Have you ever felt the urge to stay in an offbeat hotel? Not the “I think I might witness a drug deal here if I don’t get stabbed first” kind of offbeat, but the cool and weird kind that puts a twist on your vacation. We sure have, so we’ve assembled a list of some strange places you can spend the night if you’re looking for an adventure.
10. In An Aquarium
Most of the time you don’t want to “sleep with the fishes.” But if you could have a sleepover with fish without dying, would you want to? It would be pretty cool, but how would you actually do it? Long lasting scuba gear? Genetic modification to produce gills? That air helmet SpongeBob wears?
Thankfully, you can spend a night near a diversity of sea life without having to get wet. The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, formerly the largest in the world, routinely lets people spend the night. You can plop down a sleeping bag right next to a tank full of sharks, stingrays, or other sea creatures. They have different types of trips for elementary schools, middle schools, scouts and even adults who don’t want to let kids have all the fun.
9. In a Glass Igloo
In the mountains of northern Finland you can see the beautiful lights of the aurora. Unfortunately, the intense cold tends to stop people from hanging outside late at night. You could stay in a hotel, but then how would you see the northern lights? That pesky roof would be in the way.
One hotel offers a solution in the form of a glass igloo. They also offer snow igloos for try-hards, but at that point you might as well just bring your own tent and really rough it out. Plus, you still can’t see out of the top of them. But if you stay in a glass igloo you can stay warm and have an incredible view. Nice work, Finland.
8. In a Museum
Even if you’re not American you’ve heard of the American Museum of Natural History, a giant complex across from New York’s Central Park that houses over 32 million specimens and artifacts. But if you visit during the day it will be crowded and you’ll have to move fast to see all you want. What to do?
Well, they also give you the option of spending a night at the museum, and Ben Stiller won’t even be there to annoy you. This allows you to pursue the exhibit at your leisure, and maybe sneak into a couple. They suggest you sleep somewhere in the halls, perhaps next to a giant African elephant. Which is kind of a flippant attitude, really, although presumably they check in on you at some point to make sure that you’re still alive.
7. In a Lighthouse
Ahoy, maties! Avast ye, look off the starboard bow and, uh, well, that’s about the extent of our pirate speak knowledge. Many people like the romantic idea of being a pirate or sea captain, but the reality of sea sickness, long stretches of time away from friends and family and a possible criminal record holds us back.
Consequently, many of us have wanted to feel like a sea captain but haven’t gone on any ship that isn’t of the cruise variety. As a start towards rectifying that, why not stay in a lighthouse? A number of them offer accommodations for the aquaphobic traveler. It’s right next to the sea and has a connection to sailing. Perhaps it will induce the same salty, nautical feeling that sailing would without any of the negative consequences. Just make sure to keep the light on so the ghost ship can make it to shore.
6. In the Zoo
Have you ever told anyone that they belong in a zoo? Maybe a child was acting up, or your friend hadn’t showered in a few days, or you’re just kind of a jerk. Even if you haven’t used the line yourself, we bet you were a recipient of it at least once while growing up.
Maybe our parents were right, and now we have the opportunity to find out. The Philadelphia Zoo offers the experience of spending the night with programs for scouts, teens and families. Staying overnight at the zoo allows visitors to see the animals in “nocturnal mode,” take part in a variety of activities, learn some new facts and see whether or not they truly do belong there.
5. In a Cave
Some people enjoy squeezing themselves into caves and trying to navigate through them, presumably because they don’t watch many horror movies. Wild cave expeditions allow you the additional opportunity to go where there are no designated trails, handrails or lights beyond the ones on the front of your hat.
And if you want to kick the adventuring up a notch, why not spend the night in a cave? There are many different options for overnight cave trips — the one we linked features a four hour journey to get to your camping spot, including areas with “belly crawls,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Eventually you reach the sleeping area, which is always kept at a comfortable 60 degrees. There you can get settled and try to sleep without crying out in horror. It will be like our ancestors lived, only you’ll probably be much deeper in the cave. Oh, and you might get a sleeping bag. The website isn’t clear.
4. In a National Park
Yosemite National Park spans almost 1,200 square miles across three California counties. With around 95% of it designated as wilderness, it’s well known for its beautiful cliffs, waterfalls, giant sequoia trees and animal diversity.
It’s one of America’s most popular tourist destinations, and for some a day trip just isn’t enough. To accommodate people who want to spend more time in the park, Yosemite offers packages ranging from tents and simple cabins to deluxe rooms at the Ahwahnee, their hotel. They offer several different campsites, and allow those with the proper permits to go hiking or backpacking through the camp at night. Because of the great popularity of their lodging, reservations must be made 366 days in advance. They could have just made it a year, or said over a year, but no. They made it perfectly clear that it’s specifically 366 days, and for that we salute them.
3. In an Underwater Hotel
You usually want a hotel to be convenient — close to where you’re going, easy to find your room, etc. But sometimes you want your hotel to challenge you. You want to earn your complimentary tea and pillow mint. You want to be exhausted when you hit that comfy pillow, but the good kind of exhausted that comes from having a productive day.
If that’s what you’re in the mood for, visit the Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida. Guests must scuba dive 21 feet to get to their room. That means before you can stay you have to become certified to scuba dive and prove you won’t drown trying to check out. Once you’re down there, you might worry about what you’re going to eat beyond fish and kelp. But one of their selling points is that they’ll deliver a pizza right to your sea door, so you can feel like Aquaman when he gets the munchies.
2. In a Television Antenna
In the 1980s, Prague built a large, ugly, television antenna that clashed horribly with the “classic” look of the rest of the city’s architecture. This spaceship looking thing is so out of place we originally thought it had to be photoshopped, but we can assure you that it’s real.
The tower was recently redesigned as a hotel, allowing guests a 360 degree view of the city. And because you’re inside the hideous antenna, it’s the one thing you won’t have to look at. The inside is surprisingly modern and chic, a sharp contrast to the exterior. A night in this hotel’s only room can be yours for the cool price of 900 dollars, although it’s large enough that you could crash with a few friends.
1. In a Giant Anus
In Belgium there’s a hotel that looks like a giant anus.
We know what you’re thinking. It sounds like a joke. It has to be, right? There’s no way you can actually pay money to stay inside a giant anus. You’re waiting for us to tell you that it’s fake so you can go on with your life. Well, keep waiting.
If you’re willing to pay, you can absolutely curl up and sleep inside of that monstrosity. Between 200 and 250 people a year bite on the 165 dollar a night offer. So if you ever visit Belgium, now you know where to stay. You’re welcome.