The 8 best hotels in Fort Lauderdale whether you seek rooftop pools and casinos or a relaxing beachfront retreat

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best hotels in fort lauderdale
  • Fort Lauderdale features a great restaurant and bar scene, beautiful beaches, and historic sites.
  • Hotels in and around Fort Lauderdale range from old Florida beach motels to luxury high rises.
  • We chose the best Fort Lauderdale hotels at affordable prices starting from $129 to $399 per night.

Just 45 minutes north of rowdy Miami, Fort Lauderdale offers a more relaxed and often more affordable take on a fun, Florida beach vacation. The cosmopolitan city is infused with old Florida soul and is packed with white-sand beaches, standout dining, historic sites, boat shows, some of the nation’s best discount shopping at Sawgrass Mall, and more.

The landscape of Fort Lauderdale is also wholly unique – within its 36.3 square miles, there are 165 miles of canals, rightfully nicknaming Fort Lauderdale the “Venice of America.”

With so many reasons for travelers to visit, the city is home to an impressive number of hotels designed to meet every traveler’s taste. Knowing this, we’ve combed through the masses to choose the top hotels in the area.

Browse all of the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale below, or jump to a specific area:

Read on for the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale, sorted by price from low to high.

Plunge Beach Hotel

Plunge_Beach_Hotel_sits_in_a_charming_Old_Florida_neighborhood_called_Lauderdale By The Sea

Book Plunge Beach Hotel

This modern twist on an old, vintage Florida beach hotel offers a quiet, casual beach weekend at an unbeatable price. As you’re driving down El Mar Drive, you can’t miss it — it’s a five-story, all-white building with an all-white pool deck and 163 rooms. The rooms are standard, but very clean, spacious, and (most importantly) just steps from the area’s powder-white sand beaches.

Plunge Beach Hotel has a mix of standard guest rooms and one- or two-bedroom suites. We recommend opting for accommodations with a partial- or full-ocean views to really feel like you’re on the water. 

The most interesting thing about this hotel is its amazing location. Plunge Beach Hotel is in a charming part of the city called Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, a Stars Hollow-esque village that looks plucked from 1960s New England, filled with mom-and-pop restaurants, old-school ice cream shops, old Florida vibes, pedestrian-friendly streets, and buildings no higher than five stories.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Dalmar, Fort Lauderdale, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel

The_Dalmar_is_a_stylish_hotel_that_fuses_Palm_Beach chic_with_tropical_decor.

Book The Dalmar

Staying at The Dalmar is a fun, sophisticated retreat done up in a mix of mid-century modern design infused with plenty of tropical accents. Palm Beach-chic bright magenta and greens, palm frond prints, and neon wall messages all brighten the well-designed common areas. Likewise, rooms are large and comfortable with a mix of both city and, in the distance, Atlantic Ocean views. 

The contemporary and glamorous Terrace Grill is a great restaurant, and there’s also a rooftop infinity pool with butler service that guests can request simply by pushing a button on their pool chair.

The lobby area doubles as a trendy lounge, with a communal working table, plush cream couches with palm-printed throw pillows, a glowing marble bar with bronze accents, and a candy-pink Moet champagne vending machine. Head to the top floor and check out the Gatsby-style rooftop lounge, Sparrow, which is the highest rooftop bar in Fort Lauderdale.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

The_Westin_Fort_Lauderdale_Beach_Resort_connects_to_the_beach_via_skywalk.

Book The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort

Staying at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort feels like retreating to an effortless and well-appointed beach getaway. Two towering buildings in matching baby blue and white hues are perched right on the sand, with rooms that exude beachy elegance with light woods, wicker furniture, plush all-white beds, and throw pillows covered in bright green palm fronds. Rooms are spacious, with ocean, pool, or Intracoastal views, including the lowest room category, which is a Traditional Guest Room, 1 King. 

If the weather is nice, grab a first-come, first-served pool chair on the oceanfront pool deck. The pool is small, and there aren’t that many chairs, so get there early to make sure you snag one. The hotel also has a fitness room, the Heavenly Spa by Westin™, and one of the best Mexican restaurants in town, Lona Cocina Tequileria. When you eat at Lona, start with the blue crab tostadas, end with the churros and housemade chocolate-dipping sauce, and thank us later.

You can find COVID-19 policies here.  

Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

The_Fort_Lauderdale_Marriott_Harbor_Beach_Resort_&_Spa_sits_on_16_acres_of_beachfront_property.

Book the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa

The Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa is like entering a pristine compound with so much do, it’s easy to stay on-site for the entirety of your stay. The resort sits on 16 acres of beachfront property with a 22,000 square-foot spa, a tropical lagoon pool, and seven restaurants and bars. 

The rooms are spacious, with even the lowest room category — Interior Room, Guest room, 1 King — measuring a generous 338 square feet. Standard hotel rooms all come with handcrafted wooden headboards, sheer white curtains, abstract art, plush sofa chairs, pillow-top mattresses, and glass showers.

Because of its massive size, great room prices, and long list of amenities, this hotel attracts a mix of guests, from families and friends to business travelers, couples, bachelor and bachelorette parties, spring breakers, and more.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

Pelican Grand Beach Resort

The_Pelican_Grand_Beach_Resort_is_home_to_Fort_Lauderdale’s_only_lazy_river.

Book the Pelican Grand Beach Resort

Drive down North Ocean Boulevard, and despite its Easter egg-yellow color and 10+ story building, you might miss the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, which is set off to the side. Thanks to a $7 million guest room renovation in 2019, rooms now have a refreshing mix of whimsical Florida soul coupled with boho-chic design. The hotel is as close to the water as you can get, and rooms are pretty large and come with a private balcony or terrace that includes at least partial ocean views. 

This hotel also has a delicious restaurant, OCEAN2000, a sprawling pool with a lazy river, and a rooftop spa with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that make it appear as if you’re hovering over the sparkling blue Atlantic Ocean. No matter how you spend your time here, post-dinner s’mores by a firepit in the sand are a must.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

W Fort Lauderdale

The_W_Fort_Lauderdale_has_a_see through_rooftop_pool_known_for_its_pool_parties.

Book the W Fort Lauderdale

If you were priced out of Miami, know that W Fort Lauderdale is a lot like staying on South Beach. The lobby bar, Living Room, is a hot spot for both hotel guests and locals, and there’s an all-glass rooftop WET pool that’s a whole party in itself.

The hotel has a lot of vibrant energy, from its electric pink, blue, orange and green decor to its large Wonderful, Spectacular, Fabulous, Cool, Marvelous, Wow or even Extreme Wow rooms and suites (those are the actual room categories). Wake up and walk straight to the beach or take advantage of the AWAY spa. Whether you get steak at Steak 954, Mexican food at El Vez, or cocktails at Living Room, you’ll enjoy panoramic, floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean just steps away. 

As mentioned, the pool is the main social event here with 360-degree views of Fort Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale Beach, and covered in daybeds available by reservation only. They fill up quickly, so make a reservation early to make sure you don’t miss out.  

Because of its party vibe, this hotel attracts a lot of groups of young friends, bachelorette or bachelor parties, young couples, and solo travelers. It’s a fun, stylish, trendy hotel but it’s not a place for a quiet beach retreat or serene, romantic getaway. 

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino

The_Guitar_Hotel_at_Seminole_Hard_Rock_Hollywood_Hotel_&_Casino_is_the_world’s_first_guitar shaped_hotel.

Book The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino

After undergoing a much-anticipated $1.5 billion renovation and expansion, The Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood Hotel & Casino finally opened in fall 2019. The all-glass hotel has 638 oversized rooms and is designed to look like two back-to-back guitars, with six illuminated guitar strings on each side. 

The lowest room category, Deluxe King, offers a super spacious 520 square feet, huge marble bathrooms, convertible vanity areas, and direct views of the Bora Bora pool area, which was designed to look like Bora Bora itself. 

The amenities aren’t lacking, and guests can take advantage of 19 restaurants, 20 bars, a luxury co-ed spa with music-inspired treatments, a full-scale fitness center, the Hard Rock Live concert venue, a comedy club, nightly light and music shows, the DAER nightclub and day club complex, an indoor shopping mall, and of course, a casino.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

Guests_of_The_Ritz Carlton,_Fort_Lauderdale_get_a_complimentary_water_taxi_ride_every_day._

Book The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

This beachfront hotel offers a pampering, luxury escape, and at certain times of the year, it’s actually pretty affordable, which is a steal for a top-tier brand such as the Ritz-Carlton.

Even the lowest-category rooms — Intracoastal View, Guest room, 1 King, Balcony — come with a lot of space, large marble bathrooms, leather furniture, and a private balcony and view of either the ocean or Intracoastal Waterway. 

There is a $45 daily resort fee but it offers tremendous value, including beach chairs, daily beach umbrellas, Ritz-Carlton water, two signature resort cocktails every day, daily one-hour fitness classes, high-speed internet, two four-hour bike rentals, and a daily water taxi pass.

Spend your days at the beach or by the hotel’s private, heated infinity pool, or book a spa treatment in the 8,500 square-foot spa. If working out is a part of your travel ritual, you’ll love the Ritz’s fitness center with glass windows overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

You can find COVID-19 policies here. 

Our methodology for choosing hotels

In addition to the criteria previously listed above, we considered these additional factors:

Price: We looked for typical starting room rates under $400 per night.

Reviews: In addition to our own first-hand stays, we thoroughly researched reviews and ratings on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, and Booking.com, and took into account the experience and reviews of other recent guests.

Guests: We chose the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale for a wide audience, including families, couples, groups of friends, solo travelers, and more.

Amenities: We looked for beach hotels with standout decor, excellent locations, beach access, pool facilities, delicious restaurants and bars, and other guest perks from golf courses to beachside spa services.

COVID-19 safety: In light of the pandemic, we selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of guests with strict new cleaning policies.

FAQs

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can now safely travel domestically.

Most hotels have implemented strict new cleaning procedures to ensure guest safety. Though you’re more likely to encounter other people in hotel common spaces such as lobbies, restaurants, and pools, experts say that with added precaution, hotels are safe

We also recommend following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask in public, washing hands frequently, and following social distancing.

Where should I stay in Fort Lauderdale?

That depends on what you want to do and, perhaps most importantly, how close you want to be to the beach. You’ll find chic properties, and excellent shopping and restaurants near Las Olas Boulevard, the city’s main drag that runs from the beach to Downtown Fort Lauderdale. 

You’ll want to stick to the coasts if your main objective is hitting the beach or boating. Fort Lauderdale Beach is always a popular choice, though for quieter beaches and hotels with Old Florida charm, consider Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

What is there to do in Fort Lauderdale?

Shop or stroll into a cafe on La Ola Boulevard or bike along the riverwalk. Of course, hitting the beach is a prime activity here. Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and Las Olas Beach are two attractive options for getting your toes in the sand.

Boating and sailing are also especially popular here. If you don’t have your own boat, consider booking a day cruise, sunset sail, or even an airboat tour to the nearby Everglades.

What is the best time to visit Fort Lauderdale?

Though a great year-round destination, the best time to visit Fort Lauderdale is October to May, since you’ll avoid the humid, rainy summer season, as well as hurricane season which runs from June to November.

Fort Lauderdale is also often very crowded during peak times like spring break, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July. Keep this in mind and expect to pay more if you plan to visit during the most crowded times.

More of the best beach hotels

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Which is safer: Airbnb or hotels during COVID-19? Here’s what doctors and the CDC say.

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  • Summer travel is poised to make a big comeback in 2021.
  • Both Airbnbs and hotels are open and welcoming travelers with stringent new cleaning protocols.
  • So which is safer: Airbnb vs. hotels? We asked doctors about the lodging they’d book themselves.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Travel is shaping up to have a major comeback this summer as more Americans become vaccinated, and in response to new CDC guidelines that say fully vaccinated individuals can now safely travel in the US.

As a result, many will likely book that long-postponed family vacation, romantic getaway, or bucket list trip. Of course, the novel coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon, and safety in travel will still be top of mind.

Fortunately, when it comes to safe lodging, travelers have many choices, and all of them are actively courting business with sweeping new policies and protocols.

Many large hotel chains have announced big changes to cleaning policies, and Airbnb requires that all hosts and guests commit to their Enhanced Clean program, which includes wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and abiding by a five-step enhanced cleaning process.

However, there is still an element of risk. After all, travelers who preferred hotels for on-demand housekeeping, room service, and impressive on-site amenities may now view those same person-to-person interactions as liabilities. Similarly, in an Airbnb, everything from bedsheets to a fork was previously used by another person.

To help determine the safest lodging for travelers during COVID-19, we spoke with doctors, whose conclusions represented a consensus.

Are hotels and Airbnb safe during COVID-19 in 2021?

When making arrangements for overnight lodging – as with any other decision you make when leaving your house during the pandemic – consider that the most significant risk you can encounter is direct contact with other people.

And when you’re traveling, you’re likely to encounter not only other humans but those who come from backgrounds and locations unfamiliar to you.

“The first thing that potentially opens up risk is running into other people that you have no idea what their infectious status is,” explains Dr. Thomas Russo, chief of the division of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo. “We know now that there’s a lot of people who get the coronavirus who have no symptoms at all who could potentially transmit it. Therefore, you have to assume that anyone you encounter that you don’t know could be potentially infectious.”

Are pools safe during COVID?

When it comes to pools, beach chairs, and other amenities found at Airbnbs and hotels, “other bodies are the main concern,” Dr. Russo says, as opposed to the water in the pool.

So, your safest leisure-time bet would be a chaise completely away from the crowd, a bike for a solo ride, or a swim in the chlorinated pool of a private Airbnb with no other guests present. To help with that, we rounded up some of the best Airbnbs in the US with private pools.

CNT Hotel Hot List 1HotelWestHollywood

Is it safe to eat in a restaurant?

In hotels, unless you have a suite with a kitchen, all dining will be done either in a restaurant or through takeout. Our experts said the safest option in a hotel would be no-contact room service or other delivery.

In an Airbnb, you can prepare your own food, which is both safer and cost-saving, although remember with this style of lodging you can expect an additional cleaning fee. Increased fees post-pandemic have been in the range of $250, and that’s just for cleaning, in addition to service fees and the like.

Again, no matter what lodging you pick, the main thing you’ll want to consider is the likelihood you’ll encounter other people and the number and length of such encounters. Plus, factor in the location, and if possible, avoid regions with high rates of infection.

