Social Distance in Rustic Luxury: 6 Alternatives to Hotels

by Kristy Tolley
Exterior photo of Sky Ridge Yurts Stechoah House accommodations

By Allison Andrews

While COVID-19 has compelled many to pause their leisure travel, some travelers are cautiously venturing out again. Whatever you decide, health experts say the more you can limit your exposure to your own party, the better.

With that in mind, those who do choose to travel now seek social distance-friendly vacations. Everyone may not be comfortable pitching a tent or sleeping in an RV, though. Rustic cabins are a favorite for some travelers. However, others prefer something a little more unique, with a little more luxury when they travel.

Here are some great options for luxurious, socially-distant accommodations near areas with outdoor attractions nearby — if you choose to venture out.

1. A family treehouse at Emberglow Outdoor Resort

Mill Spring, NC

There’s something about a treehouse that seems to bring out the child in everyone. The family treehouse at Emberglow Outdoor Resort sleeps nine. It features a winding slide from the top deck to the ground. In addition, there’s a cargo net section of floor in the sleeping loft that’s perfect for hanging out at any age. This newer campground also offers rustic treehouses, yurts, vintage trailers and glamping pods all within an easy drive to Lake Lure and Chimney Rock.

Exterior photo of Sky Ridge Yurts Stechoah House accommodations

Stecoah House, Sky Ridge Yurts

Room of Stecoah House, Sky Ridge Yurts

Inside Stecoah House, Sky Ridge Yurts

2. A glass-front cabin at Sky Ridge Yurts

Bryson City, NC

Just minutes outside of Bryson City, Sky Ridge Yurts has been a favorite in the Nantahala Gorge area since it opened in 2011. For a more luxurious experience, check out the only cabin on the property. The modern glass-front Stecoah House (as seen above) includes a fireplace and an outdoor eating space with stunning views of the Smoky Mountains. If you really want to experience luxury in the mountains, indulge in the treehouse soak at the Lakeview at Fontana. The 18 and older European-style resort features individual cottages where you can really disconnect (no TVs).

3. A renovated caboose with Buffalo Creek Vacations

Clyde, NC

Your friends will likely want to know more when you tell them you stayed in a renovated caboose on a bison farm! Clyde is located just 12 miles from Maggie Valley, west of Asheville. Situated on a 65-acre working bison farm, the two caboose rentals skirt the edge of the property with a clear view of the roaming bison. Kids will love the sleeping loft and will enjoy watching the bison come in for their breakfast. Parents will love the heated tile floor in the bathroom. Cabins are also available.

4. A designer cabin at Glamping Hub

Hendersonville, NC

Retractable doors to the outside, a hot tub, a double oven in the kitchen and a washer and dryer elevate this glamping experience. It sleeps nine making it ideal for large families or a group of friends. While you’re there, you can jump on The Cheers! Trail in Hendersonville. It’s the only trail in North Carolina showcasing four different types of craft beverages — six wineries, 11 breweries, three cideries and one meadery (featuring wine made from honey).

5. A fairytale treehouse at Bolt Farm Treehouse

Walhalla, SC

Beyond dreamy, these storybook treehouses are the ultimate blend of luxury and childhood fantasy. Each treehouse has a gorgeous customized design and boasts amenities like indoor copper tubs and outdoor private movie theaters. Short and long-term stays are available.

Exteior of Grainary Cottage, Red Horse Inn

Grainary Cottage

Guest room at Grainary Cottage, Red Horse Inn

Inside Grainary Cottage, Red Horse Inn

6. A romantic cottage at The Red Horse Inn

Landrum, SC

This AAA Four Diamond-rated property is a popular romantic getaway. However, the six cottages offer a luxurious option for anyone wanting to social distance. Located just 30 minutes from Greenville, each cottage has cathedral ceilings, silky beds and large windows that provide a view of the mountain landscape. The owners go the extra mile for safety, doing their best not to allow back-to-back reservations.

When you’re ready to get away, your AAA Travel Agent can help. Call 800-374-2865 or visit for more information!

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