The most remote vacation rentals in the US
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Traveling in the age of COVID-19 has meant a new focus on domestic trips and priorities tied to hygiene and personal space. Indeed, the chance to stay somewhere remote — as opposed to exclusive — is this summer’s marker of real luxury.
And while striking out off the grid is admirable, most travelers cannot afford to buy or even rent out a Richard Branson-style private island in the Caribbean.
Luckily, there are more affordable ways to vacation this year while still remaining miles from civilization, without sacrificing comfort or exceeding your budget.
We searched for some of the most remote private vacation rentals that are available to rent through companies such as Airbnb, TurnKey, and Vrbo. Our aim was to find places that are affordable and accessible to a point (they are all reachable by car, even if the closest big city is a couple of hours away) but still allow for relative isolation so guests may reduce their risk of potential exposure to COVID-19.
Of course, it’s crucial to remember that without a vaccine, it’s impossible to guarantee safety. Also, consider whether you’re leaving or traveling to a hotspot, so as not to contribute to infection spikes. And follow guidelines from the CDC and WHO such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing, no matter where you go.
But if a safe vacation during COVID is what you seek, booking a remote getaway is one of the best ways to maintain social distancing. Just keep in mind that while these homes often come with electricity and running water, a secluded stay means exactly that. Arrive stocked with the supplies you’ll need and carefully check what the rental includes. You’ll likely be a long drive from the closest store.
Of course, hygiene protocols are still important. We detailed policies and procedures, where available, and most private rental companies have issued guidelines, but it’s up to individual owners to employ them. Taking your own sanitizing wipes and materials is recommended.
For our list, we selected properties across various locales (mountain, woodlands, lakes, national parks) that met the following criteria:
For more reporting on vacation rentals, click a link below to jump directly to related coverage:
- Which is safer: Airbnb or hotels? Here’s what doctors say
- 6 things to know before booking a vacation rental, and where to search if Airbnb is booked or too expensive
- Safer, expert-backed ways to take a vacation during the pandemic, from road trips to private vacation homes and remote campsites
- Everything to know about vacation rentals, COVID-19 safety, and the best places in the US
These are the most remote vacation rentals in the US, sorted by price from low to high.
100-year-old farmhouse in Utah, $80
Book this farmhouse starting at $80 per night on Airbnb
Relax under the never ending skies of Ephraim Canyon in Utah in this century-old farmhouse that sleeps up to four. It may be getting on in years but recent refurbishments mean that the decor and interiors are shipshape and colorful, and there’s also a cute yard with cornhole, horseshoes, and a picnic area.
Modern amenities include Wi-Fi and Apple TV, plus an essential outdoor hot tub for soaking in comfort as the sun sets or rises. Families can pass the time outdoors with nearby hiking and fishing, or go sledding in the winter months. The home feels cozy and bijoux, but still comfortable, affordable, and surrounded by acres of land.
Availability is busy for August but opens up from September onwards.
COVID policies: Hygiene protocols and cleaning practices are compliant with local CDC guidelines.
A striking adobe dome in Texas, $101
Book this adobe dome starting at $101 per night on Airbnb
It doesn’t get much more off grid than this adobe dome, built and rented out by a touring musician that attracts a loyal band of renters seeking the sprawling skies of Big Bend.
Located in far west Texas, this home is around a 30-minute drive from the town of Terlinga, which is close to the Mexican border, as well as Big Bend National Park. Staying here will suit a back-to-basics spirit, with fans instead of air conditioning, a modest supply of solar-powered electricity (and Wi-Fi) for basic needs, pumped water, and a composting toilet.
The pay-off for forgoing some of life’s luxuries is a real sense of isolation, and the wonders of the natural world all around. Look up to savor incredible, star-saturated skies with the beauty of Big Bend National Park sitting just outside your doorstep.
The dome can sleep up to three people, but it’s ideal for singles or couples. Though it may nudge some out of their comfort zone (showering is semi-private and outdoors), the rewards are undeniable.
This home is in demand but there is availability over the coming months, especially weekdays.
COVID policies: Comprehensive disinfecting of the property and high touch areas, with masks provided for guests.
A mountain cabin with hot tub in North Carolina, $125
Book this mountain cabin starting at $125 per night on Vrbo
Straying beyond the beaten path can come with romantic rewards for couples, especially at this mountainside one-bedroom bolthole on seven acres of land.
The ridges of Western North Carolina await for hiking and the general enjoyment of their beauty. Rafting, canyoneering, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hot air ballooning, and skiing are all close by.
The modern cabin itself, though, is as desirable as the pristine location, which is set back against a lush farming valley. A quaint deck and wood-burning fireplace evoke a suitably bucolic atmosphere and are complemented by modern technologies for relaxing down times. The standout highlight, however, is the outdoor hot tub. Indulge in a soak under a canopy of stars.