“When booking any type of lodging, consider how many people you’ll be surrounded by, when was the last time someone stayed in that accommodation, and how is the state or city doing in regards to flattening the curve,” said Dr. Neil Brown, K Health‘s chief diagnosis officer.

What can I do to minimize the risk of COVID-19 while staying at a hotel or Airbnb?

Whether you choose an Airbnb or a hotel, be aware of high-touch areas that might facilitate virus transmission.

In both Airbnbs and hotels, these might include light switches, phones, TV remotes, doorknobs, sinks, bathroom faucets, and toilet handles. Additionally, look out for flat surfaces like bedside tables. “If someone was sick in the room and coughing, [those are among] flat surfaces it could settle onto,” Dr. Russo notes.

If you’re going to use kitchen items in Airbnbs, Dr. Russo suggests running them through the dishwasher just in case, an action that would neutralize the virus.

The virus is likely to settle out of the air quickly – about one to three hours under experimental conditions, and possibly much less in the real world – Dr. Russo notes. So that means the air quality is not likely to be a major concern in either a hotel room or an Airbnb if you are the only one in it. Nevertheless, you can mitigate your risk in both by insisting upon a margin of time passing since the last guest was in the space.

With Airbnb, look to book homes that have an Enhanced Cleaning badge, indicating they have committed to following Airbnb’s COVID-19 safety practices. This includes wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and, for hosts and their teams, abiding by a five-step enhanced cleaning process.

Disinfecting doorknob

Similarly, look for hotels with impressive new cleaning protocols and policies such as keeping rooms empty between guests, or specifically request a room that’s been vacant for a day or more.

Without explicitly stated buffers, hotels may indeed turn guest rooms around faster than Airbnb. But if you were to check into a room in which an infected person stayed right before you arrived, and the housekeeping crew did clean and sanitize everything according to guidelines, you would “probably” escape risk, Dr. Russo said, “but that’s not an ideal scenario.”

“I think it’s great that hotels are taking initiative and hiring these experts to help them implement better cleaning protocols,” he said. “But my biggest concern is the amount of traffic going through these hotels.”

Plus, there is the matter that stated policies ideally will be executed in good faith by every member of the hotel staff, and every Airbnb host or cleaner, in every instance. But that cannot be guaranteed by each individual arriving guest.

What do CDC guidelines say about hotels vs. Airbnbs?

According to the CDC’s current guidelines for lodging options, the lowest risk option is, of course, staying at home.

However, the guidelines list “staying in a house or cabin (for example, a vacation rental) with people from your household or fully vaccinated people” as “Safer.” However, it’s important to note that this is specifically for booking vacation rentals and Airbnbs only with people from your household.

Both hotels and vacation rentals that you share with people who are not vaccinated or are outside of your household are in the “Less Safe” category.

Bottom line, which is safer: hotels or Airbnbs?

The doctors we spoke with agreed that one lodging option is safer than the other as a general rule, because the main risk in coronavirus transmission is directly from person to person. And you are more likely to have person-to-person encounters in hotels compared with private Airbnbs. So the experts we spoke to agree with the CDC guidelines that the safer option is Airbnbs.

“While there is no question hotels are working diligently to keep their hotels clean and sanitized, Airbnb has a huge advantage given that the renter is generally the only one occupying the property,” said Dr. Brown. “With Airbnb’s new Enhanced Cleaning Initiative, the company provides a better option than public hotel spaces. Airbnb homes are more private, so there is a lesser chance of being exposed to the coronavirus.”

Dr. Brown does suggest confirming your listing meets Airbnb’s new cleaning protocol even though it is now a requirement for all hosts. “I would double-check to see if the host is participating in the policies,” he said.

Dr. Russo “absolutely agree[s]” that staying in a private Airbnb, especially one that allows no-contact check-in, such as through a lockbox, is the safer option now, given the probability of fewer person-to-person encounters.

Whatever lodging option you choose – if you choose to travel – both doctors recommend undertaking a serious consideration of the risks versus rewards.

Dr. Russo said he would stay in an Airbnb, and as for a hotel, said, “I think so.” But if he had the potential to encounter anybody in person at any point in his travels, he’d definitely wear a mask and would weigh the importance of the trip to his quality of life before deciding to undertake it.

“If it’s a trip that is important and necessary, I feel relatively safe using the proper protective measures like wearing a mask, distancing, disinfecting, and hand hygiene,” he said, noting that individuals will have to weigh their own individual risk tolerance, risk factors, and risk-reward potential.

Dr. Brown voiced a somewhat more conservative view. “Personally, I would do my best to avoid traveling altogether, but if it is necessary, I would feel more comfortable staying at an Airbnb after doing my own disinfecting upon arrival,” he said. “At the end of the day, the only people we can trust to protect us are ourselves. So if there is no need to travel at the moment, I would recommend everyone to continue staying home.”

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The 19 best vacation rentals near national parks from Hawaii’s volcanoes to the Great Smoky Mountains

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best national park vacation rentals
  • National parks make up some of the United States’ most striking landscapes.
  • Not everyone has a park in their own backyard, which means you may need somewhere to stay.
  • We’ve chosen highly-rated vacation rentals near national parks, ranging from $65 to $275 per night.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Though vaccine rollouts are well underway, many international borders are still closed for tourism to US travelers. But there is some good news for Americans – we live in an exceptionally beautiful country. From coast to coast (plus Hawaii and Alaska), the National Park Service protects over 50 million acres of land, all of which are open for public recreation.

Among the parks, you can find exceptional wonders from the world’s largest cave system in Kentucky to the world’s deepest lake in Oregon, and, of course, the Grand Canyon, the largest in the world. I know from experience that it can be tough to find a last-minute camping spot or home base near popular parks, and as a full-time traveler, I’ve sifted through thousands of Airbnb listings.

The beauty of the site is that you can find accommodations to suit your budget almost anywhere, which is especially ideal if you’re visiting national parks in remote locations, or when hotels near national parks are all booked up. With that in mind, we rounded up highly-rated vacation rentals across Airbnb and Vrbo located right near some of the country’s most frequently visited national parks across the US.

You can browse all listings below, or jump to a specific area here:

These are the best vacation rentals near national parks, sorted by price from low to high.

Cedar cabin near Volcanoes National Park

Quiet cedar cabin minutes from the National Park

Book this Volcanoes National Park Airbnb

Hawaii is home to some surprisingly affordable accommodations, especially near Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. During the day, the park offers a chance to walk on cooled lava fields and even see an active lava flow. 

This cedar cabin, located in the small town of Volcano Village (just seven minutes from the park), is the ideal home base with a natural wood cabin aesthetic that still feels very Hawaiian thanks to the lush leaves right outside the windows and bright flowers adorning the tables. The centerpiece of the home is the living room with its two-story-high windows. The kitchen is compact but well-stocked so you’ll have all the tools you need to cook for yourself during your trip.

The cabin is surrounded by a native Hawaiian forest and because the home sits at 4,000 feet elevation, the weather is quite cool, which makes the cabin an unexpectedly cozy escape in the jungle. After a day of exploring, warm up by the potbelly stove. 

Airy apartment near Hot Springs National Park

Remodeled two-bedroom apartment near Hot Springs National Park

Book this Hot Springs National Park Airbnb

Arkansas’ Hot Springs National Park has a rich history in addition to a soak-worthy collection of hot springs. When visiting the park, you can stay in the historic town of Hot Springs in this former 1940s-era oil and lube shop that has been renovated into a modern apartment complex.

This particular apartment is large enough for a family of four with King and Queen beds and comes equipped with air conditioning and two smart TVs. The apartment feels light and open thanks to the white decor scheme, while midcentury modern furnishings and industrial-style light fixtures add charm. The bathroom follows suit, with modern and clean with black-and-white tiling. Be aware there is just a microwave and mini-fridge in a small sitting area, and no true kitchen, so this spot is not conducive to long stays for those who like to cook.

In addition to the park, the home is a short walk or bike ride to downtown and a four-mile drive to Magic Springs.

Rustic western house near Badlands National Park

Rustic western house near Badlands National Park

Book this Badlands Airbnb

South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is one of the country’s most striking landscapes, filled with fossil beds and frequented by amazing wildlife like bison and prairie dogs. In this sparsely-populated part of the country, you’ll find Airbnbs like “The Cow Camp” in the town of Wasta, which is 18 miles from the national park and 40 miles away from the Black Hills, where you’ll also find Mount Rushmore. 

The interior decor is homey but comfortable, with a rock-laden fireplace and oak floors. Western decor like cow-print throw blankets and cowboy boot art provides the thematic backdrop for this wild frontier destination. Though best suited for couples, the space is large enough for a small family to settle in, with an open floor plan that connects the kitchen and living area, providing a kitchen island and a large cushioned sectional couch as the main gathering spaces. 

Cozy river cabin near Mammoth Cave National Park

Cozy river cabin near Mammoth Cave National Park

Book this Mammoth Cave Airbnb

Below the forested hills of Kentucky lies the world’s longest known cave system, Mammoth Cave National Park. The park is home to over 400 miles of winding underground passageways ready for exploration. Half an hour away from the park in the town of Bowling Green, this home keeps you close enough to civilization to stock up on necessities while still staying immersed in the beautiful surrounding landscape. 

Set on the Barren River, this cabin is an idyllic location to get some peace and quiet. The interior features beautiful white brickwork and unique tiling throughout the kitchen and bathrooms. The highlight, however, is the stunning dining area, which sits adjacent to the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out into the forest.

Multiple seating areas offer plenty of room to spread out, and the living room features a stone fireplace for chilly evenings. Outside, a spacious front porch with rocking chairs makes for a lovely location to start or end the day. The lofted bed in the second bedroom is a fun feature for adventurous kids and teens.

Tiny cabin near Denali National Park

national park vacation rentals denali airbnb

Book this Denali Airbnb

In Alaska, you can see the tallest mountain in North America at Denali National Park. Talkeetna is one of the most convenient places to stay if you want to visit the park and there, you’ll find this adorable red-roofed cabin within walking distance from downtown. 

The cabin is surrounded by a lovely forest of birch trees and lucky guests may get to see a moose or, in the right season, the stunning colors of the aurora borealis. Just 600 square feet, the cabin is small but smartly laid out, managing to fit a full kitchen, bathroom, two beds, and even a washer and dryer. With a Queen and a Twin-sized bed, this is a great choice for solo travelers, couples, or small families. The interiors also feature colorfully painted walls, puffy throw pillows, and outdoorsy motifs from trees painted on the walls by the stairs to fish decorations by the front door.

The hosts are happy to help you arrange nearby park adventures like boating on the river or a sightseeing trip by plane. The cabin is also pet-friendly.

Bunkhouse near Crater Lake National Park

national park vacation rentals crater lake airbnb

Book this Crater Lake Airbnb

Home to the deepest lake in the country, Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park is a remarkable sight formed by the collapse of a volcano over 7,000 years ago. There’s not much in the immediate vicinity of the park, so consider staying on this 100-acre ranch in a remodeled bunkhouse just 28 miles south of the lake instead. 

From the outside, this Airbnb still looks like a bunkhouse, and the interiors have kept some nice vintage touches, but there’s plenty of modern comforts too. The open floor plan features a small kitchen and a deep, clawfoot bathtub, plus a spacious dining area and a spare bed with a privacy screen if you have a third person traveling with you. All wood interiors give it a cabin feel.

When you’re not adventuring in Crater Lake or checking out the beautiful Pearsony Falls and other natural attractions in Southern Oregon, you can relax on the property where you’ll find horses and two large ponds in addition to hiking trails. Take in the beautiful surrounding meadows and mountain scenery from the red Adirondack chairs found right outside the home.

Dome house near Great Sand Dunes National Monument

Dome house near Great Sand Dunes National Monument

Book this Great Sand Dunes Airbnb

With national parks busier than ever, don’t forget about less-crowded national monuments like the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. The only difference between a national park and a national monument is that national monuments are preserved for historical, cultural, or scientific interest, while parks are preserved for scenic and inspirational purposes. 

This dome house offers the possibility of a unique stay surrounded by wide-open views and the local wildlife. The circular design of the home makes it feel open and spacious, and numerous windows ensure plenty of natural light. A funky spiral staircase leads up to the loft where there is a workstation and a meditation area. There is also a well-stocked kitchen with a dishwasher and gas range, plus a full bath with a beautiful clawfoot tub. While most of the dome is open-plan, there is a separate room with a Queen-sized bed for a peaceful night’s rest.

Vintage apartment near Everglades National Park

Vintage apartment near Everglades National Park

Book this Everglades Airbnb

You can see Everglades National Park on a day trip from Miami, but if you really want to embrace the croc life, make your home base in Everglades City.

This apartment feels ’70s chic with its vintage furniture pieces, palm tree decor, and soft green and blue accents. The house is within walking distance from local restaurants and boat-tour pick-ups, but the full kitchen is also equipped so you can cook your own meals.

From the screened-in porch — a true necessity when you’re visiting the Everglades — you can watch the sunset at the end of a long day of airboating and reptile spotting. On less humid days, you can also enjoy the patio seating area surrounded by the verdant landscape. 

Cottage on the way to Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone

Book this Yellowstone Airbnb

Just 40 miles east of Yellowstone’s eastern entrance in Wyoming, this cozy cottage can sleep up to four people and includes a full kitchen and two bathrooms. It rests in front of a grand mountain view and there’s even a stream that runs directly through the property.

The interior amenities are basic but more than sufficient, and you can take in the view from the charming front porch with a morning cup of coffee in hand.

Yellowstone National Park is a thermal wonderland full of bubbling mud, exploding geysers, and the largest supervolcano in North America. Yellowstone is a huge park, so be prepared to spend a lot of time driving, especially if you want to see the Old Faithful geyser, which is about a three-hour drive away from this listing.

Glamping yurt near Acadia National Park

Acadia

Book this Acadia National Park Vrbo

Not far from Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia is the only national park in the Northeast. With a rocky ocean coastline and forested mountains, you’ll have access to a variety of cliffside trails to choose from here. Or you could go for the summit of Cadillac Mountain, a perch made of pink granite, which happens to be the tallest mountain on the east coast and the very first place to see the sunrise between October and March.

This glamping option offered by Acadia Yurts is no average camping experience. With two bedrooms and a bathroom, a group of four can sleep on-site at Acadia National Park. With its own kitchen and bathroom, you can be independent without having to cook over the campfire.

The walls are made of heavy canvas material and the tent is temperature-controlled with both heating and A/C. The interior is incredibly spacious with a high-beam ceiling that draws your eyes to the skylight and unique lattice siding.

