Out'n'About Treesort, Takilma, Oregon There are 13 arboreal aeries — some cantilevered, some on stilts, and all with comfy beds. The spacious Treeroom Suite has a kitchenette and full bath and the Swiss Family Complex has a playhouse connected to its sleeping quarters by a swinging bridge. Other features include:
- The highest accommodations is 37 feet off the ground and has a pulley system for hoisting gear
- A stone-lined swimming pool fed by the East Fork Illinois River
- Classes on tree house construction, mosaic making, and forest ecology; guided horseback outings; harnessed tree climbs; and rides on a 650-foot zip line
- At night, there are campfires and cosmic light shows
Tree houses start from $110, including breakfast and some activities. Visit www.treehouses.com for more information.
Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village, Browning, Montana Canvas guest tipis at this camp on Blackfeet land face east to welcome the sun and block westerly winds. At night, a fire will warm your family as you sleep in the ground (in sleeping bags atop cushioned mats). You and your family can also enjoy:
- Learn how to craft a parfleche (rawhide tote), rattle, and drum with the camp's owner, a Blackfeet artist
- Visit adjacent Glacier National Park for hiking, trout fishing, and horseback riding
- The camp owner can take you on a history hunt--he'll show you medicine rocks and ancient bones embedded in the earth
- Enjoy a traditional feast of roasted buffalo, Anasazi beans, acorn squash, and soup made from blueberry-like saskatoons
There are two-night packages from $395 for two adults, plus $96 per child, including meals, outings, and entertainment. Visit www.blackfeetculturecamp.com for more information.
Race Point Lighthouse, Provincetown, MA This property looks similar to the way it did a century ago, thanks to the American Lighthouse Foundation volunteers who attend to the buildings and overnight guests. At this beautiful lighthouse features visitors can expect:
- To choose from among three old-fashioned bedrooms under the eaves in the 1879 innkeeper's residence, or take over the newly renovated two-bedroom Whistle House which once held the steam-powered foghorn and bell
- The ALF staff to ferry you to town in a four-wheel drive
- To enjoy activities such as fishing, watching for right whales, swimming, and snuggling into the warm dunes
Keeper's house, doubles from $150, four-person room $245; Whistle House (sleeps eight) $2,500 per week. Visit www.racepointlighthouse.net.
Battleship New Jersey, Camden, New Jersey This is a World War II battleship, the biggest is U.S. history, permanently docked in the Delaware River. At this historic site:
- Sleeping quarters are triple-decker bunk beds
- You'll wake up at 6:30 am, taps at 11:30 pm
- Chow-line breakfast and dinner takes place in the crew's mess hall
- Take a simulated ride over Iwo Jima in a Seahawk prop plane; take part in scavenger hunts on the ship
- You can buy your own personalized dog tags
$50 per person, including breakfast and dinner. Check out www.battleshipnewjersey.org.
Napa Valley Railway Inn, Yountville, California This inn consists of nine steam-era railcars permanently parked in the sophisticated town of Yountville in Napa Valley. While the train looks as if it were stopped in its tracks at the turn of the century, the inside has been converted into bright and tidy guestrooms. At this unique spot:
- The cars offer few hints of their former function: you'd never guess that No. 4 used to carry cattle or that the skylight in No.9 was once a hatch for ice-block deliveries
- You can take an early morning hot air balloon ride
- Refuel down the street at chef Thomas Keller's Michelin-starred bistro Bouchon
- You can also board the restored Pullman cars of the Napa Valley Wine Train for a three-hour trip from Napa to St. Helena
A four-person car starts at $160. Visit www.napavalleyrailwayinn.com for more information.
Rancho Oso Guest Ranch & Stables, Santa Barbara, California Located in the Santa Ynez Mountains, 15 miles from Santa Barbara, this ranch lets you indulge in your wild, wild west side with:
- A faithfully reproduced Conestoga wagon kitted out with four army cots; the wagons are set around a firepit and bbq area so you can prepare your own food
- A chuck wagon-style restaurant, heated pool, volleyball court, hiking trails, family lodge/game room, hot tub, horseshoe pits, and tennis courts
- Outdoor ranch activities such as horseback riding
Wagons start from $69. Visit www.rancho-oso.com for more information and availability.