Availability opens up starting in the fall..
COVID policies: Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting is completed between guests.
A woodland cabin in Vermont, $145
Book this woodland cabin starting at $145 per night on Airbnb
The 20 acres of land surrounding this home in these foothills of the Green Mountains in Vermont are dramatically lovely, thick with vegetation and woodland charm. This purpose-built so-called ‘tiny’ house delivers on its off-grid promise for two guests that can confidently escape here in the lure of isolation.
The aesthetic is seemingly out of a fantasy novel or fairy tale, with knotted wooden beams and timbers creating a truly magical feel that is both whimsical and delivers a pioneering spirit. Amenities include a wood-fired stove and fireplace, but there is no refrigeration outside of a cooler, so plan accordingly. Solar power heats the water but there is no electricity or Wi-Fi.
Instead, come here for the hiking trails, rock climbing, and swimming holes (and skiing in the winter), and wait to update social media with photos when you reluctantly return to real life.
Availability is fairly busy through August and September, with more dates available in mid fall and winter.
COVID policies:This home participates in Airbnb’s Enhanced Clean program, meaning the host is committed to a rigorous cleaning protocol developed with leading health and hospitality experts.
Jemez mountain home in New Mexico, $179
Book this three-bedroom home starting at $179 per night on Turnkey
The sweeping, panoramic vista of New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains await up to eight lucky guests at this modern house with quirky design touches. Set back on its own 3.5 acres of land, the property celebrates Southwestern influences with exposed wooden beams, distinct Kiva fireplaces, and wood-burning fireplaces.
Wi-Fi and cable TV are included, but you’ll likely want to spend most of your time on the beautiful deck, which basks in the views of the mountain foothills and beyond. Admire evocative desert landscapes as far as the eye can see, and the famed art installation of Meow Wolf is around six miles away. There’s also prime skiing within 20 miles in winter.
Availability opens up from late August with good availability from September onwards.
COVID policies: Turnkey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19.
Log chalet perched in the clouds in Tennessee, $195
Book this chalet starting at $195 per night on Vrbo
There’s a dramatic, somewhat Victorian aspect to this gothic-looking chalet on the scenic outskirts of Prentice Cooper State Forest, around 14 miles outside of Chattanooga. The commanding wooden stairs and balconies frame a towering stone chimney, and the home can welcome up to seven guests comfortably.
Built into a steep woodland hillside, the views of the spectacular Sequatchie Valley are well worth the drive and can be enjoyed from a large deck or the relative decadence of the on-site hot tub. Wi-Fi, a 3D TV, and laundry facilities keep things comfortable, while white water rafting, spelunking, and hiking all within easy reach.
Availability is scattered in September and October and opens up further starting in early winter.
COVID policies: The property is safe, aired out, cleaned, and sanitized between guests.
Cabin on a private reservoir in Montana, $250
Book this cabin starting at $250 per night on Vrbo
Equidistant between the National Parks of Helena-Lewis and Clark and River Breaks, there’s a real frontier feel to this home, which enjoys a coveted spot overlooking its own reservoir, almost four miles outside of Lewistown.
The property can sleep up to eight people and makes for a sweet angler’s getaway, with plum fishing spots along the nearby waterways.
The cabin itself is comprised of elaborate wooden interiors, bedecked with animal hides and wood-burning amenities for strong rural ambiance. Fire up the grill on the large deck and trade fishing tales as you cook up the catch of the day. There’s little phone coverage, and no internet, so trade being online for days out paddling with the included kayak.
Availability is good from August onwards.
COVID policies: Hygienic sanitization, disinfection, and cleaning between guests.
Mountain cottage in Oregon, $275
Book this cottage starting at $275 per night on TurnKey
A wonderfully rural five-acre wooded lot welcomes up to 13 guests at this five-bedroom house surrounded by picturesque lakes and mountains.
The amenities are extensive with a game room, outdoor hot tub, TV, internet, and the chance to craft evening cocktails at the built-in bar while someone strikes up a suitably suave tune on the piano.
If you’re looking to venture beyond the compound, you’ll find the scenic links of Aspen Lakes Golf Course a mile away and the HooDoo Ski Area is 25 miles away.
Availability is wide open from late August onwards.
COVID policies: TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19.
A charming farmstead yurt in Colorado, $281
Book this yurt starting at $275 per night on Airbnb
Views of stunning Mount Sopris and 110 acres of seclusion await up to four guests at this impressive ‘glamping’ location.
The Mongolian-style yurt offers the right balance of adventure and comfort, with a supremely commodious, wood-framed canopy under which to sleep. The wonderfully evocative space feels akin to something from a period drama but comes with Wi-Fi, a kitchen, and bathroom (with a piping hot shower) that won’t test anyone’s standards of comfort too stringently.
