10 quirky Florida overnight stays – Orlando Sentinel

Have you always dreamed of spending a night in a treehouse? How about hopping aboard a charming vintage “boatel” for an overnight? Or living in a tiny house for just a night or two, enjoying the minimalist environment without permanent lifestyle changes?

This is all possible when browsing vacation rental offerings scattered throughout the Sunshine State. As a getaway destination, Florida has no shortage of interesting lodging options to help check off a bucket list item or spice up your stay.

Here are some unique stays in the Sunshine State (prices per night vary; visit the listing page for more information on each stay).

Visitors to this charming vintage “boatel” just outside of St. Augustine will likely be greeted with a cheerful, “Welcome aboard!” Enjoy waterfront sunrises while getting a taste of what life at sea is like just inches from dry land.

This 32-foot classic trawler has air conditioning, a TV with cable, a dinette and a small bathroom aboard, plus a comfortable bed that sleeps two. Full-sized facilities are available at the marina, just a short walk from the boat.

View the listing: airbnb.com

A tiki hut and a houseboat? Sign me up. The hosts of this creative South Florida stay claim it will “soon be a Key West icon.”

A water taxi is the only way to access this floating hut. On board, enjoy a porch with a hammock, a king bed, a small bathroom and included stand-up paddleboards and snorkeling gear.

The listing states visitors can sometimes glance out to catch sights of dolphins, manatees, starfish and more.

View the listing: airbnb.com

Who knew that boring, industrial shipping containers could find new life as a unique vacation rental? This Jupiter accommodation combines three upcycled shipping containers that can sleep up to eight guests.

Inside, find a kitchen, two bathrooms and four bedrooms, plus a second-floor balcony overlooking a river. Outside, there’s a patio and fire pit for enjoying an evening outdoors. Guests can take advantage of complimentary kayak and canoe rentals or borrow on-site bikes.

View the listing: glampinghub.com

This hanging round bed provides the open-air joys of camping while providing the comfort of a plush mattress, suspended from a covered pavilion. Set on a farm (named after a Beach Boys song, “Kokomo”) near the Suwannee River, the accommodation features nets to keep the bugs at bay and a projector for movie nights in bed.

The overnight provides opportunities to feast on vegetarian or vegan pizza from a brick oven, the chance to visit rescued farm animals or relax in a Zen garden. Kokomo Farms, listed through Hipcamp, can also host guests in an off-grid cabin, a treehouse, a yurt, a glamping tent, a tiny house and more.

View the listing: hipcamp.com

Some travelers enjoy riding in sleeper cars aboard a train headed to faraway destinations, while others might enjoy a more stationary sleeping situation. This quirky stay near New Smyrna Beach offers the comfort of sleeping in a train that isn’t going anywhere, as this house is made up of two 1894 steam passenger cars.

One train car makes up the kitchen, dining and family room, while the other contains the bedrooms. Enjoy nearby beach access, only about four miles away, plus a wraparound deck with chairs, a fire pit, corn hole and even WiFi.

View the listing: glampinghub.com

While some overnight stays allow dogs and pets, others do not. Take control of your trip in an RV and find places to camp at more than 3,000 locations across the nation with Harvest Hosts. This is especially important during a time when more than 50 percent of travelers base their plans on places that can accommodate pets, according to survey data from the company.

The membership program, which costs $99 per year, allows self-contained RVs to park overnight, utilizing a network of wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms and attractions. In Florida, there are wineries in Brooksville, Plant City, Eustis, Fort Pierce and beyond offering tired travelers the chance to park and sip on wines made on-site.

Discover more: harvesthosts.com

St. Augustine is a town already filled with history and charm. Complete the experience and step fully into the past by staying at this 5,000-square-foot castle that can accommodate up to 12 guests.

According to the listing on Vrbo, the Grand Hall is the “ultimate gathering space” with a two-story ceiling and baby grand piano. The Pillars Castle is a luxury option for visiting the town that claims itself as the “oldest city in America.”

View the listing: vrbo.com

If you find yourself wanting to escape to a galaxy far, far away, consider an Orlando-area vacation rental themed with the “Star Wars” universe in mind.

The Twelve Parsecs home includes nine bedrooms and five bathrooms, with enough room to sleep 16 people. Take the role of pilot while drifting off to sleep in themed beds, or float in the clouds while staying in a room reminiscent of the Cloud City seen in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

This home could become the ultimate extension of a trip to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But be decisive in booking because, as Yoda once said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

View the listing: airbnb.com

Set on the sun-bleached shores of Vero Beach, The Historic Driftwood Resort looks like the sort of place a pirate might dock and stay overnight. In the 1930s, Waldo Sexton first built a getaway house out of driftwood for his family, right on the beach, before expanding the resort to welcome other guests.

Modern-day visitors can enjoy a laid-back oceanfront retreat with its charming, historical and quirky feel. Dine at the on-site Waldo’s Restaurant, enjoying seafood by the seashore. Other Vero Beach restaurants and points of interest are just steps away.

Discover more: verobeachdriftwood.com

Key Largo offers scuba divers the chance to spend a night more than 20 feet below sea level. Jules’ Undersea Lodge is the only underwater hotel in the United States.

The hotel was first opened in 1986 and was named after novelist Jules Verne, who wrote “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

More information: jul.com

Know of other hidden gems for overnight stays? Find me on Twitter @PConnPie, Instagram @PConnPie or send me an email: [email protected]