveled to Europe last fall. We ended up staying in a historic hotel (I think everything is historic in Europe though) in an excellent location in Edinburgh and an adorable boutique property in Ireland. 

If you’re new to Airbnb and book through this link I can save you $55 off your first stay. 

Sleep in a teepee motel.

Search for Unique Properties on TripAdvisor

A quick search of unique places to stay in the United States on TripAdvisor pulled up the following: 

The Northern Rail Traincar Inn in Minnesota

Spend the night in a houseboat at The Green Turtle Floating Bed and Breakfast in Boston —–> If you’re heading that way, check out our guide, How to Spend 3 Fabulous Days in Boston (a Complete Itinerary)

The Teton Teepee Lodge in Wyoming offers incredible views surrounded by nature.

Sleep on a boat when you book a stay on The Queen Mary in California.

Have you ever thought about sleeping in a cave? You can do just that at the Kokopelli Cave Bed and Breakfast in New Mexico.

Sleep on a riverboat with views of the gorgeous Yaquina Bay at The Newport Belle Bed & Breakfast in Oregon

The Yotel in NYC offers trendy lodging at affordable pricing. My daughter and I enjoyed our stay.

It doesn’t get much more unique and one-of-a-kind in the elaborate rooms at The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo in California which is why this location is on my bucket list. 

Another bucket list property, especially if you love roadside attractions, is the Dog Bark Park Inn in Idaho, they even have room for your four-legged friend. 

The Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast in Minnesota offers stunning views of Lake Superior.

Stroll through an art gallery on the way to your room at the 21C Museum and Hotel in Cincinnati.

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is like no other hotel on this list. Could there be anything better than sitting on that porch enjoying a sunset over the water? 

Bibliophiles will fall in love with the Library Hotel in New York City. 

The Drury Plaza Hotel in Cleveland is the former Cleveland Board of Education Building and the educational theme continues throughout. My co-author and I thought the property was unique enough to include it in our book about Cleveland

Find out what the tiny house craze is all about when you stay at the Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel in Oregon

You’ll find the Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, Kentucky nearly exactly the same as it was when this teepee resort was built around the Great Depression. Perfect for those seeking a bit of nostalgia.  


Book Far in Advance if Possible

When it comes to well-known properties that are a bit quirky, you may find that you need to book far in advance. For instance, the Dog Bark Park Inn fills up far in advance and the Rough Rider Cabins at Yellowstone do too. While I loved my stay in the national park, it wasn’t possible to extend our stay because it was booked out.  

The Tin Shed Treeshouse is tucked amid the woods at The Mohicans.

Other places to Find Unique Lodging

In addition to the properties I’ve listed above, you’ll also find unique lodging at and

No matter where you’re traveling, I hope that these tips will help you book amazing hotels to make your next vacation that much better!

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