Fantasy vacations are hard to come by for under thousands of dollars. But there are locations throughout the United States and Canada that not only seem like a fantasy but are fabulously unforgettable. You can bring your camera or your video recorder but trust me; you’ll remember this vacation for a long, long time… even without the pictures. Let’s start off with a lesson in history. Oh stop groaning, it’ll be fun. I promise.
Wild Wigwams – WigWam Motel
San Bernardino California is not only home to the infamous highway, U.S. route 66; it is also home to 30 foot-tall teepees, a total of 19 of them. Families have been coming here to rest and relax in the soothing, lazy atmosphere of Inland Empire since 1949. The tepees each include Serta Perfect Sleeper Beds, HBO and Wi-Fi… Something that I’m sure all of the Indians appreciated back in the day. And they don’t circle around a covered wagon, they encircle a pool. They are constructed from concrete, wood and stucco and will cost you approximately $77.00 a night for one person, or 2 people can stay for approximately $88.00. Oh, and it’s BYOPP… Bring your own Peace Pipe.
Afraid of heights? Then you might want to skip this one – Lookout Stations
In the beautiful forests of California, Oregon, Montana, Washington (for starters) are the Forest Fire Lookouts. And they are exactly what you’re thinking; those big, tall, really high (like three or two stories high) towers that used to serve as fire lookouts. You won’t need an exercise room because the climb up and down the endless flight of stairs will certainly be enough exercise to last you. The good news is that the tower’s all yours. You will be perched atop the mountain ranges with dense forests and endless panoramic views. Most of these lookout stations turned inns include heat, bedding, chairs and tables. It is simplicity at its best. When you’re online researching your next vacation, check out the website for the National Recreation Reservation Service. When it asks you for a facility name or park, type in ‘lookout’. Before your very eyes more than 70 Forest Fire Lookout Inns will appear. Amenities and location determine each state’s rates.
So you’re afraid of heights. Do you get seasick? – Floating Inn
If you’ve got as much as $120 a night all the way down to $80.00 a night, you can have a one of a kind stay in Key Largo Florida at a place called the Floating Inn. And once again, it is exactly what it sounds like. Where else can you stay in your hotel room while fishing? Talk about your water beds, you can gently float off to sleep—literally—with the soft sway of the waves. The structure is custom-built and sits in only 3 feet of saltwater; surrounded by a mangrove treed cove. There’s no chance of floating out to sea because the 60 foot-long structure is anchored solidly; this also assists in eliminating seasickness and rocky rides from the tropical winds. You’ve not seen a sunrise until you’ve seen the sunrise from the Floating Inn.
Now we get a little closer to my neck of the woods – The Northern Rail Traincar Suites
Ever wonder what it was like to ride the rails in the 1930s? You had to catch a few winks whenever you could if you were one of the ‘free’ travelers that hopped on freight trains as they slowly chugged by. You won’t be expected to sleep on the floor like those guys did; you, quite just the opposite, will snuggle down into an upscale boxcar that has been renovated but never actually departs from the main building designed after a train depot. The Northern Rail Traincar Suites will charge $139 during the summer months but rates begin at $87.00 when the weather turns chilly. And the weather does get chilly in Duluth Minnesota! That’s where you’ll find these suites; Two Harbors Minnesota. The area is made up of some of Lake Superior’s northernmost picturesque pine and birch forests. Next time you’re in Duluth Minnesota, a quick 20 minute drive can land you a unique train ‘ride’ into the past.
If you can put your book down long enough, you’ll love it here – Leavensworth Innsbrucker Inn
A bibliophile’s dream—no, that’s not a dirty old man—can be found in Leavensworth Washington. Any avid reader will be swept back to the days of reading your favorite book by flashlight beneath the blankets of your bed. The Innsbrucker Inn is one of the only hotels that I have heard of that is specifically literary-themed. Built above a bookstore (no kidding) the inn offers six suites. Each has to do with beloved books and favorite authors. There is a Wonka-fied Chocolate Sweet or a Secret Garden with floral highlights. This part of Leavenworth is an appropriate Bavarian-style town. $140 a night down to $99.00 for one night is what you’ll pay for a stay at this reader’s resort.