Travelers seeking a vacation in the great outdoors turn to a nostalgic source of comfort and solitude: tree houses.
But these are not the tree houses of their childhood. Like the travelers who book them, the tree houses have also matured.
Modern tree houses are more luxury houses than meeting places for children – with a corresponding price. Tree houses built by professionals can easily run into six-figure costs.
“A full tree house with a kitchen, bathroom, heating and air conditioning … we’re building this around $ 200,000,” Pete Nelson, the star of Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters TV show, told CNBC in 2014.
According to HomeAdvisor, a website connecting homeowners to home services, tree houses are being built for people to live in.
Since then, prices have risen with demand, a situation fueled by the global pandemic and the desire for fancy outdoor accommodations.
Aside from a worn patch of grass in the back yard, old school tree houses usually didn’t have a large entrance. Modern ones do this, some with guarded sidewalks, stone stairs, and ramps for wheelchairs and pets.
Chez ‘Tree Rest is located near the Finger Lakes area of New York.
Anthony Costello | Bluenose Studios
One such tree house is the Chez ‘Tree Rest Treehouse in upstate New York, accessible via a 60-foot pedestrian bridge that starts at a heart-shaped gate. Another 10 meter long cable bridge connects the tree house with a separate relaxation deck.
Owner Tom Wallace discusses the construction of the tree house in a video tour of the tree house, where he also gives tips for a comfortable stay.
Prices start at $ 285 per night.
Tree houses for children should be between six and 12 feet tall and at least 36 inches tall, according to Tree Top Builders, a custom construction company based in Exton, Pennsylvania. These heights also require that mulch or wood chips be placed under the tree house to mitigate a possible fall.
Treehouses built for tall people are not subject to these standards, as evidenced by the three-story Punta Jaguar jungle treehouse in Matapalo, Costa Rica.
The tree house Punta Jaguar has three open, raised levels and a ground floor bungalow.
Courtesy Punta Jaguar
What the house lacks in walls it makes up for in style. Sinks and faucets are made from seashells, and a separate ground floor bungalow has colorful pivoting windows and electric drawbridge-style folding decks. It has a caretaker, according to the website, and a private path to the beach. Guests are encouraged to be 7 years and older.
Prices start at $ 255 per night.
Guests of the Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica tree house in Peru sleep 21 meters above the rainforest floor.
Courtesy Inkaterra Hotels
Adventure seekers can sleep in the Amazon rainforest at Peru’s Ecolodge Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica. The lodge’s only tree house sits more than 70 feet above the rainforest floor at the end of a series of seven suspension bridges.
Programs start at $ 492 for a two-night stay plus an additional $ 660 for an overnight stay in the tree house.
Childhood treehouses may have glimpsed neighbors’ backyards, but nothing is as spectacular as Australia’s Blue Mountains.
In a twist on the kids’ clubhouse rules, this tree house in the Blue Mountains of Australia can accommodate two adults, but no children or pets.
A winking sign on the door of the Secret Tree House may say that adults are not allowed, but in reality it’s the kids who can’t come. This tree house is built on high stilts at a great height and has a combined bridge and ladder entrance.
Prices start at AU $ 1,095 ($ 804) for a one night stay.
Sports pennants and walls adorned with stickers have been marginalized in favor of plush furnishings reminiscent of modern homes.
The Aerohouse at Treeful Treehouse Sustainable Resort in Okinawa, Japan.
Courtesy of Treeful Treehouse Sustainable Resort
This is evident at the Treeful Treehouse Sustainable Resort in Okinawa, Japan. All bookings include two tree houses: the earthy Spiral Treehouse, furnished with hammocks and yoga mats, and the luxurious Aerohouse, which has the look and feel of a five-star hotel suite. The understated, sophisticated decor comes with amenities like an espresso machine and a wine cellar, according to the website.
The tree house resort has been open for less than a month. Guests can currently book two nights – no more, no less – and all travelers must be at least 10 years old.
The interior of Okinawa’s Aerohouse.
Courtesy Treeful Treehouse Sustainable Resort
Prices are 100,000 Japanese yen ($ 905) per night for up to three people; a fourth person costs an additional 225 USD per night. Bookings are currently 33% off regular prices.
While cooking and tree houses once rarely merged, tree houses now have a fully equipped kitchen with Nespresso coffee machines and kitchen islands.
The modern kitchen at Trinity Treehouse outside of Atlanta features a wine rack and bar area.
The two bedroom Trinity Treehouse near Atlanta has a kitchen that travelers might envy their homes, let alone their gardens. Three large windows enlarge the space, which includes an L-shaped countertop, a wine rack, and a breakfast bar for coffee or quick meals. There is a decorative backsplash above the kitchen cabinets, which are made in the host’s woodworking workshop according to the website listing.
The Trinity Treehouse is located next to the hiking and biking trails of Georgia’s 2,500 acre Davidson-Arabia Mountain Conservation Area.
Prices start at $ 289 per night.
Features that stimulate the imagination
Luxury tree houses don’t have to be too serious – that’s what log cabins are for. What differentiates a tree house from a raised house in the woods can be its commitment to whimsical and childlike fun.
To enter a tropical tree house on Hawaii’s Big Island, guests climb a ladder to a trapdoor that opens to the second floor. Bags and suitcases go a different way; they are pulled up using a pulley system.
Although it doesn’t allow children, the Wanderlust Treehouse incorporates imaginative functions into its design.
The Wanderlust Treehouse in Crane Hill, Alabama doesn’t allow kids, but that didn’t stop its owner from installing a playground-style suspension bridge to connect two parts of the home. The tree house, which received perfect ratings in all 85 Airbnb reviews, has outdoor showers, a rocking bed, and a fire pit.
Prices start at $ 350 per night.
Would you like to build your own modern tree house?
|Vacation rental tree house||From $ 30,000|
|Zip line||$ 2,200|
|Spiral staircase||$ 5,900|
|Suspension bridge||$ 2,900|
|Classic slide||$ 1,200|
|Fireman’s pole||$ 575|
|Source: Tree House Experts|
Guests staying at the Loire Valley Lodges have breakfast baskets delivered to their door every day. You also have access to an on-site restaurant and room service.
Loire Valley Lodges relies heavily on local produce and, according to its website, grows herbs and fruits locally.
Courtesy Loire Valley Lodges
The French tree house hotel opened in July 2020, with the interiors of each of its 18 buildings designed by a different contemporary artist.
Prices start at 395 euros ($ 428) per night.
* Prices are correct at the time of publication.