Luxurious Lake Powell home near Grand Canyon National Park

best national park vacation rentals grand canyon airbnb

Book this Grand Canyon Airbnb

Just five minutes away from Horseshoe Bend in the northernmost part of Grand Canyon park, this luxurious home in Page, Arizona is brand new and large enough to sleep a big family or group of friends.

The modern home is filled with locally-made artwork and furnishings that reflect the indigenous history and natural surroundings of the area. The kitchen is well-equipped with appliances and the shaded back patio offers a great place for eating outside with a gas grill and a full patio set with rocking chairs.

The Grand Canyon is among the largest national parks, so you’ll need to give yourself plenty of time to explore, even if you’re staying right nearby. 

Moab apartment near Arches National Park

Moab casita near Arches National Park

Book this Arches National Park Airbnb

In downtown Moab, Utah, just 11 miles from Arches National Park and a 30-minute drive to Canyonlands National Park, this luxurious modern apartment is located on a quiet street that is still close to downtown attractions like restaurants and a local brewery. 

The building is brand new and the apartment has an open floor plan with high ceilings and cabinets that mimic the orange colors of the surrounding landscapes. The bathroom has a large shower with stone flooring and the bedroom is simple but comfortable with a plush Queen mattress. Home cooks will especially love the huge kitchen with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. A covered balcony patio makes for a nice place to take in the gorgeous setting.

Building common areas include a fire pit and a shared sauna, although these may have restrictions or limits due to the pandemic.

Authentic A-frame cabin near Glacier National Park

Glacier

Book this Glacier National Park Airbnb

Although this fully-renovated and climate-controlled cabin looks like the latest Instagram trend, it was actually built in the 1950s during the construction of a nearby dam. Inside, you’ll find stylish interiors decorated in succulents, with a spiral staircase leading up to a lofted bed.

The kitchen comes fully stocked with all the essentials and there is also a queen-size pullout sofa bed in the living room.

Located in Martin City, Montana, you’ll be just 10 miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park, making this photo-ready cabin a great home base for your adventures.

Alpenhaven cabin near Rocky Mountain National Park

national park vacation rentals rocky mountains

Book this Rocky Mountain Airbnb

Just big enough for two, this cabin is an idyllic backdrop for a romantic Rocky Mountain getaway right at the edge of Estes Park. With amenities inside like a queen-size memory foam bed, a private hot tub, and an electric fireplace, this is a place to come home and recharge after a long day of adventuring.

Not to mention an abundance of incredible wildlife and hiking right outside your door. The pride of Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is a spectacular park that protects some of the highest peaks of this famous mountain range and features plenty of easy and challenging trails and scenic drives. 

But you don’t have to leave the property to enjoy the epic scenery. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular views and lucky visitors might even spot mule deers coming right up to the door.

High-altitude cabin near Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great_Smoky

Book this Great Smoky Mountain cabin Vrbo

Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the most visited national park in 2020, with over 12 million visitors, which is more than twice as many as the Grand Canyon. If you’re ready to follow suit and explore this southern portion of the Appalachian Mountain Range and all its waterfalls, swimming lakes, and trails, consider this spot. 

This deluxe cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee sits on a high perch with panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains. You can enjoy the scenery while soaking in the hot tub on the deck or cozied up around the gas fireplace in the large living room.

Be aware there’s currently a minimum of two nights.

New modern home near Zion National Park

Zion

Book this Zion National Park Vrbo

A 25-minute drive down the road from Utah’s Zion National Park, this three-bedroom home is equipped with a modern kitchen, master bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, an indoor fireplace, and an outdoor fire pit.

It also boasts magnificent views of Pine Valley Mountain and Black Ridge. This big house is great for bigger groups, especially if you plan to drive since its equipped with a two-car garage. The decor is homey and inviting, with warm tones and pine cabinetry.

For those who want to explore the nearby majestic landscapes, but still enjoy the modern comforts of home, this is a great choice. Plus, it is located in the town of La Verkin, so you’ll be able to easily stock up on any supplies you need.

Cabin on the bluffs near Olympic National Park

Olympia

Book this Olympic National Park cabin Vrbo

With the water on one side and Olympic National Park on the other, this bluff-front cabin is ensconced in nature. You’ll have ample opportunity to spot deer, whales, and bald eagles without leaving the property.

Great for big groups or families, up to nine people can sleep in this sleek three-bedroom cabin filled with wood furnishings. But it’s the master bedroom’s enormous skylight, the bathroom’s curvaceous clawfoot tub, and a wood-burning fireplace in the center of the living room that will really ensure you never want to leave. 

A fire pit surrounded by picnic tables and wooden benches make for a picturesque place to end a long day exploring the park and take in the sunset view.

Chic chalet with hot tub near Joshua Tree National Park

best national park vacation rentals joshua tree

Book this Joshua Tree Airbnb

Probably the epicenter of the bohemian-chic aesthetic, you won’t have trouble finding an Instagram-ready house in Southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park. However, this Joshua Tree Chalet is a special gem.

A modern kitchen with a fun mosaic tile backsplash and a bright living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, an egg chair, and a record player set the tone for a bohemian chic stay. The outdoor grill and private hot tub on the patio surrounded by the desert scenery take this rental to the next level.   

Only a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, Joshua Tree National Park is best known for its shrubby desert landscape namesake whimsical Joshua trees. There are some interesting hiking trails nearby, including one to a skull-shaped rock. But many people come to Joshua Tree specifically for stargazing, which you can easily do from the front patio of this listing in Adirondack chairs or on the cozy patio lounger.

Classic adobe home near Big Bend National Park

Big_Bend

Book this Big Bend National Park Vrbo

In West Texas, Big Bend National Park sits next to the border of Mexico that is naturally defined by the Rio Grande. The park is full of canyons and trails worth hiking, but you can also take a dip in the hot springs on the edge of the river or go for a pleasant ride along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

With thick adobe walls, stone floors, and phenomenal views of Big Bend National Park, this rental is tough to beat.

A good spot for multi-gen families, the home has two bedrooms, plus a separate guest house. The interior is simple but large and has everything you need for a relaxing stay in the desert from stone fireplaces and woven Native American rugs to an outdoor grill.

However, it’s the spacious patio with a fire pit and breathtaking valley views that really make this the place to stay.

FAQs

How many national parks are there?

There are over 400 national park sites overseen by the National Park Service, but only 63 official national parks. California has the most national parks with nine, followed by Alaska’s eight parks, and Utah’s five parks.

Does every state have a national park?

National parks are not spread out evenly across the country and there are 20 states that don’t have a national park. However, these states are still home to national monuments and/or state parks. The states without an official national park are Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Are national parks free to visit?

No, most national parks charge an entrance fee, but there are six days of the year where entrance is free at all parks. For 2021, these days are January 18, April 17, August 4, August 25, September 25, and November 11. Keep in mind these dates tend to attract bigger crowds, which will mean longer lines.

How do I get a National Park Pass?

A national park pass covers the entrance fee at over 2,00 paks in the U.S. An annual pass costs $80 and can be purchased at a recreation site that issues passes or online at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website. Discounted passes are available for U.S. citizens and residents over 62 years old with an annual pass costing $20 and a lifetime pass costing $20. Free passes are available for people with disabilities.

What should I look for in a national park vacation rental?

Since the park will be the main attraction, you should look for a home that is in close proximity to the park of your choice. Additionally, consider similar criteria to what we look for, such as high ratings, positive recent reviews, Superhost status, homes that specify enhanced cleaning procedures, and standout amenities like a private hot tub or pool. You’ll want a place that’s comfortable and fits your entire group so you can get a good night’s rest between your days of outdoor adventure.

Is it safe to stay in a vacation rental right now?

The CDC has noted that travel in the US is safe for fully vaccinated people.

Additionally, private home rentals are considered safer than hotels, because you minimize interaction with others and hosts must follow strict cleaning procedures. However, we always recommend following CDC guidelines and continuing to practice social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently.

More great US vacation ideas

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9 beautiful Airbnbs that feel like you’ve checked into a spa thanks to indulgent tubs, saunas, pools, and more

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best spa airbnbs texas

  • A trip to the spa might not be on the table right now, but many Enhanced Clean Airbnbs have spa finishes.
  • We found Airbnbs in the US with infrared saunas, 22-jet tubs, yoga decks, massages, and more.
  • Experts say Airbnb may be safer than hotels because private rentals promote social distancing.

After the year we’ve all had, now is the exact right time for a spa escape that takes us away from the stress of daily life and lets us just breathe.

Although hotels will always be tempting, Airbnb makes it easy to get away while still keeping social distance from others. So if you’ve been dreaming of a safer spa getaway, we rounded up Airbnb homes across the US where going to the spa doesn’t require leaving your room.

I put my expertise on writing about luxury and wellness to work and found homes with incredible spa features like a Finnish sauna, deep soaking tub, or a yoga deck with enough room for you and your friends. These rejuvenating stays promise to feel reminiscent of a five-star retreat without the price tag or crowds.

Browse all the best spa Airbnb homes below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

Here are some of the best spa-like Airbnbs in the US, sorted by price from low to high.

Naturalist Boudoir in Texas

Naturalist Boudoir

Book this Texas home on Airbnb  

This Airbnb within a 90-minute drive of Houston is like sleeping inside a glass cathedral for nature lovers.

Located amid Big Thicket National Preserve, the walls and ceiling in the master are made up primarily of glass windows, which create a sense of being completely enveloped with verdant forest views. The accommodations are downright sumptuous with a plush bed that hangs like a swing from the ceiling alongside wood walls and a dazzling chandelier. When you’re done resting, slip past the bedroom’s French doors to a private patio with a hot tub and outdoor shower. Soft white waffle bathrobes are provided to cozy up in, too. 

This romantic, super private home also includes fresh bacon and eggs for breakfast, and access to large covered decks lit by twinkle lights and surrounded by a creek, tiki torches, and a fire pit for extra ambiance. 

Sleek home with a sauna in Michigan

Stunning exec spa retreat with panoramic lake views

Book this Michigan home on Airbnb

Located near Lansing, home of Michigan State University (and less than a four-hour drive from Chicago), this luxury apartment is bursting with high-tech features for a chilled-out stay.

The bathroom steals the show with a two-person infrared sauna complete with integrated Bluetooth speakers for setting the right mood. There’s also a freestanding 95-gallon soaking tub, as well as a multi-jet shower for an extra relaxing rinse. For a finishing touch, there’s a heated floor to avoid the jarring shock of cold tile on bare, wet feet.

To keep the calm vibes going, the home keeps beer on tap, an electric fireplace, and the Queen-size bed has a massage function and an adjustable frame to configure the ultimate restful night’s sleep.

The overall aesthetic is moody and sleek and may have you feeling as if you’ve checked into a swanky hotel suite.

Spa retreat with a Finnish sauna and saltwater hot tub in Washington

Spa Retreat with Finnish Sauna and Saltwater Hot Tub

Book this Washington home on Airbnb 

Equipped with a Finnish sauna and an outdoor shower on a bamboo-lined patio, this spa-like escape close to downtown Seattle makes for a great weekend retreat. 

Across from the modern main house is an outbuilding that makes up the wood-lined Finnish sauna, complete with rocks for steam and benches to stretch out on. There’s also a large outdoor hot tub under a roof laced with golden lightbulbs, creating a serene open-air setting for kicking back with a glass of regional wine. 

The host is a residential architect and builder, and the look of the main home reflects his expertise, blending Japanese and Scandinavian design elements. Think minimal furniture and a clean palette made up of touches of warm wood and metal.

While you might feel like you’ve transported elsewhere, this home is actually near the Greywood area of Seattle, which has great restaurants, parks, and bookstores within a few minutes of the house.

Desert hideaway with a sauna, hot tub, and plunge pool in California

Steam sauna, hot tub, plunge pool, sky shower

Book this California home on Airbnb

There’s something extra invigorating about a trip to the desert and this home near Joshua Tree National Park makes it easy to channel some zen.

Start your wellness-minded stay with a yoga routine on the patio, followed by another sweat in the steam room with a six-person free-standing sauna. Afterward, take a dip in the refreshing cold plunge mini pool or soak your bones in the hot tub. There’s also an outdoor shower, and multiple reflective spots, including chairs around an outdoor gas fireplace, a furnished lounge cabana, and a swinging hammock. 

Inside the home, high ceilings and plenty of natural sunshine amplify the airy space which exudes a minimalist, Nordic vibe. There is a corner fireplace, midcentury furniture, and a gleaming bathroom with a walk-in shower. There’s also a minimum age of 26 and a firm no-party rule to maintain a calm, grownup feel at all times. 

Cabin for stargazing from a hot tub in California

Stargazing Spa Getaway

Book this California home on Airbnb

This cabin serves up a rustic aesthetic with some extremely modern comforts, too. There’s a hot tub located right outside the bedroom for a soak under the stars, and the location happens to be optimal for stargazing. And it’s not just any tub — designed in partnership with BMW, the hot tub has 22 jets that target stress areas in your back, neck, shoulders, and calves, plus six advanced options that do everything from work in quartets to massage your shoulders, and a moving moto-massage setting that works your entire back. 

After your hot tub treatment, make a meal in the renovated kitchen or fire up the grill. The bathroom has a gorgeous rainfall shower, and hiking trails are right outside the door. This home is close to both a downtown area and Snow Summit Resort.

Forest lodge with a hot tub, sauna, and pool in California

best spa airbnbs sea ranch california

Book this California home on Airbnb

Surrounded by trees, this charming home is nestled within a mountain forest and feels worlds away from everyday responsibilities. 

On the lower deck is a hot tub for a soothing soak, while a private sauna helps guests sweat out the stress, too. 

Inside, the interior is ultra cozy with wood-paneled walls, brown vintage furniture, and colorful rugs in warm crimson and scarlet hues. The kitchen is supplied with KitchenAid appliances and Henckels knives for at-home cooks, and if you can tear yourself away, the ocean and hiking trails are both within a five-minute drive. There’s also a golf course and shared pool within the community.

Eco-luxury farmhouse with a pool and sauna in California

US Spa Airbnbs

Book this California home on Airbnb

From the pool to the pillows, this modern farmhouse stay is decked out with indulgent amenities.

Outside, there’s an Italian-designed FAR Infrared ultra-low EMF sauna that seats four, as well as a semi-enclosed outdoor rainfall shower for an al fresco rinse. The pool is a great size for couples or solo travelers to enjoy a dip, and there’s plenty of room for a yoga mat on the patio by the water. Between sauna trips and poolside dips, wrap up in a luxurious Turkish cotton waffle robe from linen pros Parachute Home. 

