Instead of staying at a boring hotel during your 2023 travels, why not consider one of these unique accommodations located across the Midwest? Renting through VRBO, Airbnb, or directly from the owners, the following properties offer a chance to mix it up and experience something truly different. Let’s say I was inspired by my post of uniquely shaped buildings from a month ago when picking these options. Maybe you don’t want to live in an A-frame on a daily basis but wouldn’t turn down the chance to vacation in one for a short time. Whether it’s staying in a geodesic dome under the stars in Minnesota or an architectural oddity in northern Iowa, you’ll see there is definitely a place for everyone.
The word “klarhet” translates to clarity in both Swedish and Norwegian. Located on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Lutsen, Minnesota, these four geodesic domes offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to harmonize with nature by sleeping under the starry sky. Each dome has the same layout but a different theme — the ground floor has a bedroom with bathroom and shower, a kitchenette, and a fireplace. There’s a second bed up a ladder in loft space. A two-night minimum stay is required on this 25-acre hobby farm that includes chickens and goats. The spaces come with in-floor heat, passive solar gain, and a gas fireplace to keep the space comfortable in the winter.
Looking for a quick yet quiet getaway located only 60 miles from Chicago? A fairly popular option is this tiny cabin that’s part of Tryon Farm, a community of 65 modern but environmentally sensitive homes in Michigan City, Indiana. Just 750 square feet, this cozy two-story Airbnb offers a chance to connect with nature, located in a protected 120-acre natural area. There are five-plus miles of walking and biking trails and 40-plus acres of open grass meadows, creeks, and ponds. The home is just down the road from Shady Creek Winery and Long Beach public access.
The resort hotel known as Chalet on the Lake is spread across 36 acres in Stevensville, Michigan. Dating back to the early 1970s, more than 50 A-frame duplexes are grouped together to create a one-of-a-kind vacation experience. Each unit has two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, and living room and can accommodate as many as six guests. The screened porches are perfect for watching sunsets over Lake Michigan. Located near Grand Mere State Park and other Harbor Country attractions, this unique community comes with beach access, heated swimming pools, pickleball, and tennis courts.
Just down the street from the Surf Ballroom & Museum where Buddy Holly played his last concert, you’ll find the largest rental available in Clear Lake, Iowa. And it just so happens to be shaped like a pyramid. The six-bedroom, three-bathroom home is perfect for giant family gatherings as it can easily fit 16 guests in the 5,600-square-foot space. The home is located right across from the lake, plus there is a theater room, rec room, multiple kitchens and patios. There is also an option to just renting the upper two floors of the property, which includes the observation floor with its $10,000 glass pointed roof.
Tucked away in four acres of the Ozark forest in Galena, Missouri, is a form of architecture adapted from Mongolian culture: a wooden, multi-story yurt. Bill Coperthwaite, who pioneered yurt building in the United States, designed and built what was originally a home and pottery studio for Tom Hess and Lory Brown in the 1970s. To this day, the property is sprinkled with pieces of Tom’s ceramics. Through the hobbit-like doorway of the round main cabin you’ll find a kitchen, living room nook, and bedroom. There is a covered walkway to the second yurt, which is now a bathroom.