At some point, sitting down to another breakfast buffet, shuffling the kids to the hotel pool, and cramming into cookie-cutter quarters at night becomes routine when you’re family travel road warriors. It would be nice not just to see something different, but sleep somewhere different, too.
For those of us who long to find a unique place to lay our heads at night, luck is on our side. From ultra glamour camping to sleeping in a real train car, these kid-friendly accommodations deliver on unique intrigue and comfort.
Yurts at Cloudland Canyon State Park, Georgia
Image credit at the top of the page: Georgia Dept of Natural Resources
Some might say that heading up three floors to get some ice at the hotel is roughing it. Others are eager to throw their stuff in a tent and call it a night. Or you can meet somewhere in the middle and sleep in a Yurt that combines the great outdoors with creature comforts.
Head to the Southeast and go glamping at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia. Your kids will love sleeping under the stars, while you’ll love its heated interior in winter, real wooden floor and canvas walls, actual furniture to sleep up to six people, and doors that lock. And get this: these glamour camping yurts are even outfitted with electrical outlets to charge up your phone or put on some music to enjoy while telling ghost stories over the fire ring outside. It’s true you’ll still have to walk over to the bathhouse for a hot shower and flush toilets, but we figure that’s just part of the roughing it side of glamping.
Pullman Train Car, Chattanooga Choo Choo
If you’ve always wanted to shout, “All aboard!” here’s your chance. Chattanooga is home to the whimsical Pullman Train Car that is just begging for kids to come and stay awhile. Their historic collection of Pullman Train Cars dates back to the 1930s, 40s, and 50s that have been updated into unique guest rooms complete with a queen size bed. There’s also a pull-out trundle bed for families with little ones looking to get their train on.
Be warned your kids will likely lose their minds when they realize they’re going to actually sleep in a real-life train car. In fact, they may be ruined for train travel forever when they see plush beds, working televisions, and hotel-like amenities welcoming them. “Where’s the flat screen TV, Mom?” will likely be heard on your next train trip across the country.
Flying Ham rentals, Nashville
Family travelers with romantic notions of traveling the world by vintage RV can get in on the fun by booking a ham-style travel trailer with the Flying Ham in Nashville. These 2015 Shasta Airflyte trailers are reissued and look just like the real thing straight out of the original 1961 edition. Bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, LED lighting, and even Bluetooth speakers treat families to luxury. The Flying Ham team will even drop off and pick-up your Shasta so you can focus on family togetherness.
It just makes sense that masterminds Ashley and Morgan, the team behind The Flying Ham, are also seasoned family travelers. After a trip Montana, the married duo realized they just didn’t want to come back home to Nashville and were bone tired of the grind. Morgan eventually quit his job and they packed up the kids and started traveling. Now they’re living the dream of a flexible lifestyle instead of waiting until they retire to have all the fun.
Wigwam Village Motel #6, Arizona
Nestled in the hot Arizona desert near Route 66, the Wigwam Village Motel #6 features 15 concrete and steel freestanding teepees. The owner decided to call them wigwams instead and history was made. But don’t worry, you won’t need to rough it and lead the kiddos to an outhouse in the middle of the night. These wigwams come with their own private bathrooms complete with a toilet and a shower. There’s also a television and air conditioner, which is an absolute must during a hot Arizona summer.
Guests keen to explore the grounds can visit a small museum near the front office. Here you’ll find a collection of Native American artifacts, Civil War memorabilia, Route 66 collectibles and one seriously odd petrified wood collection. This place is full of fascinating history, and we’re not the only ones who think so. The Wigwam Village Motel #6 made it onto the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
Dog Bark Park, Idaho
Can we talk? It turns out there’s a World’s Biggest Beagle, and your family can actually sleep in it! The Dog Park Inn is a bed and breakfast guest house nestled inside the World’s Biggest Beagle where guests enter from a private second story deck. Over at the dog head, a loft room with more sleeping space accommodates larger families while your kids cozy up in the alcove of the muzzle.
The owners and artists, who specialize in creating folk-art style wooden carvings with chainsaws, create the wooden dogs dotting the landscape themselves. Their repertoire of dogs includes over 60 breeds and multiple poses. They also thought about what their guest would like and include all the regular amenities you love like a full bath, small fridge, air conditioner, and self-serve snacking options. And just for fun, there’s also a variety of books, games, and puzzles to keep your family busy.
If glamping isn’t impressive enough to your kids, now there’s glacier glamping! Although you’re not sleeping on a real glacier that’s covered in ice, Glacier National Park is pretty spectacular and known to Native American tribes as the “Backbone of the World.” You can soak up all its natural wonder with a high-end glamping experience.
For a one-of-a-kind lodging option at Glacier National Park in Montana, Under Canvas connects guests to nature without compromising on comfort. Kids get that larger than life feel of sleeping near waterfalls and wildlife, while parents appreciate the ultra deluxe accommodations. There’s even a private suite with an ensuite bathroom inside the tent with a shower, sink, roll top bath, and flushing toilet.
The James New York – Soho
Give your kids a bohemian adventure in Soho NYC with an upscale twist at the James Hotel. This is the quintessential spot for little artists with its own on-site art gallery that showcases both local and international artists.
Despite the luxury artistic vibe, the James Hotel caters to kids and apparently knows how to bribe them into talking Mom and Dad into coming back. Kids scoop up milk and cookies at bedtime over children’s books and classic board games. And because this place is a creative hotspot, The James includes coloring books and art supplies for its creative geniuses. After all of that artistic inspiration, kids can cool off with a seasonal rooftop plunge complete with inflatable toys.
Camping at Floyd Bennett Field, New York City
If you’re looking to get out of the city that never sleeps, you can hit the campgrounds at Floyd Bennett Field in New York City. Camping out under the stars without leaving the city limits kind of blew our minds, but it is a real thing. Some 32 tent sites and 9 RV parking sites welcome groups with up to six people per single site. It’s also super affordable and full of opportunities to explore the nearby Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge center, historic Floyd Bennett Field, and multi-use Rockaway Gateway Greenway path for a bike ride or a stroll.
There is a bit of a catch. Floyd Bennett Field is located near Laguardia and JFK. That means airplanes taking off and landing is just part of the cacophony of sounds that likely won’t lull you to sleep. Be advised it can get loud, so bring plenty of earplugs and turn it into an adventure by watching the planes go by!
So there you have it. Whether you want to delight your children by sleeping inside of an enormous dog or play Wild, Wild West in a concrete wigwam, there are still plenty of unique, kid-friendly accommodations your whole family will enjoy. The hard part is narrowing down where to go first.
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