9 Unconventional Lodging Places in Washington and Idaho

Would You Spend a Night in an Unusual Place?

Although the Pacific Northwest is full of top-rated hotels and conventional accommodation options, travelers who are looking for a quirky stay that is a destination in itself won’t be disappointed. If you are planning a future trip when non-essential travel guidelines are relaxed, check out our list of unconventional accommodations — from themed cabooses to lookout towers, treehouses and more.

(Check for road alerts before you go, and call or go online to confirm the availability of specific attractions and services such as fuel, lodging, restaurants, seasonal events and gatherings.)

1. Vintage Travel Trailers

In Seaview, Washington, on the Long Beach Peninsula, the accommodations at the Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort range from rooms in the lodge to RV spaces, campsites and cabins. The resort has a fleet of more than 30 vintage travel trailers from the 1950s and 60s. There is even a vintage Blue Bird Bus outfitted with a kitchen and a deep soaking tub.

Photo: Courtesy of Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort

2. Lighthouses

Along the Washington coast you can book a stay in the keeper’s quarters of several light stations, including Point No Point Lighthouse & Park (pictured) in Hansville, at the northern end of the Kitsap Peninsula and at Cape Disappointment State Park, at the base of the Long Beach Peninsula. The Lighthouse Keeper Program at the New Dungeness Lighthouse, near Sequim, Washington, allows visitors to stay in the lighthouse for a week while performing maintenance duties. The U.S. Lighthouse Society has a list of other options. Be sure to check before you plan your trip as many are closed because of COVID-19.

Photo: iStock

3. Retired Cabooses

Six authentic and charmingly converted cabooses come complete with fireplaces, queen beds, bathrooms, Wi-Fi, cable TV and DVD players at the Red Caboose Getaway, a bed and breakfast in Sequim, Washington. “Passengers” can book stays in the Circus Train, the Orient Express, the Lavender Limited or one of the other uniquely themed cabooses. The dining car is currently closed due to COVID-19 concerns, but breakfasts are delivered outside each caboose door.

Photo: Courtesy of Red Caboose Getaway

4. Tiny Houses

Near Leavenworth, Washington, the Leavenworth Tiny House Village rents five Bavarian-themed, glamp-worthy tiny houses at the Leavenworth RV Campground. The houses range from 180 to 300 square feet, have sleeping areas, full bathrooms and kitchens, and Bavarian names: Adeline, Belle, Hanna, Otto and Rudolf.

Photo: Courtesy of Leavenworth Tiny House Village

5. Conestoga Wagons

At Downata Hot Springs, in Downey, Idaho, 42 miles from Pocatello, guests can rent a cabin, a yurt or one of six tricked-out Conestoga wagons that look like they just pulled off the Oregon Trail. In addition to canvas tops and fully functioning wheels, the wagons have amenities pioneers could only dream of, including refrigerators, microwaves, air-conditioning, heating and king-size beds.

Photo: Courtesy of Downata Hot Springs

6. Teepees

In Zillah, Washington, guests at Cherry Wood sleep in 22-foot luxury teepees overlooking Yakima Valley fields and orchards. The teepees have big beds, compact refrigerators and a rustic, western decor. BBQ grills, open-air showers and outdoor soaking tubs take advantage of the secluded setting. Cherry Wood also is a horse rescue ranch and offers winery tours of the area via horseback.

Photo: Courtesy of Cherry Wood

7. Glamping Tents

Falling Water Gardens in Monroe, Washington is best known for its gorgeous display gardens, koi ponds and water features. The 10-acre site also has two furnished glamping tents available for overnight stays. Guests may explore the gardens after hours, visit with the farm animals, play chess on a giant chess board and enjoy the nursery at night when it’s lit.

Photo: Courtesy of Seattle NorthCountry

8. Tree Houses

TreeHouse Point has six treehouses tucked into the forest in Fall City, Washington that look and feel like cozy furnished cabins once you get inside. Treehouses have electricity, heat, mattresses, and linens, with common-use bathrooms on the ground. 

Photo: TreeHouse Point

9. Lookout Towers

Washington and Idaho offer overnight lodging in some fire lookout towers. While offering incredible views and the ultimate in social-distance lodging, these sites can be quite rustic. For example, it’s a 2.7-mile hike to the 14-by-14-foot Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout in Washington’s Mount Spokane State Park, 30 miles northeast of Spokane. The tower provides wraparound views of the Spokane valley, the north Idaho panhandle and the Selkirk Mountains, but only has single beds and no electricity.

The Crystal Peak Lookout (pictured) on Crystal Ridge, near Fernwood, Idaho is a relocated lookout tower that is equally remote (access is by 4WD vehicle or, in winter, by snowmobile), but a bit more homey, with a queen bed and bedding and a wood-burning stove and sauna. Check recreation.gov for more lookout tower options.