Inside, there’s a clawfoot bathtub in the master bedroom’s serene white bathroom (a shower is in the other bathroom). Both bathrooms are stocked with essential oils and all-natural or biodegradable toiletries.

Once you hit peak relaxation, you’ll enjoy a five-star slumber, too: A pillow menu greets guests with choices ranging from feather and down to shredded latex and hypoallergenic options. The rest of the bedding is all-natural with sleep-optimized materials like luxe 100% Belgian linen sheets and an Australian wool comforter. 

Other features include a five-stage reverse osmosis drinking water filter in the kitchen, Hello Tushy bidets, free organic French press and pour-over coffee, an electric fireplace, and new air conditioning to keep you cool on hot California days. The backyard, which is fully enclosed for privacy, also has a tiki bar, covered seating area, and hammock.

Modern retreat with a pool, sauna, and steam shower in New York

best spa airbnbs cold spring

Book this New York home on Airbnb

Cold Spring is a quaint town located along the picturesque Hudson River, dotted with intriguing shops and innovative restaurants and bars that regularly lure city dwellers away from New York City.

This spacious home is equipped with a sauna and saltwater pool, as well as a huge deck for morning or evening workouts. Inside, one of the bathrooms also offers a spacious soaking tub to wash the last of the day’s cares away, while one side of a rainfall steam shower is made entirely of stone.

The open floor plan instantly shows off the apartment’s most charming design features, like the marble-top kitchen island, a monochromatic color scheme, vintage-looking area rugs, and thoughtfully selected potted plants. The interior is rustic but inviting, with a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace wall, large windows that let in tons of light, and a modern kitchen.

There are also two modestly sized bedrooms, a ping-pong table, and a miniature drum set, too. 

Luxe Retreat on 12 acres with swimming, a hot tub, and sauna, in New York

best spa airbnbs ghent new york

Book this New York home on Airbnb

For a chilled-out retreat with your vaccinated friends or family, this sprawling 12-acre property offers a full program’s worth of spa activities at your disposal.

Start your days with a sunrise vinyasa on the yoga deck, followed by a dip in the natural swimming pool. For extra relaxation, save time for the barrel sauna, cedar hot tub, or ask the host to book in-home yoga instructors or massage therapists. There are two bathrooms, one with a tub and another with a dramatically tiled walk-in spa shower.

There’s plenty of cool tools, too, including a chef-worthy kitchen, a grill, and a smoker. Enjoy your meal on the indoor or outdoor dining tables, or gather around the fire pit (wood is provided) while tunes waft from the outdoor sound system. 

FAQ: Spa stays on Airbnb

How do I find an Airbnb with a pool or hot tub?

Plug in your minimum search parameters (date range, guests, and destination), and then refine results by clicking the “more filters” button. This will pull up a range of other criteria.

Under the Facilities section, you’ll find checkboxes for pool and hot tub. Tick those to show only results with those features. However for other features, such as saunas or spa services, you’ll need to browse the listings carefully as there’s no way to specifically search for those. 

What should I look for in a spa getaway?

Many Airbnb homes offer great features like hot tubs and pools, but for something truly rejuvenating, look for extras such as a sauna, outdoor shower, and on-demand spa therapies.

Some people’s idea of a standout spa includes being surrounded by nature, others want to mix wellness with fitness and claim a spot to practice yoga. It all comes down to what makes you feel most relaxed. 

Also look for Enhanced Clean Airbnb homes to guarantee all facilities are properly sanitized between guests.

What is the Airbnb Enhanced Clean program?

The Airbnb Enhanced Clean is a learning and certification program for hosts that lays out a strict protocol about how to clean properties between guests, the personal protective equipment hosts and cleaners should wear, and even requires the exclusive use of cleaning supplies that have been approved by regulatory authorities. 

Is it safe to stay in an Airbnb?

The CDC now recommends travel within the US for vaccinated individuals. However, always check with CDC and WHO guidelines, as well as local rules and regulations for your destination for the latest information, and consider the infection rates of the areas you’re traveling to and from.

As far as the Airbnbs themselves go, the short answer is, generally yes—but we’ve broken down all of your questions here.

Find more relaxing getaways on Airbnb

best airbnbs with hot tubs desert oasis utah
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The 5 best car rental companies of 2021, based on key factors like pricing, locations, and cancellation policies

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best car rental companies
  • As travel picks up but social distancing remains a priority, travelers are turning to road trips.
  • For those who don’t own a car, car rentals are trusted options with competitive pricing.
  • Here are the best rental car companies based on pricing, locations, cancellation policies, and more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

As travel in the US picks back up thanks to COVID vaccine rollouts, people continue to prioritize safety and social distancing. Travelers are turning to road trips and renting cars in droves, which has created a national car rental shortage and seen prices in the most popular locations skyrocket. In some places, rental prices have surged to as high as $700 per day, so you may need to rethink your road trip if you were hoping it would be a wallet-friendly vacation.

In addition to it being tough and pricey to rent a car right now, in some worst-case scenarios, travelers are showing up for their rental reservations only to find out there’s no car available for them. In addition to needing to book cars well in advance right now, be prepared for the possibility that you could end up not getting a car for a day or two or potentially for your entire trip, even if you’ve reserved a car well ahead of time and paid in advance.

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place just in case. Additionally, if all the cars in your area are booked up or you’re seeking a last-minute car rental, you may want to consider non-traditional options and peer-to-peer car rentals, such as Turo, Getaround, or Avail.

That said, we’ve compared the current prices, procedures, and policies of top companies to find the best car rental companies for 2021. For more information on how we chose top rental car companies, as well as helpful info to consider when booking a car rental jump to the bottom of this guide.

Here are the best car rental companies in 2021

The best overall car rental company

Enterprise

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a trusted name that performs impressively well across all categories, including customer satisfaction, online booking, and price. According to the 2019 survey by trusted market research company JD Power, Enterprise scored highly for their website and app (placing second and third respectively), as well as placing second for overall customer satisfaction, with 855 points out of a possible 1,000 possible points and just one point behind leaders Hertz.

Typical quote: One-week rental comes in at $705 including taxes and fees.

Current COVID-19 cleaning policy: Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a new Complete Clean pledge, which includes, “washing, vacuuming, general wipe down, and sanitizing with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20-plus high-touch points.” They are also offering curbside pickup options.

Current cancellation policy: If you have not already paid, there is a no-fee cancellation policy. If you have a pre-paid rental, you may cancel up to 24 hours before your pick-up for a fee of $50. Cancellations made less than 24 hours before your reservation will incur a fee of $100. 

Look out for: Enterprise’s daily rate can be slightly higher than the average car rental rate, but the company reports that it has reduced other additional charges, such as those for drivers under the age of 25.

The best car rental company for customer satisfaction

Hertz car rental

Hertz

Hertz has one of the top-regarded, best long-term reputations, with a decades-long presence. The company has more than 1,600 locations at airports in the United States alone, with a varied fleet and an impressive rewards program. Hertz’s pick-up and drop-off processes at airports are particularly efficient, which was one of the main factors behind their high score of 856 out of 1,000 by respondents to JD Power’s 2019 survey. 

Typical quote: One-week rental comes in at $862 including taxes and fees.

Current COVID-19 cleaning policy: The company’s new cleaning policy is quoted as, “A 15-point cleaning checklist, and all cars that have been sanitized are being marked with a “Hertz Gold Standard Clean” sticker, which will only be broken when the car’s driver accesses the rental for the first time, meaning that the driver’s area is disinfected as a last step when the car is moved to its final location.

Current cancellation and fees policies: Young renter (under 25) fees are being waived and the minimum renter age lowered from 20 to 18 years old to help college students and young drivers return home. The company has also lowered rates for one-way trips. Customers with pre-paid Hertz rentals booked prior to March 13 can cancel their reservation for no fee and transfer their balance for use toward a future booking within 24 months. Otherwise, regular cancellation fees apply: full price for a no-show, $100 if canceled more than 24 hours before pick-up, $200 if canceled less than 24 hours before pick-up. 

Look out for: The quotes for short term rentals with Hertz are slightly higher than some of the company’s competitors, especially when renting for just a day or two. Longer-term rentals are more competitive. 

Best car rental company website and app

National Car Rental

National Car Rental

National Car Rental is particularly proud of its services and loyalty program for business travelers, and this focus on customer service bleeds over into its leisure customer service as well. This is most apparent in its website and app, both of which are highly regarded, with the company placing first and second place respectively in those categories in the 2019 JD Power survey of travel industry online portals.  

Typical quote: A one-week rental comes in at $796 including taxes and fees.

Current COVID-19 cleaning policy: National shares sister company Enterprise’s Complete Clean Pledge, which includes, “washing, vacuuming, general wipe down, and sanitizing with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20-plus high-touch points.” 

Current cancellation policy: The company is extending its existing no-fee cancellation policy to include customers with pre-paid rentals booked directly through them. Previously, pre-paid rentals that were canceled would incur a fee. Cancellations must be made 24 hours or more before the pick-up, otherwise, a no-show fee of $100 will be assessed.

Look out for: National is somewhat focused on business travelers and does not currently offer drop-off or pick-up services.

The best cheap car rental company

Alamo Rent A Car

Alamo Rent-A-Car

Alamo Rent-A-Car is a well-established, well-trusted name in the car rental market. Alamo’s prices were regularly among the cheapest prices we found when gathering quotes both through the various companies’ own websites and third-party comparison sites. Though the company has relatively fewer locations, Alamo’s prices are always very competitive.

Typical quote: A one-week rental comes in at $695 including taxes and fees.

Current COVID-19 cleaning policy: Alamo shares the Complete Clean Pledge offered by National and Enterprise, which includes, “washing, vacuuming, general wipe down, and sanitizing with a disinfectant that meets leading health authority requirements, with particular attention to more than 20-plus high-touch points.” 

Current cancellation policy: The company is extending its existing no-fee cancellation policy to include customers with pre-paid rentals booked directly through them. Previously, pre-paid rentals that were canceled would incur a fee. Cancellations must be made 24 hours or more before the pick-up, otherwise, a no-show fee of $100 will be assessed.

Look out for: Alamo Rent-A-Car has slightly fewer locations than many of its competitors, and the locations it does have are very concentrated on airports. 

Best peer-to-peer car rental

Turo car rental

Turo

Peer-to-peer car rentals are still making inroads into the market, but Turo is a consistently favorite, allowing people to both rent out their private cars and rent from private car owners. Set-up is relatively straightforward and the renting process is nearly identical to that of any traditional rental vehicle. The company also offers well-defined insurance options. Pick-up and drop-off locations depend on individual owners and will change for each booking. Turo also offers their own roadside 24/7 assistance policy and prices are very attractive. 

Typical quote: A one-week rental comes in at about $200 including taxes and fees. However, just like when comparing Airbnb to standard hotel rooms, Turo varies more than typical car rentals and has a wide range of price points available.

Current COVID-19 cleaning policy: The company asks hosts to “clean and disinfect the car after each trip with disinfectant wipes or spray. Wipe down the steering wheel, door handles, trunk latch, keys, and any other surfaces that are touched frequently.”  

Current cancellation policy: Guests may cancel free of charge up to 24 hours before their trip starts. Guests who book within 24 hours of their trip have one hour after booking to cancel for free. For canceled trips longer than two days, a guest is charged one day’s trip cost. For canceled trips two days or shorter, a guest is charged 50% of one day’s trip cost. The trip cost includes the trip price and trip fee.

Look out for: Obviously the variety of cars on offer varies considerably and customer service levels and actual cleanliness practices depend on individual hosts, though they do receive a public rating, which can help inform your experience.

Read our full review of Turo

Other reputable car rental companies

Hertz

These additional car rental services are reputable options that we strongly considered, but didn’t quite make the cut.

Dollar: The company has average pricing for the industry but locations are not quite as widespread and offers fewer benefits, for example, there’s no at-home customer drop-off or pick-up. 

Sixt: A big name in Europe that is making strides in the American market, however, some car sizes might seem ungenerous to American companies.  

Thrifty: Attractive, competitive prices but fewer locations than many of its peers and a less expansive loyalty scheme. 

Budget: A good number of locations but it also has a less attractive loyalty program and their airport pick-ups can be subject to additional fees. 

Avis: Good, affordable quotes for weekly rates and a great app, but the loyalty program makes it challenging to earn points, and airport pick-ups can be subject to fees. 

How we made our decisions

How did we choose the best car rentals?

Insider Reviews combed through the online specifications and customer reviews of car rental offers on the market. The research included car rental quotes from many companies and considered factors such as what is included in the rental agreement, the number of locations, the satisfaction levels of their customer service and the value for money on offer.

We also researched dozens of car rental companies across categories and consulted reviews on third-party sites such as Priceline.com, Kayak.com, Expedia.com, and Rentalcars.com. We considered price points, the number of nationwide locations (airport and otherwise), and impressive customer service satisfaction levels based on the 2019 customer satisfaction report by survey company JD Power, which gathered responses from over 12,000 business and leisure travelers who rented a vehicle.

Price quotes were taken from the company’s own websites and are based on a one-week rental of a medium-sized vehicle (or ‘standard’ car, for example, a Volkswagen Jetta or similar) by a driver over 25, picking up midweek from a regional airport, with unlimited mileage. All quotes were for bookings made two months in advance without any extras.

What to consider when booking a rental car

How far in advance should I book a car rental for the best price? 

The received wisdom is that it’s better to book as early as possible to book a rental car, between three to six months is optimal. This has become even more important recently with last-minute reservations being nearly impossible to find and car shortages happening nationwide. 

Are some days cheaper than others for picking up a vehicle? 

Weekend pick-ups tend to be slightly cheaper, with Monday and Tuesday pick-ups usually slightly more expensive. Compare airport pick-ups versus locations in the city, even factoring a taxi to these locations. Some cities will always be cheaper at the airport, while others will see the complete opposite. 

Is it worth paying for insurance? 

First of all, you may already be covered, so check with your car insurance policy, or call your insurance company to find out if your existing coverage extends to a rental car. Car rental companies typically offer the following coverage options at the counter as you sign the lease agreement, and it’s really down to individual circumstances as to whether you take these out (though some kind of liability insurance is usually compulsory):

Loss-damage/collision damage waiver: This typically waives financial responsibility if the car is damaged or stolen, towed or incurs similar fees. Typical cost: $9–$19 a day. 

Liability coverage: This is usually required coverage, protects you from potential lawsuits and typically costs around $7–$14 a day.

