In the Miles and Points travel blogging world, we normally focus on vacation opportunities that use points earned from airline and hotel credit cards. Name brand hotels offer consistency and availability across the world. Most of the time, my family stays at a chain hotel for our vacations.
Call me crazy—but I also love staying at places that don’t fit the cookie cutter hotel shape. Last week, I wrote about other credit cards you can use to earn rewards to pay for places that don’t neatly fit on a typical hotel chain points charts.
Now it’s time to explore some of these places! There are a lot of unique places within a few hours driving distance from my house in the Dallas, Texas area.
Majestic Oak Treehouse at Savannah’s Meadow in Celeste, Texas
I first learned of this B&B when Frisco Talk community page linked to an article in the Dallas Observer about an overnight in a treehouse. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to stay there! And in fact, I booked an overnight there for my family in the spring. It’s less than an hour from my house, but it seems like a world away!
Savannah’s Meadow has two tree houses—the Majestic Oak Treehouse and the Bare Creek Hollow Treehouse. The Majestic Oak Treehouse has a private pool and hot tub, and the property also has a lavender field, a pond and farm animals.
The Majestic Oak Treehouse is built around the oak tree—the trunk and the tree limbs are inside the house. It has a loft inside the main treehouse with three twin beds and a transparent roof for star gazing.
It has a floating sky lounge area outside, as well as a separate open air master bedroom and glass shower overlooking the forest. Are you kidding me???!!!
I love that this treehouse has enough room for large families and that the B&B is family-friendly.
The Majestic Oak Treehouse was recently featured on the Animal Planet show Treehouse Masters. I recorded the show and showed it to my kids the next day. My daughter was so excited when she saw the beds in the upper loft, and she has already started packing for our trip (which is many months away). She is just as giddy as I am. Like mother, like daughter!
I am counting down the days until our stay at the Majestic Oak Treehouse.
Big Texan Motel in Amarillo, Texas
The Big Texan Steak Ranch is a famous restaurant stop in Amarillo. Opened in 1960 on the original Route 66, the restaurant is now located on Interstate 40 with its cowboy standing tall.
The restaurant has been featured on the TV show Man vs. Food because of its 72-ounce steak challenge—if you can eat a 72 ounce steak within an hour, not only do you reduce your life expectancy by 12 hours, but you also get the steak for free!
My family has stopped at the Big Texan twice for a meal since it’s the halfway point between my house and Denver, where my family lives. The gift shop is even worth the visit—you might see an albino snake and a gigantic rocking chair.
Did you know you can stay close to this landmark by spending the night at the attached hotel? The Big Texan Motel is built to resemble the old wild west. It also has a pool in the shape of Texas, with the Texas flag painted on the pool deck. If you want a true Texas experience, it doesn’t get any more Texas than this!
Safari Cabins, Exotic Resort Zoo in Johnson City, Texas
My husband found the Safari Cabins at the Exotic Resort Zoo online when we were searching for a cabin for a weekend trip. It’s located in Texas hill country between Austin and Fredricksburg.
Have you seen the movie We Bought a Zoo with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson? I can’t help but think of that movie when I see this place.
The resort has five cabins which have flexibility to fit larger families. Three of the cabins have kitchenettes, while the other two have a refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker and microwave for food preparation.
The cabins share a pool and hot tub area, and the cabin rental price includes a tour of the zoo. The zoo has over 700 animals, and you can observe them from your front porch. What a dream!
My family has wanted to go here for a few years now, and I think a trip here would make the perfect weekend getaway.
Quarters at Presidio La Bahia in Goliad, Texas
Are you a Texas history buff? This is the place for you!
Presidio La Bahia is an old Spanish Fort built in 1749. My family has visited this historic site because of its proximity to my in-laws’ house. It’s a massive structure with indoor and outdoor areas to explore.
Visitors can stay overnight in the old officer’s quarters inside the fort. What an amazing opportunity! The apartment features two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.
The best part about staying here overnight is that you have the entire place to yourself when the fort closes for the day. Check out these amazing photos from an overnight guest.
The Quarters at Presidio La Bahia gets great reviews on Trip Advisor. But beware—rumor has it the place is haunted! Don’t read the guest book comments before you go to bed! I better not tell my kids, or it would be a long night.
Nearby are more interesting things to see while you’re in the area. Just across the road is the Mission Espiritu Santu, and a few miles away is the Fannin Battleground. Goliad would make a convenient detour to a trip to San Antonio or Corpus Christi.
The Santa Fe Railroad Car, Country Woods Inn in Glen Rose, Texas
Glen Rose is a charming town located southwest of Fort Worth. My family visited Glen Rose earlier this year and enjoyed Dinosaur Valley State Park, Dinosaur World, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center and Big Rock Park.
Glen Rose has a few hotels in town, but it also has several cabins and B&Bs nearby. If we visit Glen Rose again, I’d like to stay at the Santa Fe Railroad Car at the Country Woods Inn.
The renovated railroad car sleeps up to six people and has a full kitchen and clawfoot bathtub. The Country Woods Inn sits in a wooded area on the Paluxy River and features campfires, fishing, hiking trails and a petting barnyard.
Son’s Island at Lake Placid in Seguin, Texas
There is a tropical island in the middle of a lake in South Texas? Apparently, yes! Son’s Island at Lake Placid is a 3 ½ acre island that offers 26 open-air Hawaiian style cabanas. Day guests can rent a cabana and use complimentary paddle boats, rope swing, frog slide, volleyball court, horse shoes and more. You can rent a kayak, paddleboard or hydro bike, or you can bring your own boat or jet ski.
Those of you who saw the 1999 horror movie Lake Placid with the man-eating crocodile beast…rest assured, this is a completely different Lake Placid. Whew!
There are two retro RVs available for overnight rental that sleep four. After the park closes, you have the entire island to yourself!
Do any of these places sound appealing to you? Do you have any unique places near you where you’d like to stay overnight?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.