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Renovated Barns as Vacation Rentals?

PHOTO: Renovated barns have become in-demand vacation lodging. (photo via Flickr/Susanne Nilsson)

The farm-to-table trend has been wildly popular for several years now, perhaps reaching the point of oversaturation and overuse of the term itself.

But here’s a new trend and catchphrase to keep in mind: Farm-to-bed.

To be more specific, the rise of barns as vacation rentals.

According to HomeAway’s 2018 Trend Report, (which is based on a review of 2017 data), barn rentals topped the list of unusual types of vacation home rentals booked last year, with nearly 55 percent growth.

“When we’re talking about barns, we’re not talking about places with livestock. These are often beautifully remodeled barns,” HomeAway’s Melanie Fish explained during an interview with TravelPulse.

Barn stays being offered through the site run the gamut from authentic farm experiences to group and event stays for weddings and family reunions, to romantic retreats.

Also trending among atypical abode choices are houseboats and treehouses, with demand increasing by double digits for both categories.

Treehouses, in particular, are wildly popular, said Fish, with rentals jumping 30 percent last year on HomeAway.

“We’re seeing more luxurious tree houses being listed as well,” she said. “We just listed the world’s first ski-in-ski-out tree houses. We’ve got everything from traditional, rustic tree houses to ultra luxurious tree houses that would appeal to the most discerning travelers.”

Houseboat rentals increased by 40 percent in 2017.

“I think people are realizing that you can have everything you want,” said Fish, “the unique and the luxurious experience all wrapped in one.”

HomeAway’s report also revealed that small towns are increasingly giving big cities a run for their money in terms of the vacation and rental choices of travelers. Oklahoma’s Broken Bow Lake; Iowa’s Spirit Lake and Texas Hill Country are among the fastest-growing, surprising destinations for Americans traveling domestically.

“An off-the-beaten-path trend started taking shape last year, as Americans appear increasingly inclined to mix their outdoor adventures with all the comforts of home,” states the report.

For those who like to travel with furry friends, the HomeAway report has also identified the most pet-friendly destinations in the country for vacation rentals. California and Florida top this category. Ranked cities in those two states include Four Corners and Davenport in Florida, along with San Diego, Palm Springs and Big Bear Lake, California.

Nonetheless, the beach still reigns supreme for vacation home rentals. The most popular beach communities in 2017 were Panama City Beach, Florida; Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama; Walton County, Florida; San Diego, California; Four Corners (Disney area), Florida; and Hilton Head, South Carolina.

By Mia Taylor Courtesy TravelPulse