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By The Way
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9 uniquely remote Airbnbs for a socially distanced getaway

From desert yurts to a restored sheep wagon, these secluded listings are a destination in themselves

(Vacation Wimberly/AirBnB)

It’s difficult to find the motivation to plan a socially distant getaway when so much about travel is uncertain during a pandemic. Could there be crowds? Will others wear masks? What businesses, activities and sights will even be open?

Enter the remote vacation rental: Airbnb oddities like glamping yurts, treehouses, Hobbit houses and even a converted sheep wagon are all destinations in themselves, and they’ve found added appeal in a time of social distancing.

Here are several that caught our eye.

Underground hygge in a Hobbit house

You don’t need to be in the Shire, or even New Zealand (where they shot the “Lord of the Rings” films) to live in a hillside like a hobbit. This one-bedroom “earth house” in Washington state is remote and otherworldly, and sleeps two for a quiet getaway in Orondo, a rural town situated on the Columbia River.

Stargazing in a converted sheep wagon

Forget RVs and campers — how about sleeping in a repurposed 1920s sheep wagon instead? Get your Oregon Trail on with a no-frills wagon experience that fits up to four and includes a cast-iron stove for making your own coffee and biscuits. Surrounded by 65,000 acres of plains and a overlooking a picturesque lake, the sheep wagon has rave reviews for its stargazing.

An airstream escape near Texas’s Blue Hole Park

Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberley, Tex., is a gorgeous natural water park of crystal-clear swimming holes, streams and hiking paths. If you can get there, Airbnbs nearby include an adorably retro airstream trailer complete with its own outdoor hot tub.

Traveling may not be safe, but leaving vacation days behind isn’t healthy, either

'Purty Yurty’ oasis in Joshua Tree

In Joshua Tree, Calif., lies a desert oasis complete with a stylish duo of yurts — meaning circular tents — for up to four people yearning to get away from society. According to the listing, the yurts are ideal “if you need to take a break from the stresses of daily life, watch stunning sunrises and sunsets, stargaze and enjoy some peace and quiet.” Dubbed “Yurty” by the owner, the compound is about a 20-minute drive from downtown.

A (surprisingly romantic) hollowed-out bus

Get “Into the Wild” without going to Alaska in this revamped bus in the remote North Carolina woods. Overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, the single “bedroom” fits two and has electricity, a sink and a coffee maker, with bathroom facilities nearby. The open grassy area around the bus has fantastic views of the surrounding mountain peaks.

Cottagecore worthy of Taylor Swift

A rural Pennsylvania hideaway not too far from the hometown of Taylor Swift herself, Herringbone Cottage looks straight out of the singer’s “Folklore” album; complete with ivy-coated brick, a sprawling garden, and wrought-iron gates marking the route to a nearby historic mill. Herringbone Cottage is nestled on the banks of the New Hope canal and a two-mile walk or bike ride from downtown New Hope’s cafes, galleries and museums.

Tiny house paradise in Oregon

Test drive the tiny house of your dreams in Damascus, Ore., on an isolated a riverfront plot just 20 minutes outside Portland. The 200-square-foot lodging has all the essentials (bathroom, stove, toaster, coffee maker) plus an outdoor fire pit. The Clackamas River outside is perfect for fishing, swimming, rafting or just sunbathing all day long.

Park City’s prettiest treehouse

Taking “treehouse” to a new level, this luxe Utah gem has kept exposed tree limbs throughout the interior and includes a sunny deck with sweeping views of Park City’s mountains. The listing has rave reviews its remoteness and aesthetic. Located adjacent to the host’s full-time chalet, meaning you’ll also have easy access to a local’s recommendations for the best trails and takeout.

Not the camping type? Here’s what you need to know about a glamping trip.

Solar-only design in the desert

A green-industrial house “in the sunbaked wilds of the California high desert,” the off-grid “itHouse” has been dubbed one of the top ten Airbnbs in the world for its remote valley location and its solar panels that power, cool, and heat water for the entire home. Visitors are truly unplugged thanks to the absence of a television (though there’s satellite WiFi), making it perfect for “writers or those needing a secluded quiet getaway.”

Read more:

The new rules for packing a bag during the pandemic

The definitive ranking of the best road trip snacks

How to take a long-haul train trip during a pandemic