Personal accident insurance covers medical costs that might be incurred after an accident. Typical cost: $1–$5 a day. 

Personal effects coverage insures against theft any possessions that you might keep in the rental car and typically costs $1–4 a day.

Is it worth joining loyalty programs?

Most loyalty programs are free to join, and sometimes there are immediate benefits or offers, so, there’s really no downside to signing up. As with airline frequent flyer programs, the more you can build up by using the same company, the more benefits you will accrue, so frequent renters should look at their travel plans and the companies that will offer the most attractive benefits to members. 

Joining a loyalty program is even more attractive right now since they often come with perks like getting to jump the line or getting priority. With longer-than-ever wait times and lines at many locations, those special lines might come in extra handy.

Where can I get a rental quote? 

Most car rental companies will happily supply quotes on their websites without too much information being required. Third-party comparison sites are also very popular and can list dozens of options after entering personal information just once. 

What if I arrive for my reservation and no car is available?

Unfortunately, this is turning into a real possibility amidst ongoing rental car shortages. Always try to call ahead to confirm you’re reservation and check to see if there are currently cars on-site at your rental location. However, if you show up and your car isn’t available you have a few options.

First, ask if there’s another car available in a different class than you originally booked. Ideally, you may be able to upgrade to a better car than you originally booked at no extra cost if the company is at fault for your car being unavailable. However, if they only have cars available in a downgraded class, this may still be a better option for you than no car at all. Just be sure to get a credit or, at the very least, a voucher for the difference in price.

You can also ask if the company has another nearby location where a car may be available. If you do have to go to an alternative location, ask if the company will cover your taxi or Uber. If it’s late in the day, you may also want to consider coming back earlier the next day to see if any cars have been returned.

If no car with your original company is available at all, unfortunately, your only option may be to hunt around yourself at other rental companies or on a peer-to-peer site. You should always ask for a refund if this becomes the case, but be prepared for the fact that if you had a pre-paid reservation, you may need to hound the company and wait several weeks to get your money back.  

Are car rentals safe?

The CDC has noted that travel in the US is safe for those who are fully vaccinated. 

Additionally, like hotels, rental car companies such as Enterprise, Alamo, National, Avis, and Budget have all announced new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, and are stepping up their cleaning and sanitization procedures.

Our experts weighed in on the overall safety of such rental car policies and agreed that a well-sanitized vehicle is much less of a danger than being around infected humans. Strict checklists, new cleaning products, curbside and contactless pick-up, and the thorough cleaning and disinfecting of each vehicle when returned by a customer or transported by employees are all part of new levels of service designed to assuage concerns regarding COVID-19.

More road trip tips and ideas

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The best non-theme park hotels in Orlando and Kissimmee for amazing pools, spas, golf, and cheaper prices

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Hyatt Regency grand cypress orlando

  • With warm weather and iconic theme parks, Orlando is one of the world’s most popular tourist spots.
  • Many hotels are Walt Disney World resorts, but there are plenty of choices outside the parks, too.
  • We picked the best hotels in the Orlando and Kissimmee area priced under $200 for your next trip.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

I’ve been visiting and editing guidebooks about Orlando for 15 years, and have witnessed Orlando and adjacent Kissimmee evolve dramatically, with a healthy mix of new resorts, independent lodging, and national hotel chains, and most offer some kind of shuttle service to the big theme parks.

Though many come to the Orlando area for the theme parks, alternative hotel options are growing and staying off-site means cheaper prices, varied accommodations, and higher-value food and drink, all without the immediate, looming presence of The Mouse. Though, if you’re looking for the best Walt Disney World hotels and resorts, we have those, too.

Browse all the best Orlando hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

These are the best hotels in Orlando, sorted by price from low to high.

B Resort & Spa

bresort

Book B Resort & Spa

There’s a charming retro feel to the exterior of this Disney Springs-area hotel, a nod to its former life as the Royal Plaza (the place was fully renovated in 2014). Though it’s actually a Disney-owned property, it hardly feels it compared to other theme park hotels and you’d never know thanks to interior elements such as gleaming marble, by multi-colored chairs, and oversized lamps in the lobby. 

The property confidently walks a fine line between adult and family-friendly, with fun amenities such as iPads to borrow and a Kids Zone video game arcade. The pool area, which many rooms face, is zero-entry with a classic, Miami-style look filled with palm trees, sleek lines, and a bar. 

The rooms are large and airy, with dark blues and grays standing out against white walls and light fittings. They’re sizeable enough for families and come replete with Aveda toiletries.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Castle Hotel

castle_hotel

Book the Castle Hotel

This International Drive hotel was previously considered to be solidly in the tacky-kitsch arena, but after a 2013 multi-million dollar renovation, it has been elevated into Marriott Bonvoy’s prestigious Autograph Collection.

Gone are the cartoonish pinks and purple accents, replaced by elegant whites and silvers, flanked by striking towers that conjure up a castle-like image. Though stepping into the lobby is more akin to entering the world’s most glamorous hunting lodge, with shiny furniture, chandeliers, and mirrors mixing with deer skulls. The sophisticated rustic mix continues in guest rooms, which feature intricately carved wooden headboards.

Guests can loll by the alluring circular pool, which boasts a dolphin-themed fountain as its centerpiece or take a break in the spa or gym facilities. There is also a bistro restaurant and a cocktail lounge.  

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Caribe Royale Orlando

caribe royale orlando

Book Caribe Royale Orlando

There’s really no missing this huge pink complex that’s just a five-minute drive from EPCOT. It’s classier than it sounds, though, and the resort’s Italianate lobby is suitably plush with a hexagonal skylight and opulent greenery. 

The rooms are largely neutral with lots of space and comfortable living areas, especially in the family-sized apartment-style suites. Families and convention guests are kept largely to their own towers, which helps keep it from feeling overrun. 

The dining highlight is the Venetian Chop House, a decadently furnished, award-winning restaurant with crystal chandeliers and wood-paneled booths. There are a handful of more casual options, too. 

Another stand-out amenity is the resort’s pool area with interactive play areas, waterfalls, and an impressive 65-foot water slide. There are also tennis and basketball courts, a gym, spa, as well as fishing (catch and release), and a mile-long jogging and biking trail. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

hilton orlando bonnet

Book Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

This Hilton resort shares convention and other facilities with its sister property, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, and offers almost comparable levels of comfort and amenities with a more family-friendly slant. 

The lobby feels bright and spacious thanks to pastel shades and pale stone floors that reflect the daylight. The ceilings feature striking (but not racy) murals of women in vintage bathing costumes. The rooms are perfectly comfortable, if unremarkable, but do come with Hilton’s Serenity beds, and some offer views of fireworks from the surrounding parks. 

The main draw, especially for families, is the pool area with a lazy river, water slides, and cabanas. Guests can also make use of the golf course and spa, which are amenities that are shared with the Waldorf Astoria. 

Also shared are the varied dining options, though the on-site Italian bistro, La Luce, comes highly recommended and is operated by Napa Valley chef and restaurateur Donna Scala.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

gaylord

Book Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

Run by Marriott and primarily geared to convention-goers, the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center also offers close proximity to Disney and an impressive array of amenities that will appeal to families and adult business travelers. 

The approach has the air of an upscale country club, with palatial spaces, columns, and marble. The hotel also boasts a unique four-and-a-half acre atrium housing a Floridian eco-system of gators, fish, caves, and sand sculptures, among many other things. Guests can visit various themed sections such as Everglades, St Augustine, Key West, etc. 

All rooms were renovated in 2012 and sleep up to five people. Many have atrium views and private balconies, as well as noticeably pleasant granite-topped bathrooms. 

The hotel’s five restaurants include a steakhouse, Caribbean bistro, and a seafood restaurant, part of which is a replica sailboat. The pool area is a mini water park and there’s also an adults-only pool for relaxing.  

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

The Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

grandbohemian

Book The Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

Part of Marriott’s niche Kessler Collection, this property in downtown Orlando is steeped in the portfolio’s usual esoteric design. The lobby is a symphony of red tiling and fabrics and dozens of paintings and sculptures add to the art-forward ambiance. It’s well worth taking a tour of the property’s impressively eclectic art collection. 

The rooms are swathed in plush velvet, and bold color choices such as purple and gold create a slightly kitschy, but decadent look that certainly stands out amid the usual Floridian design. In effect, this hotel feels more like a Vegas property than an Orlando one. 

The flagship restaurant, Boheme, serves modern American cuisine and is similarly sultry with dark woods and scarlet curtains. Its neighboring sister cocktail lounge is dominated by a Grand Bosendorfer Piano, which allows for a great Jazz Brunch at the weekend. 

The hotel’s rooftop pool is relatively modest by Orlando standards but is perfectly pleasant and heated year-round. The spa reflects the playful design of the hotel. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Reunion Resort & Golf Club

reunion resort a salamander

Book the Reunion Resort & Golf Club

This Wyndham Grand property just west of downtown Orlando is a favorite with golfers, offering three championship courses. The setting could not be more perfect in a plum spot amid two and half thousand acres of landscaped gentle hills. 

A grand, tree-lined driveway brings guests up to the looming towers of the main hotel, with the lobby stepping up the grandeur even more with chandeliers and shining marble floors. 

The main building houses one and two-bedroom suites, while family-sized villas towards the golf courses are also available. All accommodations are fitted to a very high standard with gold and beige color palettes and dark wood finishes that really drive home the sense of quality. The villas are large enough to entertain with high-end granite kitchens. 

Three golf courses are the main attraction, designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Watson, and there are a number of swimming pools, as well as a spa and gym. The 11th-floor restaurant, Eleven, serves a gourmet American menu and Italian and sushi options are available elsewhere on-site.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

hyatt regency grand cypress

Book Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is probably as close to Disney as you can get without actually being part of the campus. Its 1,500-acre sprawl is jam-packed with so many amenities that even the normally-dreaded resort fee seems reasonable. The overall aesthetic is a little 1990s but there are so many distractions that guests will soon overlook it. 

The guest rooms replicate Hyatt’s Asian-influenced, sleek design with rain showers, private balconies, and a chaise lounge. Rooms on the upper floors enjoy the bonus of being able to see the fireworks from Disney and EPCOT, and most rooms overlook the on-site lake. 

The jewel in the amenities crown is the lagoon-style pool complex, which has water slides, waterfalls, and caves and is arguably the best resort pool in the city. On land, there are tennis courts, biking trails, rock climbing, and 45 holes of golf. Hemingway’s is the signature restaurant, serving elevated Floridian classics, and there are four other large eateries to explore. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

waldorf astoria orlando

Book Waldorf Astoria Orlando

A name made famous in New York stands as arguably the most luxurious hotel in Orlando. It echoes the original property with a golden dome and famous clock in the grand, circular lobby and monochrome floor tiles in guest rooms. But unlike New York, this Florida outpost comes with the added bonus of a world-class golf course attached to the hotel, with beautiful links that endow the place with a scenic view. 

Beige and gold accents mean guest rooms bathe in a regal light and enjoy high-end linens, toiletries, Italian marble bathroom fittings, and the technical amenities expected from this lofty brand.

The hotel’s signature restaurants set the dining standard in the region with an on-site steakhouse, Bull and Bear. A dozen more casual options (some shared with neighboring sister property Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek) offer every option from Italian to sushi and coffee. Two large pools are classically glamorous, and the spa is indulgent with a full menu of treatments, some of which employ decadent local ingredients like Florida honey. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

More on the methodology behind our hotel choices

My experience: I’ve been visiting Orlando and writing about hotels in the area for 15 years. I’ve been to most of these hotels myself and can vouch for their value and hospitality.

COVID-19: We only selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new cleaning policies.

Amenities: Knowing that not everyone comes to Orlando to go to theme parks, we selected hotels that have a wealth of on-site amenities from lavish pool complexes with water parks to sumptuous spas, world-class golf courses, buzzy dining, kids clubs, and excellent fitness facilities.

Location: But if you do want to hit the theme parks, they’re very close and most hotels offer shuttles to avoid the hassle of parking.

Value: We chose hotels that are not only cheaper than most within theme park limits, but offer larger, more up-to-date rooms alongside excellent services and amenities. 

Ratings: We researched reviews and ratings on trusted traveler sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com.

Guests: Our best hotels in Orlando appeal to families, couples, business travelers, and more.

FAQ: The best hotels in Orlando

What is the best area to stay in Orlando, Florida?

If you want to go to the theme parks, Lake Buena Vista is as close as it gets. The nearby picture-perfect town of Celebration is a great place to stay if you want to be in the area, but not the thick of it. International Drive is home to tons of restaurants and shops and is also close, while Downtown Orlando has tons of non-theme park things to do.

Where should adults stay in Orlando, Florida?

Despite the kid-friendly approach of most hotels, many family-friendly resorts seek to attract adults without children by promoting features like adults-only pools and other grownup endeavors such as spas and golf.

How many hotels are in Orlando, Florida?

The Orlando metro area boasts well over 120,000 hotel rooms, the second-highest in the country behind Las Vegas. And although a substantial number of rooms are within Disney theme parks, the strong convention trade, as well as traveler needs, have driven the growth of high-quality hotels all over the city. 

How much does it cost to stay in Orlando, Florida?

Prices vary enormously, though non-Disney hotels are far cheaper than what you’ll find within the theme park grounds.

Peak season prices usually surge between mid-December to April and the period from March to May sees fewer crowds and pleasant temperatures. Summer will be cheapest but expect stormy humid weather.

However, anytime school is not in session, prices can rise to attract families with kids. Busy convention schedules may also drive up prices.

What is there to do in Orlando, Florida?

Orlando has been home to Walt Disney World since 1971, which expanded to open Epcot, Animal Kingdom, MGM Studios, and many shopping and entertainment complexes in addition to the Magic Kingdom.

But Disney is hardly the only theme park. Brands such as SeaWorld and Universal have also set up shop with the latter recently opening the wildly popular Harry Potter World.

More of the best hotels in Florida

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11 of the best Virginia Beach Airbnbs for oceanfront views, pool access, and central locations to stroll the boardwalk

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best airbnbs virginia beach

  • Virginia Beach is a vibrant resort town known for its entertainment-packed boardwalk and beaches.
  • Experts say Airbnb is safe; we picked the best Enhanced Clean Airbnbs for all types of groups.
  • Every vacation rental we chose on Airbnb is within walking distance of the beach.

With 35 miles of sandy beaches that stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is a popular destination with lively hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. Most are centered around the famous three-mile-long boardwalk.

