Want to stay the night in a pirate-themed boathouse? How about sleeping under the stars in a transparent bubble?
When traveling this summer, more Americans will be opting for local weekend getaways instead of an extended vacation abroad, according to the American Automobile Association.
Here are a few quirky accommodations to check out this summer that won’t require you to leave Minnesota’s borders:
STAY IN A JAILHOUSE. A 1913 city jail was turned into a two-room house that can fit up to four people.
•Location: Wykoff, in southern Minnesota
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search “Wykoff Jail Haus”
SLEEP IN A BUBBLE. The single-room tent is shaped like a bubble and is completely transparent with a view of the surrounding forest and night sky.
•Location: Sartell, in central Minnesota.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search under Sartell.
STOW AWAY ON A PIRATE SHIP. The 65-foot-long ship named “Siren’s Gate” can fit up to six guests, and includes a kitchen and shower on board.
•Location: St. Paul, on the Mississippi River.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search “pirate ship.”
STAY IN A TRAIN CABOOSE. The renovated boxcar has two levels, and includes views of Lake Superior.
•Location: Hovland, northeast of Grand Marais.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search “Little Lost Caboose.”
SLEEP IN A RAILROAD BOXCAR. The Northern Rail Traincar Inn offers 16 boxcars, each decorated with a different theme.
•Location: Two Harbors, near Lake Superior.
SET UP CAMP IN AN ICEHOUSE. This AirBnB host makes use of an Ice Castle fishing house year round. It sleeps four.
•Location: Isle, in central Minnesota.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search under Isle.
STAY IN A NORWEGIAN SETTLER’S CABIN. The refurbished historic cabin is located on Merryweather Farm.
•Location: Walnut Grove, in southern Minnesota.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search under Walnut Grove.
SPEND THE NIGHT IN A CHURCH. Up to eight guests can stay in the renovated St. Peter’s Norwegian Lutheran church, built in the 1880s.
•Location: Red Wing, near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.
BOOK A STAY IN A RENOVATED GRAIN BIN. A cluster of old grain bins have been transformed into luxury rentals on Environmental Lake.
•Location: Alexandria, in central Minnesota.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search under Alexandria.
SLEEP IN A SCHOOLHOUSE. Formerly District No.182, the schoolhouse was named historical by the Works Progress Administration in 1939.
•Location: Underwood, in western Minnesota.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search under Underwood.
RENT A COVERED WAGON. Guests can rent out a Conestoga wagon along Rose Lake. Each wagon sleeps up to four people.
•Location: Vergas, in western Minnesota.
•Contact: www.airbnb.com and search under Vergas.
CAMP IN A TEEPEE. Rent a teepee in a state park, which is also known for its Sioux Quartzite cliff and a bison herd that grazes nearby.
•Location: Blue Mounds State Park, in southern Minnesota
In light of the coronavirus, many accommodations are taking safety precautions. Some Airbnb hosts are asking their renters to bring their own kitchenware and bedding to avoid the spread of germs. Others have updated their amenities in light of the pandemic by adding streaming services and a larger refrigerator.
At Northern Rail Traincar Inn in Two Harbors, guests are asked to avoid gathering in any common spaces, such as the lobby or the hallway. But the hotel didn’t have to make too many changes in light of the pandemic, says owner Jeff Ryder.
“We were doing high levels of sanitizing in all the rooms already,” he said. “We’ve added hand sanitizing stations in the lobby and a shield at the front desk.”
Weekdays are still slower than previous summers at Northern Rail Traincar Inn, but the boxcars have been filling up with travelers looking for a quick weekend getaway, says Ryder.
This article was written by Isabel Saavedra-Weis, a reporter for St. Paul Pioneer Press.