Ranch life comes with its own array of amenities beyond the space and scenery, mostly in the form of incredibly fresh food from the farm owners, including, but not limited to, eggs, milk, poultry, and cuts of meat for your barbecuing pleasure.
There are hiking paths up through the neighboring National Forest, and if you don’t bring your own horse (which you are encouraged to do) then you can rent one and hit those dusty trails. Private stargazing sessions and alpaca yoga add to the enticing menu of activities.
Availability is good through August and September, and beyond.
COVID policies: Cleaning and sanitizing policies in place with full hygienic cleaning between guests.
A 20-acre estate with mountain views in California, $299
Book this estate starting at $299 per night on TurnKey
Up to 14 adults can share this private, 20-acre estate that lies amid mountain views and some of California’s most photogenic countryside, meaning, it’s a steal for the right group.
The property itself commands well over 3,000 square feet of country-club level luxury spread over three floors, with amenities that include a game room (with shuffleboard and foosball) and a huge gourmet kitchen. Modern, polished interiors offer a sleek contrast to rustic accents, and an outdoor deck beckons with a luxe grill, hammocks, and even a bocce ball court.
Outdoor pursuits remain within easy striking distance and include mountain biking, skiing, and sledding, hiking, and bird watching. Mount Houghton and Lake Tahoe are also a short drive away.
Availability is booked through September, but then opens up.
COVID policies: Professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19.
Large lakefront home in Maine, $313
Book this large lakefront home starting at $313 per night on Vrbo
This delightful lakefront house can welcome up to 17 people, with almost 4,000 square feet to sprawl out across amid the natural expanse of Hardwood Hill Island Nature Preserve and nearby Acadia National Park. Graham Lake sits right outside.
The house has multiple large living areas and plenty of amenities for group meals, both indoor and out. There’s Wi-Fi and the place comes with its own dock and kayaks.
Availability is wide open from September onwards.
Rating: A new listing but the owners are trusted Premier Partners of Vrbo.
COVID policies: The property is cleaned with disinfectant, and check-in and check-out can be completed with no person-to-person contact.
A secluded, renovated home in New York, $325
Book this secluded cabin starting at $325 per night on Vrbo
This property is a great pick for that postponed family reunion given that 10 adults can stay here comfortably (or 12 people if some are children). The home was recently renovated by the owners, who have employed an artistic eye to create a cozy interior.
Around 1,700 square feet of living space gives everyone room to lounge, with modern wooden interiors bolstered by amenities such as Wi-Fi, cable TV, and even a piano if the mood strikes.
The surrounding woodlands and beauty of the Catskill Mountains await exploration, though the owners boast you need never leave the property (though it’s a short drive to the nearest town, Woodstock, for supplies). A large outdoor hot tub completes the picture of this idyllic retreat.
Availability is busy until early September but is then completely open.
COVID policies: Thorough cleaning protocols, with excellent past reviews on cleanliness.
A log cabin on the river in Colorado, $365
Book this log cabin starting at $365 per night on Airbnb
A set designer for a movie would be hard-pressed to come up with a more log cabin-looking property than this two-bedroom delight in the heights of Black Hawk, Colorado.
The sense of seclusion is palpable, though within 15 minutes you can drive to the nearby town of Nederland, or the Eldora Mountain ski resort, so it’s a real find for fans of winter sports.
The handsome, sturdy log structure is built onto a gentle, lush green hillside, and guests will welcome the sight of the deck with its own fire pit and the steam gently rising from the outdoor hot tub.
The smell of timber makes for an evocative interior, and the place comes fully loaded with modern conveniences such as Wi-Fi, cable TV, a music system, as well as a wood-burning fire, games, and an irresistible hammock. The two floors and expanse of land really offer guests a sense of space.
Booking is busy through most of September but opens up in October.
COVID policies: This home participates in Airbnb’s Enhanced Clean program, meaning the host is committed to a rigorous cleaning protocol developed with leading health and hospitality experts.
Cowboy paradise in Joshua Tree in California, $375
Book this cowboy retreat starting at $375 per night on Vrbo
This exceptional property can sleep up to six people across its three bedrooms, all nested within private grounds that stretch out over seven acres.
In line with the desert surrounds, the setting is straight out of a Western, flanked by Joshua Tree’s 35,000 acre-Pioneertown Mountains Preserve and some further 60,000 acres of wide-open federal land beyond that.
The Olive Adobe, as the house is known, mixes organic and stylized design touches with gravel paths and gnarled olive trees. Inside, interiors channel ‘cowboy chic’ vibes mixed with midcentury modern furniture and Native American art.
Bird watching, photography, and hiking the extraordinary local rock formations will keep guests busy, though electricity and internet mean you can check in with folks back home, too.
Availability is very good from August onwards.
COVID policies: Thorough cleaning and disinfecting conducted between guests.
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