While the oceanfront boardwalk is where the action is, those seeking a quieter getaway can head to the beachfront communities of the North End, or south to the secluded neighborhoods of Sandbridge and Croatan, where my family lived for more than 15 years. The mostly residential Chick’s Beach, nestled on the Chesapeake Bay, is a great option for those with kids, with calm waters and crowd-free beaches.

And while the city is filled with hotels and resorts, you’ll enjoy more space to spread out in a vacation rental like those found on Airbnb. All our Airbnb options offer a range of amenities, price points, and are within walking distance of the beach.

Browse the best Virginia Beach Airbnbs below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

Here are the best Airbnbs in Virginia Beach, sorted by price from low to high.

Charming studio in the artsy ViBe District

Vibe district studio

Book this Virginia Beach studio on Airbnb

Stretching from Virginia Beach Boulevard to 23rd Street, between Pacific Avenue and the Convention Center, the ViBe District is an artistic hub packed with outdoor installations and colorful murals, artists’ studios, independent shops and restaurants, breweries, plus a popular Saturday Farmers Market.

This cute, cozy, wonderfully affordably studio is located on the first floor of a townhouse in the heart of the ViBe district, just a few blocks’ walk to the ocean. Ideal for couples or solo travelers, the small space is well-appointed with a Queen-sized bed, a bathroom with a tub and shower combo, and a kitchenette with a coffee maker, refrigerator, water cooler, and microwave. Bikes and all the beach essentials you need, including towels, chairs, an umbrella, and a cooler, are provided. 

Oceanfront studio with a shared pool in the North End

best airbnbs virginia beach oceanfront studio

Book this Virginia Beach studio on Airbnb

Tucked away in the desirable North End, just steps to the boardwalk, beach, and area attractions, this nicely updated apartment features water views that are hard to beat at this starting price. A spacious balcony is a prime space to admire the vantage point over the Atlantic, especially first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee.

The studio is open plan, meaning the Queen bed, living area (with Queen-size sofa bed), and kitchen all share one large room, so this home is best for a solo traveler or couple. The kitchen is small but functional with stainless steel appliances, all the pots and dishware you’ll need, and a coffee maker, though, there’s no dishwasher. 

The host provides linens, towels, beach towels, beach chairs, and a cooler, and staying here includes a reserved parking space, plus access to shared community amenities such as a saltwater pool facing the ocean, a large BBQ deck area, and a lawn on the beach. 

Cozy one-bedroom in Rudee Inlet

Rudee Inlet one bdrm1

Book this Virginia Beach apartment on Airbnb

A hub for waterfront dining with a picturesque marina where you can charter fishing boats, Rudee Inlet is just across Pacific Avenue from the beaches on the southern tip of the Oceanfront. 

Light and bright and decorated with contemporary white and ecru furnishings and subtle nautical touches, this upper-story apartment is situated in a quiet residential neighborhood, but just a block from the Rudee Inlet waterfront, and three blocks from the beach.

There is a Queen-sized bed, kitchenette, and dining nook, making it best suited to couples. Though, there is a fold-out couch that can accommodate two more guests. The rental comes with bikes, beach chairs, and beach towels.

Waterfront apartment in Croatan

Croatan2

Book this Virginia Beach apartment on Airbnb

Located about 1.5 miles south of the bustling Oceanfront, the upscale Croatan neighborhood is a great option if you’re looking for a quieter beach experience. Set on the ground floor of a lakefront home, this freshly renovated apartment features wood floors, a sleek tiled kitchen with industrial lighting, a four-seater breakfast bar, and a soothing gray and cream color scheme throughout.

The two bedrooms have Queen-sized beds and the pull-out sofa adds extra sleeping space. Two spacious decks — one covered — offer plenty of outdoor seating for lovely sunny days, plus a grill for summer barbecues. 

It’s just two blocks to Croatan Beach, which has fewer crowds than many area beaches given the residential neighborhood’s parking restrictions. All the restaurants and bars of Rudee Inlet and the Oceanfront are just a short drive away. 

Midcentury modern home in the North End

midcentury modern north end1

Book this Virginia Beach home on Airbnb

One of two units in an oceanside bungalow located in the North End area of Virginia Beach, this property has a cool, retro vibe thanks to midcentury modern-style furnishings and bright, primary-colored accents in the separate living and dining rooms.

A more sedate gray-and-cream design scheme defines the bedroom, which has a Queen-sized bed. There is also an inflatable Queen-sized mattress, two full bathrooms, and a large patio outside with separate lounging and dining areas, surrounded by leafy trees. Hang out and fire up the grill or rinse off in the outdoor shower after a day at the beach.

This Airbnb is also within walking distance to First Landing State Park, with a lush maritime forest, lagoons, marshes, and 20 miles of hiking trails.

Centrally located stay in a renovated beach shack

Beach shack Old Salt2

Book this Virginia Beach apartment on Airbnb

This three-bedroom apartment is set inside a charming, bright-blue beach shack dubbed The Old Salt, built in 1910 and was just renovated this year. You won’t get much closer to the action than here; the home is a block from the Boardwalk, the beach, and 24th Street Park, where festivals and live concerts regularly take place.

Decorated in a distinctly beachy style, the apartment features understated nautical accents and an open living room/kitchen with a large island for dining. There’s also a bar area with everything you need to mix up cocktails, which are best enjoyed on the upper deck, which has seating for eight. There are two bedrooms, one with Queen-sized beds, the other with a King, and both are simply decorated but have attractive wood floors.

While the property very centrally located, it’s surrounded by restaurants and hotels, so be aware that the views are mainly of parking lots.

Family-friendly beach retreat with a pool in Sandbridge

Sandbridge

Book this Virginia Beach house with a pool on Airbnb

Great for nature lovers, the secluded peninsula community of Sandbridge offers miles of pristine beaches as well as freshwater activities like fishing and boating on the bay side. At the southern end is the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, with biking and walking trails and plenty of bird-watching.

Abutting the refuge is this family-friendly, three-story home, complete with a large outdoor pool, poolside tiki bar, and lots of indoor/outdoor dining and lounging space. Children will love all the thoughtful play areas, including a mini, kid-sized kitchen and  a cool pirate ship filled with “cannonballs.”

Of its four bedrooms, two have bunk beds, one has a fun nautical design, while the other has bright pink bedspreads. Walls also are painted with full-size maritime-inspired murals featuring whales and lighthouses.

The home is just a block from the beach and comes with all the gear you need, including beach carts, toys, and towels.  

Recently-built house close to the Oceanfront

Recently built oceanfront house2

Book this Virginia Beach home on Airbnb

Everything about this recently constructed home feels fresh, from the open-plan living/dining room/kitchen to the bright, spacious upstairs bedrooms. It has nice laminate wood floors and a serene, beachy color scheme, plus a well-equipped kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a separate laundry room with a full-sized washer/dryer ideal for long-term stays. The private backyard has a gas grill and dining table and additional seating can be found on the front porch. 

The home is located in a residential neighborhood just a few blocks from the beach and the boardwalk, though, be aware you’ll have to cross busy Pacific Avenue to get there. It’s also close to the bustling restaurant scene around 23rd Street.

Renovated condo a block from the ocean

Condo block from Oceanfront1

Book this Virginia Beach condo on Airbnb

This renovated one-bedroom is set in the heart of the area known as the Oceanfront, just a block from the beaches and boardwalk, surrounded by restaurants, bars, and shopping.

Set on the second floor of a small complex, the condo features a nice-sized living/dining area decorated with furnishings done up in a soothing, beach-inspired palette of greys and whites with splashes of turquoise. There is a large bedroom with a King-sized bed, and a kitchen equipped with a dishwasher, microwave, and coffeemaker. A pull-out sofa in the living room offers additional sleeping and a pack and play or other children’s items are available upon request.

Make use of the included beach chairs, towels, umbrella, beach blankets, and snorkeling gear, for a great day at the beach.

Big bay-front property in Chick’s Beach

Chicks Beach3

Book this Virginia Beach home on Airbnb

While much of Virginia Beach is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, to the north is the Chesapeake Bay, with beaches well-suited to young children thanks to gentle, warm waters and a family-friendly vibe.

Known to locals as Chick’s Beach, this peaceful residential enclave is where you’ll find this waterfront home, offering spectacular bay views plus direct access to the quiet, sandy beach. While pricier, it feels distinctly high-end.

There’s plenty of room to spread out in the multi-story home, which has two living rooms, a large dining area, and outdoor space on every level, including a sprawling beachfront deck with a gas grill and bar. The top-floor living area is ideal for entertaining, with lots of sleek white leather seating, a wet bar, and glass sliders opening to a wraparound deck with direct water views.

The four bedrooms feature a variety of sleeping configurations and each has its pluses, from direct ocean views right from bed to private balconies, and a bathroom with a massive walk-in shower. 

Luxe abode in the historic Cavalier Shores neighborhood

Cavalier Shores1

Book this Virginia Beach home on Airbnb

Just a block from the 42nd Street beach, at the northern end of the Boardwalk, this 2,500-square-foot, early 20th-century stucco home is set in the charming historic neighborhood of Cavalier Shores, which is dotted with vintage beach houses, red-brick Colonials, and ancient live oaks. 

The home feels like a Mediterranean villa, with beautifully preserved architectural details, including high ceilings, French doors, oak-plank floors, transom windows, and a wood-burning fireplace. Outfitted with plush furnishings, rich textiles, and high-quality linens, it feels incredibly luxurious, while unique amenities such as a vintage hi-fi with a curated collection of LPs give it the personalized touch of a home.

The huge gourmet kitchen looks plucked from a magazine, with custom tile work, gleaming black counters, and a mirrored bar, but perhaps the most impressive space is the sprawling balcony off the main suite, with outdoor sofas and great views of the century-old Cavalier Hotel.

FAQ: Airbnb in Virginia Beach

Where is Virginia Beach?

Virginia Beach is located on the southeast coast of the state of Virginia, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay. It’s the most populous city in Virginia, made up of numerous inland and coastal communities, with the Virginia Beach Oceanfront being the main resort area.

Studded with marine-themed statues, including the towering bronze figure of Neptune, the 28-foot-wide paved boardwalk draws tourists and locals alike, who come to stroll, bike, roller-blade, and catch live music and festivals at its many seaside stages. 

Where are the best places to stay in a Virginia Beach Airbnb?

If you want to be in the middle of the action, opt for the Oceanfront, which stretches from 2nd Street to 40th Street and is packed with hotels, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues on and around the Boardwalk. Most vacation rentals here are condos and the party atmosphere appeals to a younger crowd. 

If you want a larger house with amenities and a calmer beach experience, look for Airbnbs in Virginia Beach on the northern end, starting in the mid-30s and going up to 90th Street. The farther north you go, the quieter and more residential it gets.

During the high summer season, trolleys run frequently from the southern end of the Oceanfront to Shore Drive (roughly 83rd Street), so you can easily get to all the nightlife hotspots. 

Other desirable oceanfront communities for Airbnbs in Virginia Beach include Croatan and Sandbridge to the south, and to the far north, the tranquil Chesapeake Bay beaches of Chick’s Beach offer a truly locals-only experience.

What is there to do in Virginia Beach?

By far the most popular attraction is the 3-mile-long Virginia Beach Boardwalk, whose wide, paved beachfront path is ideal for strolling, biking, or rollerblading.

Try your hand at high-octane water sports, including surfing, wakeboarding, parasailing, and jet-skiing, or more relaxing activities like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing.

State parks offer hiking and biking trails and fantastic bird-watching opportunities. For kids, there’s the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the Ocean Breeze Waterpark, and several other amusement parks. There’s also great dining, with a focus on local seafood, and more than 20 craft breweries and taphouses.

How much does it cost to rent a beach house in Virginia Beach?

There’s a big variety in terms of price, location, size, and amenities. As expected, rentals on or near the beach and close to the buzzy Oceanfront are generally more expensive.

You can often find better deals on properties along the quieter Chesapeake Bay beaches.   Prices fluctuate wildly depending on the time of year; summer (from Memorial Day through Labor Day) is peak season so expect a surge in prices, especially on weekends and holidays. Shoulder season sees lower rates; September and October, when temps are usually still warm but crowds are fewer, are great months to visit. 

A two-bedroom bungalow in walking distance to the beach can run as little as $80 per night in October, while that same property in July is $199 per night. Larger properties see bigger price surges, like a five-bedroom oceanside home that can be had for just $250 per night in the off-season, but the summer rate quintuples to $1,250. Many homes book up fast during the coveted summer season so be sure to plan ahead. 

Be sure to also budget extra fees for cleaning, service fees, and other additional costs imposed by vacation rentals such as Airbnb.

Is Virginia Beach open to visitors?

If you are planning to travel to Virginia Beach during COVID-19, know that there are no Virginia Beach travel restrictions currently.

There is a statewide face-covering requirement in place; you can read more about Virginia’s current COVID travel restrictions on the state government’s website

How do I book a vacation rental in Virginia Beach on Airbnb?

You may search for homes on Airbnb and filter results based on location, price, date, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, amenities, and more. For more information on how to book on Airbnb, click here.

What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?

Cancellation policies on Airbnb differ for every home. For a full breakdown of Airbnb’s cancellation policies, click here.

Is it safe to stay in an Airbnb right now?

Experts say that private home rentals on Airbnb are safe, especially compared to hotels. The CDC also now says it’s safe for fully vaccinated individuals to travel domestically in the US.

However, there are still risks associated with traveling. Be sure to follow CDC guidelines, such as practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands frequently.

More East Coast Airbnb beach homes

Best myrtle beach airbnbs
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I used Arrive Outdoors to rent all the camping gear I needed for a weekend trip – here’s how it works and why I’ll gladly use the service again

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arrive outdoors review
  • Arrive Outdoors partners with top brands to rent outdoor, camping, and ski gear.
  • The company offers everything from one-off items like tents to full collections and sets of gear.
  • Prices start from $1 per day, but range depending on season, number of rental days, and popularity.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Over the last year, there’s been a steep rise in the popularity of camping and other outdoor pursuits that make it easier to practice social distancing.

In fact, according to KOA’s North American Camping Report, 46% of leisure travelers have spent significantly more time outdoors since the start of the pandemic. Even those who typically prefer a more luxurious hotel-style stay have been keen to take up camping, and it’s a trend that’s likely to continue this summer too.

For those who don’t typically do much hiking or camping, investing in new equipment to get started can be expensive. While many campgrounds are quite cheap to book, tents, sleeping bags, camp stoves, hiking boots, and other essentials are not. And for city dwellers who lack roomy sheds, basements, or even closet space, there’s also the question of where to store everything.

