I’m all about cheap vacations. I’m all about frugal. I know all about weird and strange. Who would have thought that you could combine all three? When you think about budget travel, do you automatically picture dingy motels along the roadside and bedbugs to snuggle down with at night? Sends chills up my spine! Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are some strange but wonderful campsites, hotels, even bed and breakfasts in Canada and the United States that are weird and wonderful. Do you like dogs? Would like to stay in one? I know… “WHAT!?” There is an inn shaped like a dog in Idaho. How about living in a sphere? Did I mention that it was in a rain forest? And you get to pick from three kinds. Curious yet?
You won’t need pictures to remember this vacation
Let’s get the Dog Bark Park Inn out of the way so you can stop wondering about it. In a little part of Idaho called Cottonwood stands a 35-feet tall giant that you could swear looks just like a beagle. That’s because it is a beagle. The largest one in fact, in the world, made out of wood. Your bed and breakfast hosts are artists in woodcarving as well as the creators. Of course, your four legged friend is welcome, wouldn’t it be silly if they weren’t? A large outdoor staircase leads you to your temporary accommodations which contain a dog belly full of two twin size beds, a queen-sized bed and a complete bathroom. A hearty breakfast and games are this B&B’s amenities. One-night in the doghouse can range anywhere between $85 and $93.00 a night, with an extra fee of $10.00 for the four-legged buddy you might bring along.
She sells seashells
And you can stay by the seashore for your next vacation… in a lighthouse. Now I don’t know about you, but I happen to have a very serious love affair going with seaside destinations. I don’t know how long I could live in a lighthouse but I could certainly stay in one for a brief vacation. I don’t know that I’d spend that much time inside a lighthouse anyway. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be on the shore under a palm tree sipping a Mai Tai. Of course I probably had to make it myself since most lighthouses don’t have luxury restaurants and bars attached to them. Luckily that’s not a problem, for me.
But it’s true, Canada and the United States have a whole boatload of non-retired lighthouses that are masquerading as hostels, inns and B and B’s. The Big Sable Point Lighthouse, in Lake Michigan, allows a week’s stay as a volunteer keeper of the lighthouse. Sounds like fun. Newport Rhode Island has a great little overnight spot called the Rose Island Lighthouse; and California’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel used to be an authentic lighthouse that is now a rest station for weary travelers. There are many more lighthouses at which one can stay. Some are free and some have low rates dependent on their location.
You’re going to spend the night in jail
And you’ll enjoy it, too. For anywhere from $80.00 to $145 (‘furnishings’ determine rates) Bardstown Kentucky will throw you in jail for the night. The ‘Bourbon Capital of the World’ is home to the Jailer’s Inn… It’s a hotel. The rooms are decorated with antique treasures or you can really get into character with a stay in the white and black ‘jail cell’, which contains two plain bunk beds. Don’t worry you’ll get a hearty breakfast and even your own bathroom. And no, bread and water are not the only things on the menu.
OK, OK… I know you’re wondering about the sphere in the rain forest
They’re called Free Spirit Spheres and they can be found in British Columbia, at Qualicum Beach. The spheres, which are handcrafted wood, seemingly float amidst cedar and maple trees. If you want to get back to nature, you don’t get any more back to nature than this. Somehow, they’ve stuffed a bed into one nine feet in diameter ‘room’. That particular residence is named Eve. The next step up to the Eryn allows you a loft, bed, cupboards, small refrigerator and dishes in a whole 10 ½ feet. Throw a couple more bucks at it and you can enjoy the spacious atmosphere offered by the Melody. This sphere differs in that it is made of fiberglass with an interior of black walnut and includes a Murphy bed. This might sound like fun in a tree house, but it’s not for children. 16 years and over are allowed to stay in these floating circles for $135 to $205 a night. They do offer a two night stay discount.
The rates shown here may not be the cheapest, but I challenge anyone to come up with a more memorable vacationing experience in overnight stays, for those prices!