When many of us think ‘vacation’ we think hotels, camping, or maybe a condo. When you’re traveling with kids, a kitchen is one of the very best and budget-friendly amenities a property can offer you, along with a separate place for the little people to sleep. One of my personal requirements is wherever we stay has to be cool, and cool can be interpreted a number of different ways. What if I told you that your family could book a private boat to take you through England, or that there were private cabins perched atop the Smoky Mountains just begging for your loved ones to come visit? Now what if I told you that in most cases many of these options are actually more affordable than a standard hotel stay — especially if you have a large family or are traveling with other families. There are fancy vacation homes all over the world, and in the case of the following properties, Wyndham Vacation Rentals serves as a liaison between guests and the owners of the homes (or condos or boats). This means you’ll have access to the hotel-like amenities, but instead of staying in your typical hotel you can find yourself in a farmhouse in Scotland, a maxi-tent in the French Alps or a luxurious cabin in the mountains.
Once you rent a vacation home, it’s kind of hard to go back to standard hotels. Here are just a few of the most unique vacation rentals available, just to give you an idea of what’s possible when you think outside the cookie-cutter hotel room.
Villa Maria Resort: Tenerife, Spain, Canary Islands 1 of 15
This private 3 bedroom/3 bath villa with a private pool is exactly the way I'd like to experience Spain. A beautiful golf course view that heads straight out to sea is a total bonus.
Black Bear Lodge Condos and Villas: Deer Valley, UT 2 of 15
You can choose 1-3 bedroom condo units with a cozy fireplace at this ski resort property in Deer Valley, Utah. Many of the units feature private balconies with hot tubs. If you've never sat in a hot tub under the stars when it's freezing outside, you've missed one of the best parts of winter. (It should be noted that the mountains in Utah are just as beautiful in summer.)
Knott’s Way 40 Private Home on Hilton Head Island, SC 3 of 15
This 6 bedroom/7 bath oceanfront home on Forest Beach in Hilton Head, South Carolina sleeps up to 18 people. Forget the family, let's book a ladies' weekend away or a sorority reunion.
Tame Valley Narrowboat: England, Stratford Canal 4 of 15
If you are or live with or know a bunch of Shakespeare nerds, THIS is the way to explore Stratford-upon-Avon. The boat sleeps up to 8 and is managed by a small one-family operated boatyard.
Learn more about this option here.
Trailhead Lodge Condo: Steamboat Springs, CO 5 of 15
This lodge in Steamboat Springs, CO offers studio to 3 bedroom condos with full kitchens, in-unit laundry and underground parking. It also just happens to be a multiple award-winning property with awards from various travel sites.
Majestic Overlook Private Cabin in Gatlinburg, TN 6 of 15
You could tell me that I'd have to sleep on the patio in this cabin and I wouldn't even blink. LOOK AT THAT VIEW! Not only can you stay (in a bed) in this cabin, but it sleeps up to 24 with its 12 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. This property really is an all-in-one hotel. Each guest has a private room and bathroom with plenty of common areas to gather and visit. This would be a great location for a family reunion, don't you think?
Degnish Farmhouse: Scotland 7 of 15
This beautiful farmhouse sits overlooking the hills, mountains, and waterways surrounding the working farm it is a part of. With access to nearly limitless outdoor activities, this is the type of place I'd love to experience in Scotland. Throw a few ponies in that field and all my dreams will come true. (*not so sure ponies are included, but plenty of other wildlife is subject to availability.)
Westridge Lodge Private Mountain Home: Breckenridge, CO 8 of 15
This fancy cabin sleeps up to 20 and is another ideal location for a family or friendly gathering. Those couches just beg for hot chocolate, stretchy pants, and a fire roaring in the background. (Unless it's summer, then you should be outside hiking all day and napping on those couches in the late afternoon sunshine later).
Baynard Cove Private Home on Hilton Head Island, SC 9 of 15
This private golf course-view home begs for you and 19 of your closest friends to come relax in its private pool and explore any number of Hilton Head's beaches. It's so nice to have all the comforts of home on vacation, and renting a home like this assures you a relaxing vacation.
Find out more about this property here.
Mystique Run Boat: England, River Thames 10 of 15
Looking for a way to travel England's waterways on the River Thames? These self-drive cruisers sleep up to 8 and are easy enough for a first-timer to handle. Sun decks provide relaxation in the day and Al Fresco dining at night. Another great and unique way to experience England.
Learn more about this option here.
Sea Colony Family Beach & Tennis Resort: Bethany Beach, DE 11 of 15
This a great resort for water and tennis lovers alike, with 12 community pools (including both indoor and kiddie pools) as well as beach access, there's no end to the things families can do together. Who would have thought Delaware could hold such an ideal vacation destination?
Brewlands Estate – Claypotts: Scotland 12 of 15
From the listing: "...situated on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park with a wild flower reserve nearby, and an abundance of wildlife, including ospreys and huge herds of deer. For 300 years Cistercian Monks spent half of each year at this peaceful place, making butter and cheese and brewing beer from the pure springs that continue to feed the houses. There are ancient wildflower meadows with rare wild yellow violets and orchids. Red squirrels live around the gardens and the walls support rare ferns and lichens which grow only in unpolluted places."
It sleeps up to 6, who's coming with me?
Main Street Station Resort Condo: Breckenridge, CO 13 of 15
This mountain villa sleeps up to 8 and has every comfort of home. A full kitchen and dining area as well as laundry and access to the mountains, shopping, skiing, shopping, and swimming in one of the resort pools.
Sky Road Private Cottage: Galway, Ireland 14 of 15
This detached house overlooking the Atlantic ocean and surrounding countryside is another desirable way to experience a European country. You see, my husband is a little uptight when it comes to traveling and having a private house gives him refuge from ALL! THE! PEOPLE! and overwhelming details of foreign travel that he doesn't process so well. Poor guy, get him a private cottage.
Cedar Lodge Private Cabin: Pigeon Forge, TN 15 of 15
All the windows and wood in these private cabins! Growing up in Utah, I've learned to appreciate a good cabin and these ones in Tennessee have the mountain views I love with the Southern charm I have fallen in love with. Imagine a week in this cabin hanging out with your family? Just picturing it I'm more relaxed.
All images provided by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.