Enter Arrive Outdoors, a company that rents camping, outdoor, and ski/snowboard equipment. Customers choose the items they want, the number of days they want to use them, and get them shipped right to their front door. After a fun weekend hiking and curling up by the campfire, just pack it all back up and ship it back.

What is Arrive Outdoors?

Arrive Outdoors is a company that partners with top brands to rent out camping and outdoor equipment. You can rent everything from tents and sleeping bags to ski pants and snowshoes and can choose a window of days to rent the gear. When finished, all gear is easily returned so there’s no need to own or store all your own equipment.

The gear is sent directly to your door via FedEx and comes with return shipping labels to send it back once you’re done. You can rent both equipment and clothes, though most of the equipment is for camping (you can’t rent actual skis, for example).

You can rent one-off items you may be missing, such as just a tent, just hiking boots, or just ski goggles, or you can rent entire sets the company curates. Sets range from camping sets for one, two, or four people to ski clothing sets for men, women, and even kids.

For those who only camp, hike, ski, or snowboard occasionally, want to try gear out before committing to buying it, or just want to save on storage space, Arrive Outdoors is an excellent option.

Arrive Outdoors review - Gear arriving

How much does Arrive Outdoors cost?

Rentals are priced per day so the total cost depends on how long you plan to use it. The prices also fluctuate quite a bit depending on the time of year and how many other people are looking to rent at the same time.

Small items like trekking poles or even hiking boots go for as little as $1 to $5 per day, depending on the season, while a two-person tent typically runs roughly $12 per day. Full sets like ski clothes for men (including everything from base layers to the ski jacket and gloves) costs closer to $80 per day.

If you’re willing to enter your email into the Arrive Outdoors database, you can also receive 10% off your first rental of $99 or more.

Where does Arrive Outdoors deliver?

Arrive Outdoors delivers anywhere in the contiguous United States via FedEx. Delivery is extremely easy and comes right to your door. You can even choose to get your equipment delivered to your home, a hotel, an Airbnb, or to one of over 10,000 FedEx or FedEx affiliate locations.

Arrive Outdoors COVID-19 policies

Arrive Outdoors has new policies in place specifically for COVID-19 that include:

  • Gear and apparel are thoroughly cleaned and treated with CDC-recommended cleaning solutions​;
  • All apparel goes through a​ commercial launder system and gets treated with laundry additives to fight viruses​ and bacteria;
  • All staff who handle gear or shipments are ​required to use disposable gloves at all times and use sanitizer ​frequently and between stations;
  • All ​product surfaces are cleaned with CDC-recommended disinfectants​.

My review of Arrive Outdoors

Arrive Outdoors review - inside Tent View

I’m no newbie to camping and typically have my camping packing list set. However, storing camping gear in my small Brooklyn apartment presents quite a challenge, and since I don’t camp as often as I used to, many of my bigger essentials like tents, sleeping pads, and coolers are currently stowed with my parents in New Mexico.

Because of that, I decided to try out Arrive Outdoor’s Camping Set for Two for my fiance and me (which was comped for review purposes). I also wanted to experience what it would be like if I had no equipment of my own and needed to rely exclusively on Arrive Outdoor’s supply.

The Camping Set prices fluctuate quite a bit. Though they start as low as $23 per day, the kit typically runs closer to $55 per day in the fall season. However, I went over an August weekend when camping was at peak popularity and the set ran $83 per night. For an entire weekend trip, I was looking at $166, plus a shipping charge of $20.

While that may seem pricey to rent gear and sleep on the ground, the set comes loaded with just about everything you need. This includes a high-quality Marmot tent, two Nemo sleeping bags, two Therma-a-Rest luxury sleeping pads, two headlamps, a lantern outfit with charging ports, a small YETI cooler, a camp stove and cooking pots, and two foldable camp chairs. If I bought everything included on the list, it’d run more than $1,600, which suddenly makes the $160 price tag much more reasonable.

The reservation process was also very easy and Arrive Outdoors allows you to reserve for free – it only charges your card once the gear actually ships. I also liked that it gave me options when choosing the sleeping bag for how warm I wanted it to be.

The gear arrived in two large boxes right on time and directly to my door. Everything was neatly packed and there was a note on the top outlining the brand’s new cleaning policy. This definitely helped put my mind at ease about renting gear in the COVID era and true to its word, all the equipment was spotless.

arrive outdoors review - lantern setup

The gear was also in excellent shape. I found no rips or tears in the tent or sleeping bags, and no missing tent poles or required components. I’d still recommend looking everything over and even pitching the tent once before embarking on an extended trip. There’s nothing worse than arriving at an isolated location miles away from home before realizing your tent zipper doesn’t work or your headlamp is broken.

Our campsite was a short, two-hour drive away and we arrived just before dusk on a Friday afternoon. Because it wasn’t my usual tent, I did end up having to pull up a short Youtube video to check how the poles were supposed to connect after some initial confusion. Despite that, I still felt that the equipment was extremely user-friendly, and setting up the tent a second time would’ve taken mere minutes after I’d gotten the hang of it.

All the extra equipment worked flawlessly and nearly everything we needed was included. However, there were a few key items missing that those who have never camped before could easily overlook. I’d recommend bringing some sort of pillow (inflatable or otherwise), a sturdy tarp in case of severe weather, and fire starters, at a bare minimum.

Overall, the equipment made for a comfortable and easy campsite. I particularly liked that the tent was actually a three-person tent, making it a bit roomier for both my fiance and me. The lantern that doubled as a charging port was especially handy and I’m even considering buying the same one now to add to my regular camping kit. We even took the camp chairs down to the beach and it made for an easy way to relax and enjoy the sunset view.

Arrive Outdoors View

When we got back, we made sure everything was packed back up, put it all back into the boxes with the pre-printed return shipping labels affixed, and dropped it off at a nearby FedEx. Do note that the boxes are big and heavy and if you don’t have a car, it can be a serious pain to get them to a drop-off location. I ended up needing to use a dolly just to wheel them to the drop-off.

The bottom line

My overall experience with Arrive Outdoors was an excellent one and I definitely plan to use it again this summer for my outdoor and camping gear needs. The company is very useful for those who are new to outdoor pursuits, want to try out equipment before buying, or who live in smaller spaces and don’t have the storage space for gear like tents or snowshoes.

The prices are especially reasonable for one-off items such as renting a single tent, a set of trekking poles, or a pair of gloves. However, the full sets make activities like camping and skiing more accessible for those who aren’t quite ready to invest in the gear required to get started – and it still offers great value when compared to the full retail prices of what’s included.

If you do plan to hike, ski, or camp often, it’s worth it to invest in your own equipment since rental prices add up over time, but for the occasional outing, Arrive Outdoors is a smart and worthy option.

Read the original article on Business Insider

14 unique Airbnbs in New York’s Hudson Valley, from a yurt on a goat farm to a renovated train caboose

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unique Hudson Valley Airbnbs

  • As summer approaches, many New Yorkers are seeking a close-to-home getaway to enjoy the outdoors.
  • We found Hudson Valley cabins, cottages, and barns in places like Beacon, Hudson, and Rhinebeck.
  • All are highly-rated listings with top-notch amenities and start under $450 per night.

Though vaccine rollouts are well underway, many city dwellers are continuing to seek getaways to connect with nature and savor fresh air while still practicing social distancing.

New York’s Hudson Valley draws visitors from all over the Northeast and is also especially popular with New York urbanites looking for a close-to-home city break. While it’s ideal in every season, the Hudson Valley is an especially beautiful spring or summer trip thanks to an abundance of cute cabins, breweries, and outdoor activities like hiking.

Hudson Valley towns like Beacon, Rhinebeck, Hudson, and others are all teeming with scenic Airbnbs, and many New York City train lines reach them in around two hours or less. Though, renting a car is always an option, too.

Browse all of the unique Hudson Valley Airbnbs below, or jump to a specific area here:

Here are the best Hudson Valley Airbnbs, sorted by price from low to high.

Goat farm yurt in Pattersonville

hudson valley airbnbs goat farm yurt

Book this Hudson Valley Airbnb

It doesn’t get much more unique than a glamping yurt where you can enjoy the company of goats. This tranquil getaway is located in the woods on a small, off-the-grid goat farm. So if you’re seeking an unplugged vacation, this is your spot.

The yurt is heated in the colder months by a wood stove and kerosene heater. Inside you’ll find a bed surrounded by a net, bamboo walls, a tiny wash basin, and a small pantry complete with an electric kettle. However, there is no full kitchen and the bathroom is an outhouse located right nearby the yurt.

Guests can spend their days strolling through the woods and gardens, exploring the farm, or eating breakfast with the goats.

Farmhouse in Kingston

Kingston_Farm_House

Book this Hudson Valley Airbnb

For Hudson Valley appeal coupled with sweeping views, consider this renovated farmhouse with three bedrooms.

Light and bright, it sits on a hill overlooking Kingston and the full Hudson River Valley and includes one-of-a-kind style choices like periodic table pillows, decorative paddles, and vintage rugs. Throw a log into the gas-burning stove and savor a slower pace. There’s also a fully-equipped kitchen, smart TV functions, and a Nespresso machine.

Waterfront cottage in Hyde Park

Hudson river view airbnb

Book this Hudson Valley Airbnb

A waterfront find can be rare in these parts, making this well-priced cottage a true gem. Walls of windows frame the picturesque views for front row foliage viewing, though your best vantage point is from one of the Adirondack chairs on the wraparound deck.

Inside, this romantic retreat is well-suited for two with a studio layout that includes a separate sleep nook with a Queen-sized bed. There is also a full kitchen, Wi-Fi with smart TV, linens, and toiletries, and a grill.

Carriage house in Hudson

Hudson_Carriage_House

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This home masterfully blends rustic charm with an urban mindset through exposed brick, sleek wood, and mod elements like the low slung leather couch or the bedroom wall fashioned out of a garage door.

There’s also a private upstairs lounge and courtyard, and a peaceful Juliet balcony. Do note, however, that there is not a full kitchen. Instead, basics are offered such as a cold/hot water cooler, mini-fridge, and Keurig beverage machine with a variety of coffees and teas. Pro tip: spend a crisp evening outside with your beverage of choice, and bites from Talbott & Arding Cheese & Provisions, a great local pick for cheese, produce and fresh-baked treats.

Cozy cottage walking distance to Hunter Mountain

hudson valley airbnbs hunter mountain

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For those looking to hit the slopes this winter, this cozy spot is ideal since it’s within easy walking distance of the ski resort at Hunter Mountain.

The pitched roof creates a classic cabin feel and the interiors also feature wood-paneled walls, a leather couch close to a potbelly stove, three bedrooms, and a second living room area with a large TV. During warmer months, guests can also take advantage of the large front porch that comes furnished with a patio table, chairs, umbrella, and Adirondack chairs.

Downtown flat in Hudson

Hudson_Apartment

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This Hudson Airbnb is immaculate. The living room is certainly Pinterest-worthy in addition to design touches like platform beds and a claw foot tub for a dose of retro glam. The backyard lit by twinkle lights begs for a night under the stars, and with two bedrooms, the price is quite affordable when split between two couples, or for a small family.

Writes one review, “Annabel’s place was a dream. Beautiful, comfortable, convenient to everything and with lots of outdoor space to get fresh air. Oh, and that record player — lounging around listening to Nina Simone was everything. We’ll be back.”

Restored caboose in Windham

hudson valley airbnbs caboose

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This listing is actually a restored 1922 train caboose located in downtown Windham. It’s ideally situated close to restaurants and boutiques and is also just a half-mile from Windham Ski Mountain.

Inside is small but cozy and ideal for couples or solo travelers. The Queen-size bed features a plaid duvet, and the curtains match. There’s also a small leather couch, kitchen with a microwave and fridge, TV, and bathroom with granite countertops and a walk-in shower. For extra space, head out to the large private deck with a view of a nearby stream.

 

 

Midcentury farmhouse cottage in Rhinebeck

unique hudson valley airbnbs midcentury farmhouse

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This cozy stay has retro charm thanks to midcentury decor and colorful details like a cherry red fridge, turquoise appliances, and plenty of plant life. This is a studio, so it’s best for a couple or solo traveler. But the space is well laid out so it doesn’t feel cramped and includes a full kitchen, a wooden dining table, a comfy pullout sofa, and a King-size bed.  

Two large doors open up onto a wooden deck with Adirondack chairs that makes for a nice spot to enjoy a morning coffee, and a small fire pit below offers a place to warm up or make s’mores later in the evening. 

Historic home with private sauna in Kingston

unique hudson valley airbnbs historic home sauna

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Located in a designated historic district of Uptown Kingston, this cheery home features plenty of color via blue couches, yellow armchairs, turquoise trim around the (non-working) fireplace in the living area, and yellow kitchen walls. The home includes three bedrooms, with one Queen bed, one Double bed, and one Single bed. 

Outside beckons with a spacious private and fenced-in yard complete with a furnished patio, hammock, and twinkling string lights. In the winter especially, guests will love warming up in the private outdoor barrel sauna. 

Bowler house in Hudson

Hudson, New York Bowler

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Just a 10-minute walk from the Hudson Amtrak station, this historic home blends antique statement pieces with a sense of understated luxury. 

Many original details from 1860 remain, such as pre-tin plaster moldings, mahogany stairwells, and etched glass, with newer renovations paying homage to the past. The kitchen also wows with a vintage fridge, stove, and radio that will surely transport you to another era, and the tiled mosaic floor deserves a firm place on your Instagram feed. There’s no outdoor space, but the plush sleigh bed looks especially plush and inviting.

A-frame cabin in Red Hook

Hudson Valley aframe

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The hosts of this 1968 A-frame cabin are fashion designers based out of Brooklyn, lending extra credibility to an expertly-designed home, that’s also an Airbnb Plus property.

Natural light soaks the bright space, pouring in through a wall of windows, and highlighting features such as wood beams, a fireplace, and plush leather couches. Other pieces are clearly midcentury modern inspired, from cool lighting fixtures to statement chairs, dark wood, and vintage Danish furniture. 

Situated on six acres, there are two large bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and also a spacious terrace with outdoor seating and a fire pit.

