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.
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 with these 15 truly awesome treehouses.
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. For the same amount of cash you could stay in virtually any of these epic Airbnbs and underwater hotels from around the globe.
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 x 4 x 4-meter dwelling also accommodates up to two guests within its birch-and-aluminum frame, with a bathroom, lounge, and rooftop terrace to boot. Check out the Treehotel site for information about Mirrorcube and other unique lodging options. We’ve also compiled some of the most convenient travel apps to help you more aptly deal with the rigmarole of modern travel.
German-based design firm Baumraum created the Bollenhagen Moorwald treehouse depicted above. Baumraum specializes in creating custom domiciles including a series of breathtaking treehouses around the globe. The Bollenhagen Moorwald is situated in the middle of a dense mixed forest, brimming with oak and birch trees. This treehouse comprises four total floors, each with its own unique terrace allowing you to take in the surrounding scenery at every panoramic angle.
A family commissioned the aforementioned firm, Baumraum, to create a treehouse for their son and his friends and the Baumhausbesucher treehouse was the final product. Near the Saxon town of Uslar, this narrow, stilted treehouse is quaintly cloaked by a thick stint of hemlocks and the entire unit sits atop one of two ponds on the property. In the evening, individuals can drift to sleep while taking in views of the stars overhead thanks to the rounded skylights built into the ceiling.
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.
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, suspended 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.).
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 re-utilize. 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.
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 support the entire lodging in the canopy.
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 $940 per night.
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 $206 a night, or split the treehouse with friends. Your call.
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 $220 a night. Sadly, wine is not included. Check out this listing on Airbnb for more information.
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 bare-bones appeal. Find out more here.
Architecture studio Atelier Lavit built this treehouse in the woods of Raray, a commune in northern France, near the castle Chateau Raray. Despite the ancient surroundings, the treehouse itself is unmistakably modern, with the exterior composed of straight, interlaced wood planks. Atelier-Lavit claims the geometric design draws on birds’ nests for inspiration. With 23 square meters (roughly 247 square feet) of space, it’s a cozy building, with a bedroom, bathroom, and lounge with a view of the surrounding forest. The interior has a raw look, brimming with natural light, so renters can feel at home among the trees. The addition of a suspended bridge leading to the treehouse, and a rooftop terrace, make it a cool spot for adventurous travelers.
A minister named Horace Burgess built this massive treehouse after, as he put it, receiving divine inspiration; while praying, he claims God said “If you build me a tree house, I’ll see that you never run out of material.” Burgess built the 97-foot tall, approximately 10,000-square-foot structure over the course of roughly a decade. It allegedly contains more than 80 rooms, including a church and a belltower, and many have called it the world’s largest treehouse.
Although Burgess made the treehouse open to the public, the Tennessee Fire Marshall closed it down in 2012, as it did not meet regulations. Despite the closure, people still hop the fence and explore, as many a review on Yelp and TripAdvisor will attest.
If the angular-birds’-nest look of the Origin treehouse is too artificial for your taste, how about something a bit more organic? Another stunning installation at Sweden’s Treehotel, The Bird’s Nest mimics the look of its namesake, at least on the outside. The inside looks like a modern hotel room, with beds and a living area, although not a ton of window coverage. Treehotel has a restaurant nearby, so guests won’t need to forage for seed.