smart spending

9 fun and funky vacation hotel stays

Escape from civilization
Escape from civilization | Photo courtesy of USDA Forest Service

Escape from civilization

Hotel: Forest Fire Lookout, various locations in Oregon, California, Washington, Montana and other states

Description: Yes, it'll probably require a hike and a steep stair climb. But once you've arrived at your reserved fire lookout, you'll get a 2- or 3-story tower to yourself.

From your perch, enjoy sweeping panoramic views over densely forested mountain ranges. Many lookouts offer simple bedding, tables, chairs and heat. Most lookouts are located in the Western U.S. where once-frequent forest fires required lookout towers.

Visit the National Recreation Reservation Service website and type "lookout" into the "park or facility name" search bar to find your options.

Rates: Rates vary by state, location and amenities.

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