“I think most people either had a treehouse as a kid or wanted one,” says Treetop Hideaways owner Enoch Elwell, whose luxury getaways in Tennessee and Georgia bring back that childhood magic. Repurposed materials and vintage décor make his accommodations special, but they’re not alone in the treehouse rental world. Lofts in the leaves have put down roots across the South. Check out these spots where you can comfortably (and often, stylishly) sleep amid the boughs, no rickety ladder required.
The Volunteer State is blessed with a bevy of treehouse digs. Treetop Hideaways offers options at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga and on the side of Lookout Mountain just over the state line in Georgia. Tree trunks rising through the cottages and s’mores kits for fire pits wrap guests’ inner children in warm, fuzzy feelings. (When it’s cold or hot, full climate control systems ensure physical comfort.) Also in Chattanooga, the mountain-summit-situated Bolt Farm Treehouses rise above the foliage, and the resulting panoramic vistas viewed from plush, four-poster beds and copper soaking tubs are big draws. The wide decks promise further relaxation with outdoor showers, pizza ovens, and canopy beds.
In Gatlinburg, Treehouse Grove’s collection of sixteen raised, all-wooden cabins are tucked into a shady glen alongside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A little farther west in Walland, Blackberry Mountain’s roomy treehouses stay true to the upscale style that Blackberry is known for: king beds, marble in-room baths, gourmet-snack-stocked pantries, and golf carts for exploring the rest of this refined resort. And for an authentic throwback experience, Treehouse Mountain in Copperhill features rustic cottages on platforms. A separate bathhouse a short stroll away conjures summer-camp vibes, while amenities like heating, air conditioning, and Wi-Fi keep you from completely roughing it.
Privacy is a perk at River Rock, a two-bedroom, two-bath structure on stilts above the banks of the rock-strewn Toccoa River in Blue Ridge. It’s surrounded by two wooded acres. Soak in the arbor views through floor-to-ceiling windows or lounge on the deck listening to water bubbling and bouncing over stones.
Edisto River Treehouses in St. George are nestled in a stand of cypress trees with no air conditioning or running water and illuminated only by oil candles, making a getaway here closer to primitive camping than glamping. But according to owner Chris Burbulak, it’s more about the journey than the destination. “You have to canoe four to five hours down a windy blackwater river through South Carolina backcountry to get to the treehouses,” he says. “You never know what’s around the next bend, so it’s a true adventure that gets you out of the daily grind.” The largest of the two structures occupies a small island, but the entire property is a sanctuary. “It’s a whole different type of quiet out here.”
If you’re after a secluded treehouse retreat with a shorter commute, check out Come Sleep in the Trees, a short drive down a mountain road. Its two cottages tucked among trees in Mountain Rest (one is currently being renovated) are aglow in string lights but have neither internet nor TVs, so you can unplug and unwind on the wraparound decks or in rockers by the firepit.
Nestled along a hill in a stretch of Magnolia State forest, the geometric form of the Johnny Knight Treehouse in Mendenhall seems to be growing out of a tree, not simply sitting on limbs. It may look like an abode for a garden gnome, but its spacious interior has a full kitchen, sitting area (with fireplace), and a loft. Its quirky appearance echoes the fanciful aesthetic of its namesake designer and former owner, artist Johnny Knight, whose wood carvings (including Mississippi’s tallest totem pole) are on display throughout his hometown.
According to Asheville Glamping owner Joanna Cahill, most adults don’t get to use their imaginations very often, but a stay at the Nest, the treehouse available at her property (which also features dome tents, some with indoor slides between levels), can remedy that. “When you’re in whimsical accommodations like a treehouse, it reawakens that childlike curiosity,” she says. “That’s why people book here; they want more than a place to sleep.” Elevated on a framework of three massive poplars away from city lights and noise, the Nest is accessed by a suspension bridge and has hot water, a bathroom, climate control, and a small kitchen.
With names like Aerie, Alchemy, and Dragon’s Knoll, the cabins at Asheville’s Earth and Sky Dwellings promise fairytale escapes. The stone-flanked and turret-adorned Wizard’s Hollow treehouse is encircled by mature canopy, features a granite-countered kitchen with eating nook, and sleeps four.
Red River Gorgeous’s traditional treehouses in Stanton are a treat, but the company’s “cliffhouses” are a thrill. Clinging to the sheer sandstone face of the Red River Gorge, they feel suspended in air and feature full baths, kitchens, and multiple levels of decks. The multi-person “ship-net” hammocks strung between tree trunks off a porch shared by the Grey Dreamer and Sky Dancer match their pirate-vessel themes and enhance the floating effect.