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Long before Airbnb started touting unusual places to stay, Minnesota has had its share of unique places to sleep.

The Jail House Inn in Preston has a "Drunk Tank" and "Cell Block" among the dozen rooms in the former 1869 county jail ( Whistle Stop Bed & Breakfast in New York Mills rents bedrooms in elegantly restored Victorian train cars (, while St. Paul's Covington Inn offers a memorable view of the skyline from a floating bed and breakfast with four rooms (

Two Harbors, on the North Shore, offers the option to sleep in its historic lighthouse or keeper's cottage and the chance to sleep in 15 boxcars at the Northern Rail Traincar Inn ( Each car features its own theme, while the hallway between cars evokes the feel of a depot platform.

State parks also have a variety of lodging options, from camping cabins (electricity but no plumbing) to tipis, yurts and canvas tents ( You can find houseboats and boathouses, too.

Airbnb, VRBO and social media make it easier than ever to find the state's quirkier places, such as a cluster of grain bins turned into rental units in Alexandria or an artsy treehouse in Upsala. If you yearn for the more unusual getaway, dig in and do some research. Ask around and enjoy the unexpected as you explore favorite and freshly discovered corners of the state.