From the rolling Appalachians to the dense, remote Sierra Nevadas, there are dozens of mountain ranges in America to immerse yourself in the serenity of small mountain-towns. While hundreds flock to tourist destinations like Aspen or Vail during ski season, many of the underrated locales on the far east and west are overlooked. Airbnb is a website and mobile application allowing private citizens to rent out anything from spare rooms to entire houses, offering travelers and tourists a more personal, authentic stay in lieu of traditional hotel rooms. Using Airbnb is one of the fastest growing economies, on par with rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. The company even launched its own apartment brand last year. If you do your research, using the marketplace can not only save you money in expensive locations like the Rocky Mountains, but afford you a quirky, unconventional space to meet locals and collect unmatched stories. Whether you’re planning a late-winter snowboarding sabbatical, or just a romantic getaway for two, these charming, five-star Airbnbs will help you kick off the new year right.
Nightly Rate: $175
This tower-style cabin, embedded in the lush woodlands of California’s Carmel Valley, is just a short drive from world-renowned recreation centers such as Big Sur and Pacific Grove, boasting panoramic views of Garland Park and thousands of acres of biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Bird watching, wine tasting, and a host of other California pastimes are just a few of the activities available to you if you stay in the Carmel Valley. The hosts, Jeanne and “Tiger” Steele, are longtime locals who’re happy to give directions and recommendations. The space is similar to a studio apartment, perfect for a romantic two-person escapade overlooking the California valley.
Nightly Rate: $110
A studio apartment in the homeowner’s walkout basement, the elevation of the space features private, unparalleled views of Rocky Mountain National Park on the slopes of Prospect Mountain. Just four miles from downtown Estes Park, it offers the sought-after solitude of the mountains, in a convenient location to experience the hustle and bustle of nearby mountain-towns. The room comes equipped with a Serta queen-sized mattress with a 3-inch memory foam mattress topper and futon sofa that can be converted to a full size bed, comfortably accommodating three to four people. Even better, the property features a hot tub for stargazing or post-hike relaxation.
Nightly Rate: $250
The Blue Ridge Mountains are scenic and mystifying. Known for having a bluish color when seen from a distance, the region’s bouquet of oaks and maples release a compound called isoprene into the atmosphere, giving the mountains its characteristic haze and moody color. On the cusp of the Appalachian Valley, the one-bedroom, two-acre Bittersweet Cottage is nestled between downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. In business for 14 years, the property owners provide a fully stocked complimentary breakfast, a private hot tub, and interactive Koi pond. Ideal for special occasions, the space may also serve as a casual bed and breakfast for friends.
Nightly Rate: $225
Located in western Massachusetts, this two-story Berkshire round cabin features 35-foot high ceilings and quaint east coast architecture, including multi-paned mill windows overlooking the brook and lily garden below. This Tyringham Silo cottage looks like something out of a fairy tale, with cobblestone bridges, ponds, and a stone bench seating area with “chiminea” and available firewood. The property is open year-round, each season offering its own experience. The cottage is close to the Appalachian Trail for hiking and a number of ponds for swimming or kayaking.
Nightly Rate: $260
This space is perfect for larger groups planning a wilderness vacation. A secluded log cabin on the cusp of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area of Montana’s Glacier National Park, the property features nearly 2,000-square-feet of living space, a garden with strawberry patches, apple trees, three vegetable gardens, and an herb greenhouse. Enjoy mountain views with access to rafting, hiking, fishing, and climbing. And at night, whip up some s’mores under a clear sky using the complimentary fire pit.