Experiment with off-the-grid living in these radically self-sufficient homestays
FreeHouse is a vacation booking site that focuses on homes that operate entirely off the grid. Whether you prefer a backcountry ski yurt in Idaho or a four-bedroom beach house in Florida, you’re guaranteed a property with no ties to infrastructure—including electricity and running water.
The site launched this past summer, and so the volume of listings still has some growing to do, with the majority of the properties being in Colorado. But the potential is exciting, not just for travelers looking to unplug for a few days, but for anyone honestly considering a lifestyle overhaul.
Now’s your chance to enjoy the charms of rainwater collection and solar-powered blenders. We combed the stash of available homes you can rent on FreeHouse and found five stunning properties.
Keewaydin Cottage, Southern Gulf, Florida
Best For: Saltwater adventures and drinking daiquiris
This cottage sits on its own island and is reachable only by boat, a 30-minute ride from Naples on Florida’s Gulf Coast. We use the term “cottage” loosely: the house comes with four bedrooms, complete with a 20-foot Hurricane deck boat, so you can explore the lush mangrove forests, sugary white beaches, and deep bay waters of the nearby Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The 4,500-square-foot house uses solar power and rainwater collection, and comes stocked with surfboards, kayaks, fishing gear, SUP boards, and an electric golf cart, as well as a ping pong table. (Because even off-the-gridders love ping pong.)
From $600 a night.
The Point at A Thank You Place, Denver, Colorado
Best For: Adventurous couples looking to unplug
Yes, it’s just a tent. But it’s a really nice tent, perched on a wooden platform, hovering over a granite boulder field, on a 40-acre retreat south of Denver. Inside, you'll find a queen-sized bed, antique dresser, and a rug that really ties the room together, along with a bathroom outfitted with a composting toilet and solar-powered shower. The owners are currently finishing up a couple’s bathhouse, fitted with two vintage claw-foot tubs.
Guests can hike the property’s trails, looking for bouldering crags, or hang out on the front porch and enjoy the views of Pikes Peak.
From $100 a night.
Silverton Mountaintop Cabin, Silverton, Colorado
Best For: Altitude training and peak bagging
Twelve thousand feet. That’s the elevation of this cabin, perched on the crest of a meadow in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the San Juan Range and a bird’s eye view of the Animas River.
The cabin is accessible only in the summer, and even then, only with an ATV or a 4x4 with high clearance. But once you’re on-site, you’re within striking distance of a number of 14,000-foot summits. Start your peak-bagging with Handies Peak (14,058) and set aside one day to drive the Alpine Loop, a four-by-four road that takes in five mountain passes.
The house itself has a full kitchen powered by solar, and you’ll be purifying your own water from a nearby stream. Outside, there’s an expansive porch and nearby fire pit to maximize the view, as well as an outhouse and outdoor solar shower.
From $400 a night.
Hawk’s Nest Retreat House, Taos, New Mexico
Best For: A New Age retreat
This four-bedroom, three-bath house sleeps up to 14. It sits at 9,000 feet with 360-degree views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and is within striking distance of the Pecos Wilderness.
But you’re probably not going to want to leave the property. The building’s curvy Pueblo-style walls and fireplaces carved right out of the tan stone give it a quintessential New Mexico vibe, and it’s fixed with all the amenities of a standard holistic retreat: yoga studio, crystal grid healing room, hot tub, and on-site massages, with everything powered by wind and solar to boot. (For a little extra, a chef will even prepare you three meals a day, using local, organic ingredients.)
Hike from the house and explore the 500-acre Hummingbird Community next door, or just chill in the crystal grid healing room. It’s your call.
From $450 a night.
Fishhook Peaks Yurt, Stanley, Idaho
Best For: Backcountry skiers
There are at least half a dozen yurts to choose from on the FreeHouse site, but the Fishhook Peaks yurt hooked us with its wood-fired hot tub.
This Mongolian-style dwelling is connected to a wall tent, with a walkway framed by a lodgepole pine. All together, you have two large bedrooms, each with its own stove, plus two separate additions that can accommodate up to 14 people.
Everything sits in the middle of a meadow at 6,800 feet, at the base of the craggy Sawtooth Range. You’ll have views of Mount Heyburn, and Thompson, Williams, and Horseman Peaks, and immediate access to cross-country skiing in the meadows and tame forests of Fishhook Valley. Speaking of skiing: pack light, because reaching this yurt requires a four-mile uphill slide on an easy grade. You can even link your reservation with the Heybrun Yurt, four miles away, and ski from yurt to yurt. The owners are available for guiding if you’re not familiar with the terrain.
From $180 a night.