You don’t have to travel far to sleep in a fairy tale cottage or a glass house, or on a cattle ranch with a rustic outdoor bathroom.
Some of these exclusive getaways are close by in the central San Joaquin Valley and available for rent through Airbnb, the San Francisco-based vacation rental website that connects people to unique travel experiences.
Airbnb started in 2008 when two roommates rented space in their apartment to three people looking for a place to crash. Now there are Airbnb hosts in 190 countries and 34,000 cities.
A search in the Valley found more than 300 rentals, from single bedrooms in the city of Fresno for as little as $22 a night to a loft in the Pacific Southwest Building in downtown Fresno for $137 a night, and private mountain hideaways in Sequoia National Forest for $1,500 or more nightly.
With the busy tourism season behind us and cold weather approaching, prices seem to be falling.
Here’s a look at 10 unique places to stay in the Valley:
Tulip House, Bass Lake – Get ready for some charm. The Tulip House in Bass Lake is a hodgepodge of tile, wood and art creating bright, colorful rooms that are magical, whimsical and enchanting. “One expects Hansel and Gretel to knock on the door at any minute,” the listing says.
The house has one large bedroom with a king-size bed and bathroom, a large kitchen and dining room, and a spacious living room with a queen-size pullout sofa bed and bathroom. There is a covered front patio and outdoor barbecue.
Cost: $225 a night.
Glass House, Three Rivers – Glass walls separate you from the outdoors in this house on 2 acres with access to the south fork of the Kaweah River in the foothills of the Sequoia National Forest. There is no Wi-Fi, cable television or cell phone service. There is a landline phone, a large projection screen for movies, and board games.
The main house only fits four people. Two tent cabins for up to seven people are available near the house for an additional fee. Tent guests have access to an outdoor shower and composting toilet.
Cost: $264 a night for the main house, $50 a night for small cabin, $100 a night for large cabin.
Outdoor Living, Springville – With just a wood platform and a metal roof, this outdoor bedroom on 12 acres near the Tule River is for people on a budget who want to rough it out in the open. There is an outdoor shower and composting toilet but no electricity.
Guests have access to the river, hiking trails, a fire and barbecue pit, a shared outdoor dining room (there is also an indoor room available for rent) and fireplace. Habitat restoration and river stewardship projects occur on the property from April to December. Guests are invited to participate.
Cost: $60 a night.
River Ridge Ranch Cow Cabin, Springville – This small solar-powered cabin, ideal for two adults but also kid-friendly, is on a 722-acre cow farm and nature preserve northeast of Porterville. It has a pullout sofa bed and upstairs loft with air mattress. A hot water shower is located outdoors, and there is a dry composting toilet. It even has Wi-Fi.
Guests can hike three miles to Lumreau Mountain or take other trails around the farm. You are welcome to talk to the worker tending the cows. He loves to tell stories, the listing says.
Cost: $90 a night.
Yosemite Tiny House, Ahwahnee – This is your chance to live in a tiny house for a couple days. Located 20 miles from Yosemite National Park’s south entrance, this cozy tiny home has two lofts with queen beds for up to four people. The living area has bench seats and a small foldout table. The kitchen has a refrigerator, microwave and stove. There is a private patio outside with dining table, grill, fireplace and seasonal garden.
Cost: $99 a night.
Animal Lover’s Dream, Madera – Rent a room or two on this ranch with horses, a mini donkey, mini zebu steer, goats, bunnies, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, chinchillas, talking parrots, chickens, sheep and mini pigs. Two bedrooms available for rent with a shared bathroom.
Cost: $49 a night.
Little House on the Fish Farm, Sanger – See fish and watch frogs, beavers, waterfowl and birds of prey from the guest house on this family-owned fish farm. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms for eight guests.
Cost: $199 a night.
River Rock Guest House, Three Rivers – This ranch house is known by locals as the “Hawaiian Punch House” after the inventor of the red drink who built the house. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms for six guests.
Cost: $225 a night.
Stage Coach Stop, North Fork – Stay in this historic downtown North Fork home decorated in a Wild West theme. Three bedrooms, two bathrooms for up to seven guests.
Cost: $135 a night.
Teardrop Trailer, Mariposa – Haul this retro-style trailer with bed cushion, pillows, sheets and comforter to your reserved camp site for the night. The back of the trailer has a kitchenette that pops open. One bed for two guests.
Cost: $55 a night.