Photo: Courtesy of Visit Spokane

1. Vintage Travel Trailers

In Seaview, Washington, on the Long Beach Peninsula, the accommodations at the Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort range from rooms in the lodge to RV spaces, campsites and cabins. The resort has a fleet of more than 30 vintage travel trailers from the 1950s and 60s. There is even a vintage Blue Bird Bus outfitted with a kitchen and a deep soaking tub.

Photo: Courtesy of Sou’wester Historic Lodge and Vintage Travel Trailer Resort

2. Lighthouses

Along the Washington coast you can book a stay in the keeper’s quarters of several light stations, including Point No Point Lighthouse & Park (pictured) in Hansville, at the northern end of the Kitsap Peninsula and at Cape Disappointment State Park, at the base of the Long Beach Peninsula. The Lighthouse Keeper Program at the New Dungeness Lighthouse, near Sequim, Washington, allows visitors to stay in the lighthouse for a week while performing maintenance duties.The U.S. Lighthouse Society has a list of other options. Be sure to check before you plan your trip as many are closed because of COVID-19.

Photo: iStock

3. Retired Cabooses

Six authentic and charmingly converted cabooses come complete with fireplaces, queen beds, bathrooms, Wi-Fi, cable TV and DVD players at the Red Caboose Getaway, a bed and breakfast in Sequim, Washington. “Passengers” can book stays in the Circus Train, the Orient Express, the Lavender Limited or one of the other uniquely themed cabooses. The dining car is currently closed due to COVID-19 concerns, but breakfasts are delivered outside each caboose door.

Photo: Courtesy of Red Caboose Getaway

4. Tiny Houses

Near Leavenworth, Washington, the Leavenworth Tiny House Village rents five Bavarian-themed, glamp-worthy tiny houses at the Leavenworth RV Campground. The houses range from 180 to 300 square feet, have sleeping areas, full bathrooms and kitchens, and Bavarian names: Adeline, Belle, Hanna, Otto and Rudolf.

Photo: Courtesy of Leavenworth Tiny House Village

5. Conestoga Wagons

At Downata Hot Springs, in Downey, Idaho, 42 miles from Pocatello, guests can rent a cabin, a yurt or one of six tricked-out Conestoga wagons that look like they just pulled off the Oregon Trail. In addition to canvas tops and fully functioning wheels, the wagons have amenities pioneers could only dream of, including refrigerators, microwaves, air-conditioning, heating and king-size beds.

Photo: Courtesy of Downata Hot Springs

6. Teepees

In Zillah, Washington, guests at Cherry Wood sleep in 22-foot luxury teepees overlooking Yakima Valley fields and orchards. The teepees have big beds, compact refrigerators and a rustic, western decor. BBQ grills, open-air showers and outdoor soaking tubs take advantage of the secluded setting. Cherry Wood also is a horse rescue ranch and offers winery tours of the area via horseback.

Photo: Courtesy of Cherry Wood

7. Glamping Tents

Falling Water Gardens in Monroe, Washington is best known for its gorgeous display gardens, koi ponds and water features. The 10-acre site also has two furnished glamping tents available for overnight stays. Guests may explore the gardens after hours, visit with the farm animals, play chess on a giant chess board and enjoy the nursery at night when it’s lit.

Photo: Courtesy of Seattle NorthCountry

8. Tree Houses

TreeHouse Point has six treehouses tucked into the forest in Fall City, Washington that look and feel like cozy furnished cabins once you get inside. Treehouses have electricity, heat, mattresses, and linens, with common-use bathrooms on the ground.

Photo: Courtesy of TreeHouse Point

9. Lookout Towers

Washington and Idaho offer overnight lodging in some fire lookout towers. While offering incredible views and the ultimate in social-distance lodging, these sites can be quite rustic. For example, it’s a 2.7-mile hike to the 14-by-14-foot Quartz Mountain Fire Lookout in Washington’s Mount Spokane State Park, 30 miles northeast of Spokane. The tower provides wraparound views of the Spokane valley, the north Idaho panhandle and the Selkirk Mountains, but only has single beds and no electricity.

The Crystal Peak Lookout (pictured) on Crystal Ridge, near Fernwood, Idaho is a relocated lookout tower that is equally remote (access is by 4WD vehicle or, in winter, by snowmobile), but a bit more homey, with a queen bed and bedding and a wood-burning stove and sauna. Check recreation.gov for more lookout tower options.

Photo: Courtesy of Visit Spokane

–Written by Harriet Baskas

Find More Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Travel Experience

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This