Contemporary treehouse in Willow

hudson valley treehouse

Book this Hudson Valley treehouse Airbnb

For an enchanting escape, try this cozy treehouse just 15 minutes from Woodstock. Nestled among the trees on 34 acres, it overlooks a small pond that guests can actually swim in. The interiors are cozy and chic with floor-to-ceiling windows offering scenic views. Ideal for couples or solo travelers, the bed is loft-style at the top of a ladder, perched above an open living room flanked by full walls of windows and a super sleek kitchen counter.

One recent reviewer rave, “Beautiful cozy treehouse, a killer record collection, perfect weather, a full moon and a much-needed break from the world. Couldn’t have picked a better place to unwind.”

Be aware this is one of the most popular Airbnbs in the area and can book up as far as a year in advance.

Spacious carriage house with a private pool

unique hudson airbnbs carriage house with pool

Book this Hudson Valley Airbnb

Featuring a red roof and big windows, this carriage house can sleep up to five guests in two bedrooms. The historic home dates back to 1891, but has been fully renovated. Wide plank wood floors and built-in cabinets and reading nooks give it a cabin vibe, and the tall, pitched roof over the living area makes it feel extra spacious.

However, the real draw here is the outdoor space. The home is located on two acres that include grassy areas complete with a playground for kids, and a stone patio with lounge chairs that surrounds a large, heated saltwater pool. 

Modern cabin with pool in Rhinebeck

rhinebeck pool cabin

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This gorgeously designed glass and wood cabin has 360 glass views of the surrounding foliage and trees, as well as a year-round heated outdoor pool. For even more immersion in nature, try the outdoor shower. Afterward, chilly toes will find solace on the radiant heat cement floors.

Or, for those who prefer to bathe indoors, there’s a deep egg tub for soaking in the master bedroom. Ideal for families or groups, this listing can sleep up to six guests with two bedrooms as well as a third sleep area in the solarium, which also features a wood stove and double bed.

FAQs: Hudson Valley travel

Are Airbnbs safe?

The CDC notes that fully vaccinated people may safely travel throughout the US.

Medical experts and the CDC also recommend staying in private vacation homes, such as those on Airbnb, over hotels since you can book an entire home and be protected from interactions with others. It also helps to know that Airbnb put stringent new policies in place that all hosts must now follow, in accordance with their Enhanced Cleaning Protocol

Of it’s still crucial to follow guidelines and advice from organizations such as the CDC and WHO, and continue to practice safety measures including wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining social distancing.

What are the best places to stay in the Hudson Valley?

Where you stay in the Hudson Valley depends on numerous factors, such as how close to a town you want to be, if you want to be near hiking trails or ski resorts, and whether you’ll be driving or taking the train.

If you want to be close to shops, restaurants, and in-town activities, some of the most popular Hudson Valley areas include Beacon, Hudson, Kingston, Woodstock, and Rhinebeck. If you plan to take the train, be sure to check that your Airbnb is close enough to the train station to either walk or take a short Uber or cab ride there. 

How much does it cost to book an Airbnb in the Hudson Valley?

In general, you can often find excellent Airbnbs in the Hudson Valley for under $500 per night, as per our list. However, popular cities like Beacon or Hudson do typically price on the higher end, especially during peak weekends and over holidays. If you do plan to stay in an in-demand area, be sure to book as far in advance as possible as Airbnb inventory can be limited and places tend to book up fast. 

What is there to do in the Hudson Valley?

The Hudson Valley is an idyllic and nature-filled retreat in any season. In summer you can hike, mountain bike, go for a dip in a nearby waterfall, or enjoy a craft beer or glass of wine at a local brewery or vineyard. In the autumn, the area sees breathtaking fall foliage.

Winter also makes for a great time to stay in the numerous cozy cabins available on Airbnb and curl up by the fire, ski, or snowshoe. Many of the local towns are known for great boutiques, museums, and fun galleries. There are also numerous farms in the area, so look for seasonal farmers’ markets.

What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?

Cancellation policies on Airbnb are different for every listing and set by each individual host. Be sure to look for homes with flexible policies if you are unsure about your plans. For a full breakdown of Airbnb’s cancellation policies, click here.

More great East Coast getaways to consider

maine airbnb cabin
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8 eye-catching boutique hotels in the Catskills, including quaint B&Bs and luxe glamping suites

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UC Catskills_Guest Room_Ben Fitchett (3) copy

  • Two hours from New York City, the Catskills is a year-round delight for outdoor activity.
  • Many boutique hotels have recently opened, drawing visitors to intimate, design-forward rooms.
  • The best Catskills hotels feature Scandi design and experiential amenities amid unparalleled nature.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Roughly two hours outside of Manhattan, the Catskills offer a scenic outdoor escape. After emerging as a ’70s spiritual retreat attracting everyone from Janis Joplin to Jimi Hendrix to iconic Woodstock and Phoenicia, the Catskills are now seeing a resurgence. Developers have revitalized hotels, opening boutique gems that prove a mountain getaway isn’t all log and timber.

I’ve been vacationing in the Catskills for over a decade and watched the area not only evolve but reclaim some of its former glory. These rooms are far from standard, designed in the hopes of attracting a new generation of urbanites.

For added social distancing, you may also want to consider these affordable Airbnbs in the Catskills, as experts have noted that stays in private rented homes may be safer than hotels due to fewer interactions with other people.

Browse all the best Catskills boutique hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area:

Read on for the best hotels in the Catskills, sorted by price from low to high.

The Graham & Co.

best catskills hotels - The Graham & Co.

Book The Graham & Co.

A 20-room hotel meets trendy motel located at the foot of Hunter Mountain, The Graham & Co. sets the tone for a throwback to the Catskills retro era. The low-key locale is simple but cozy with wooden furniture and free-hanging lightbulbs. Think of it as going back to summer camp with an upgraded hipster twist.

A good spot for everyone from solo travelers to families, room options range from Standard Singles with Queen-size beds to Bunk House rooms with twin bunk beds to roomy Bungalows with a master bedroom, second bedroom with bunk beds, and a full living room and kitchen area. 

Spread across more than three acres, the property is chock full of activities and amenities, though there are no TVs and cell service has been described by past guests as spotty at best. The emphasis is on unplugging and getting away from it all, but for those who find it impossible to live without it, Wi-Fi is available.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls

best catskills hotels - roxbury

Book the Roxbury at Stratton Falls

The Roxbury at Stratton Falls is full of imaginative and quirky accommodations including mansion rooms, cottages, and suites. 

Spread across two properties in the Catskills, for those looking for little to no exposure to other guests, the hotel’s new Tower Cottages are just the ticket. The standalone, three-story accommodations have multiple bedrooms, screened-in porches, and private balconies and observation decks.

Each boasts a bespoke theme from a Game of Thrones cottage called the “Crown of Pendragons” to the fairy tale fantasy “Cinderella’s Gown,” which welcomes guests with an 18-foot ball gown doubling as a bedroom canopy. 

Beyond the cottages, there are 43 rooms and suites, 36 of which have exterior access doors, so most travelers won’t ever have to interact with other guests in tight hallways. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full review of the Roxbury hotel here

The Gray Barn at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

best catskills hotels - gray barn

Book The Gray Barn at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary

Opened in 2019, The Gray Barn at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary is an elegant, boutique inn with just five modern guest rooms. Each comes with its own private terrace with views of Mohonk Mountain, Rondout Creek, and the property’s garden.

Rooms feature minimalist but chic interiors with sumptuous bedding, built-in wooden shelving, marble bathroom countertops, and large walk-in showers.  

Overlook the breathtaking Shawangunk Ridge and the Sanctuary’s resident goats grazing in their pasture, common rooms gather guests for dining and lounging in spaces flooded with ample natural light. 

Guests here enjoy mouth-watering seasonal and locally-prepared vegan breakfast options. Private tours to meet the 370-rescued animal residents are an immersive experience and a chance to see the work and mission of the sanctuary up close.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Inn at Lake Joseph

best catskills hotels - Inn at Lake Joseph

Book the Inn at Lake Joseph

Perched on a 250-acre private lake, Inn at Lake Joseph is a 17-room hotel in a resort-like setting. With a variety of summer and winter activities from kayaking and swimming in the outdoor pool to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, guests even have access to a nearby health and fitness spa. 

This is an ideal option for those who love a classic country bed and breakfast but want all the bells and whistles that come with a more traditional hotel stay. 

Guests range from couples seeking a romantic retreat to families with pets, and there’s truly something to appeal to anyone looking to unwind and embrace the majestic scenery. Some rooms come with full kitchens while others include private hot tubs. Cozy stone fireplaces, deep armchairs, and wooden furnishing complete the look.

The inn is located close to The Bethel Woods Center For Arts, which will encourage music lovers to post up and catch and local show.

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Shandaken Inn

best catskills hotels - shandaken inn

Book Shandaken Inn

Bordered by the Esopus Creek, Shandaken Inn was built in the late 1920s as the clubhouse for the renowned former Rip Van Winkle Golf Course. After a multi-year renovation, the 15-key inn reopened with new amenities include a heated swimming pool and two pet-friendly suites located in an annex on the property, which are especially ideal for a socially-distanced getaway.

With rustic-meets-inviting design, every room is uniquely furnished to look and feel like a cozy cabin and each is named after a historic resort found around the Catskills. For those who want the classic history and allure of the region, but with elevated and modern touches added in, it’s tough to find a better stay.

Free breakfast, top-notch service, and the peaceful location along the creek further set this property apart. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Eastwind Hotel & Bar

best catskills hotels - eastwind hotel & bar

Book Eastwind Hotel & Bar

Located in Windham, New York about three hours outside of New York City, Eastwind Hotel & Bar presents vacationers with outdoor-focused experiences. 

Fusing Scandinavian inspiration with midcentury eclectic, the hotel’s design draws upon the property’s history as a bunkhouse for hunters, fly fishermen, and outdoor enthusiasts dating back to the 1920s. 

Guests can choose from 19 accommodation options, ranging from more traditional guest rooms to Lushna cabins that are small, standalone A-frame cabins with picturesque window views. Those looking for even more private space might also enjoy the Lushna Suites, which include lofted bedrooms, lounge space, a writer’s nook, and a private deck complete with fire pit and outdoor shower. 

Ideal for how we have to consciously travel today, the property has numerous ways for guests to immerse themselves in the natural setting, from spaced apart communal firepits to hammocks, picnic tables, and easy hikes.  

COVID-19 procedures are available here.

Read our full hotel review of Eastwind Hotel & Bar

The Herwood Inn

best catskills hotels - The Herwood Inn

Book The Herwood Inn

Peace, love, and positivity are all at the heart of The Herwood Inn. Set directly on Tinker Street in the heart of Woodstock, this charming boutique hotel opened in 2019 and is the place to come to savor the best of this historic hamlet. At its core, The Herwood strives to build a sense of community while providing a peaceful and relaxing environment for everyone who stays there.

Music aficionados and history buffs will love the fact that each of the four guest rooms are named after iconic female musicians from the King Suite (inspired by Carole King) to Mitchell Manor (named for Joni Mitchell). 

The boho-chic decor draws guests in from the start. Natural wood, hanging plants, pops of colorful pillows, and tiled showers set the tone. Some rooms come with kitchenettes and others have small outdoor patios. In-room amenities include a concierge iPad, yoga mats, and a record player with a curated collection of vinyl. 

Each room is separate from the others, and you can even find and book Mitchell Manor on Airbnb.

The inn’s courtyard is a popular spot and guests like to hang out in the hot tub or by the fire pit.

COVID-19 procedures are available here

Urban Cowboy Lodge

best catskills hotels - urban cowboy lodge

Book the Urban Cowboy Lodge

Nestled on 68 acres in the Big Indian Wilderness, Urban Cowboy Lodge boasts Wild West luxury accommodations. Dating back to 1898, the hotel has been artfully revived by Lyon Porter’s signature design style incorporating bold patterns and hand-picked Americana antiques. With just 28 guestrooms and 12 signature suites, highlights include clawfoot tubs with forest views and private balconies with rocking chairs. 

The lodge features a hand-built Estonian sauna, a 75-foot spring-fed pool, nightly communal bonfires, miles of mountain trails. The Esopus Creek also runs through the property for fishing or taking a cold plunge.

Guests here are encouraged to disconnect, and no cell service is viewed as one of the hotel’s greatest amenities. However, there is complimentary Wi-Fi if you must.

Not to be missed is the live-fire restaurant that focuses on outdoor cooking with foraged ingredients and a seasonal menu intended to bring people together. 

COVID-19 procedures are available here

More on our methodology for selecting hotels

In addition to the criteria above, I considered the following factors:

My experience: I’ve been visiting the Catskills for a decade and have seen many of these new hotels first-hand and can vouch for their overall experience. Some, we’ve even reviewed too.

Boutique features: The best boutique hotels feature design-forward rooms and common spaces from Scandi-inspired minimalism to vibrant prints and statement wallpaper. These are not run-of-the-mill rooms or hotels, but rather, an experience. They also offer amenities like farm-to-table food, craft cocktails, and perks such as outdoor gear or pools and spa facilities.

COVID-19: We only selected hotels that prioritize the health and safety of their guests with new cleaning policies.

Ratings: We consulted reviews and ratings on sites such as Trip Advisor, Hotels.com, Booking.com, and others to ensure others’ experiences were also overwhelmingly positive.

FAQ: Catskills hotels

catskills new york

Where are the Catskills?

The Catskills is a region of mountains in New York State that includes 700,000 acres of Catskill Park. It’s located roughly between Albany and New York City.

Are hotels safe and open?

Yes, experts agree hotels are safe, provided you take the necessary precautions outlined by the CDC. Additionally, the CDC now says fully vaccinated people can safely travel in the US.

All the hotels on this list are open and accepting guests, but some smaller properties require a buy-out or minimum stay during set days of the week.

Where should I stay in the Catskills?

Somewhere from this list! To narrow it down further, choose based on your intended activities. If you wish to ski or snowboard, stay close to your intended mountain in towns like Windham or Phoenicia if you plan to ski at Hunter, Belleayre, or Windham. Otherwise, there are many small, charming towns to discover located amid thickly wooded areas perfect for hiking. 

What is there to do in the Catskills?

In winter, come to the Catskills to ski, showshoe, snowboard, and cross-country ski. In warmer weather, go hiking, discover waterfalls, swim in lakes, and admire the fall foliage. There are also many farm stands and breweries to sample.

How far are the Catskills from New York City?

The Catskills are roughly two to three hours from New York City by car, depending on where you’re going. Amtrak serves the area along the Hudson River, as do bus lines.

If you don’t have a car, car rental deals are always available, and experts say renting one in a pandemic is safe. Additionally, these are the best car rental companies.

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