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10 outrageous treehouses that will make you question life on solid ground

The members of the Swiss Family Robinson may not have had it made, but they did have one hell of a treehouse on their hands. The iconic structures have been tantalizing our imaginations for as long as most of us can remember, filling our heads with thoughts of homes raised high above the ground in a canopy of pine and birch.

More: 10 unreal houseboats that will set your imagination adrift

However, treehouses actually exist outside of storybooks and tall tales, lining the forested regions of the globe with new-age structures that often tout a minimalist design that’s as jarring as it is practical. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite arboreal abodes to whet your wanderlust whistle. Whether you prefer a three-story treehouse in the Costa Rican jungle or a mirrored cube hidden among the trees of Sweden, we’ve got you covered.

7th Room — Harads, Sweden

The 7th Room is part of a multiple suite treehouse-themed hotel in Sweden known as the Treehotel. This particular treehouse was designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snohetta. Built on 32-foot stilts and utilizing panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, 7th Room provides breathtaking views of the nearby Lapland forest, as well as the Lule River.

Most importantly, 7th Room is located just outside of Harads, Sweden, making the site ideal for seasonal views of the Aurora Borealis. The winter (through late March and early April) is the best time to potentially catch a glimpse of this meteorological phenomenon. However, at nearly two grand a night, there are certainly more affordable options for witnessing the Northern Lights.

Mirrorcube — Harads, Sweden

Treehotel’s Mirrorcube may be as closest thing to invisible as you can get without wizardry. The exterior mirrored walls mimic the surrounding forest with their reflective glass, while the six windows offer stunning panoramic views of the surrounding region. The 4-by-4-by-4-meter dwelling also accommodates up to two guests within its birch-and-aluminum frame, with a bathroom, lounge, and rooftop terrace to boot. The price equates to about $560 a night for two people or $475 if you’re flying solo, but considering the sheer onslaught of birds likely battering the sides of the camouflaged cube at any given moment, we doubt you’ll ever truly feel alone in the woods. Check out the Treehotel site for information about Mirrorcube and other unique lodging options.

Temple of the Blue Moon — Fall City, WA

Washington’s TreeHouse Point hosts a variety of suspended dwellings, but non quite as rustic as the Temple of the Blue Moon. Pete Nelson, world-renowned treehouse builder and host of Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters, took a cue from Athen’s Parthenon when building the rigid structure, incorporating vertical lines and other symmetrical elements to help create a space that better exudes a sense of balance. The entire structure sits 18 feet in the air, suspended between two trees and resting atop a 160-year-old Sitka spruce. Other design choices, particularly the interior furnishings, add to the house’s throwback appeal. Cedar beds, handmade quilts, and leather chairs make it seem more like an Old West cabin than your typical Ewok residence. Click here to see all of TreeHouse Point’s lodging options.

Free Spirit Spheres — Qualicum Beach BC, Canada

Each of the Free Spirit Spheres looks like something out of an H.G. Wells novel, though their interior might say otherwise. The handmade orbs rest vaulted in the coastal canopy of Vancouver Island, Canada, among a firefly-riddled forest using a web of rope. The wooden construction and design concept borrows from that of a sailboat, while relying on elements of bio-mimicry to adapt to the environment and retain a low-impact presence in the surrounding grove of cedar and maple. The inside of each sphere varies from one model to the next, outfitted with brass trim and varnished doors, not to mention a bed and galley equipped with all the necessary amenities (a fridge, microwave, etc.). Contact Free Spirit Spheres for booking information.

Secret HemLoft — Whistler BC, Canada

The HemLoft isn’t the byproduct of your average software developer. Joel Allen built his backwoods getaway, one of his first forays into carpentry, on a small piece on crown land located in the backwoods of Whistler. The hidden structure rests on the trunk of a robust hemlock tree, the entirety of it salvaged for less than $10,000 worth of materials he obtained from Craigslist. Allen never intended to live in it, though, and built it as a tribute to the surrounding environment more than anything else. He encouraged others to find it and leave their story in a guestbook, and much to the dismay of some, he later placed the materials back on Craigslist for someone to relocate. Apparently, building an egg-shaped structure on forest land you don’t technically own isn’t exactly legal. Go figure. Read more about this project here.

4Treehouse — Lake Muskoka Ontario, Canada

Toronto-based designer Lukasz Kos seems to have an affinity for Japanese lanterns. Endowed with a lattice-frame design, 4Treehouse essentially mimics them, reveling in 2-ton design that rests 20 feet above the ground. The open design allows air, wind, and light to waft through throughout the structure, while still solidifying a barrier with the outside world. The structure provides 410-square-feet of space, too, and features a rolling staircase so occupants can enter whether the structure is stationary or gently swaying in the breeze. Still, the best part of the slender building is its minuscule impact on the environment — a mere four cables suspend the entire lodging in the canopy.

The Dragonfly  Harads, Sweden

The Dragonfly is another treehouse suite located at the Treehotel. At nearly 560 square feet, this is by far the largest treehouse at the hotel. Situated on the lush hillside, the large panoramic windows present truly awe-inspiring views of the valley below. The exterior is made out of sheet metal and is covered in wood to more aptly mesh with the surroundings. Over time, the wood will slowly darken to more seamlessly blend with the lush pine tree forest. The Dragonfly is designed to accommodate up to four adults for about $860 per night.

Punta Jaguar — Matapalo, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Punta Jaguar is a three-story treehouse in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle. The structure has no exterior walls, allowing for better cross-ventilation, and, most importantly, breathtaking 360-views of the surrounding forest and wildlife. That said, guests can always close the large curtains if they prefer to wallow in the dark. The first story includes a living room and two bedrooms, while the second and third each house additional living quarters. You can be the king or queen of your own jungle oasis for a single occupancy rate of $361 a night, or split the treehouse with five friends for a cool $422. Your call.

Lago Lomita Vineyard Treehouse — Monterey Bay, CA

This Airbnb treehouse listing — located in Los Gatos, California — is situated on the grounds of the Lago Lomita Vineyards. At 400 square feet, the treehouse may not be the spacious; however, the views are virtually unparalleled. The large deck also offers guests the chance to take in the exceptional sights of Monterey Bay. It’s able to accommodate two guests at a time, too, rendering it a steal at $200 a night. Sadly, wine is not included. Check out this listing on Airbnb for more information.

Aroma(n)tica Treehouse – Alessandria, Italy

The Aroma(n)tica Treehouse is proof that not every treehouse sits in a densely lined grove of trees. The quaint structure rests on a sprawling estate overlooking the rolling hills of Italy, flanked by the pungent fragrances of linden trees, magnolias, hollies, and a mélange of aromatic herbs. The property also features an 18,000-square-foot garden, along with an age-old wine cellar housing an ancient press and barrels of wine. The minimalist, one-bedroom space serves as an Airbnb, accommodating up to two guests for $160, with easy access to nearby hiking trails and cycling routes exploring the surrounding scenery. The front porch and chic interior design are subtle, sure, but that only adds to the barebones appeal. Find out more here.