Lonely Planet Writer

You can now sleep at a missile launch site in Kansas

A former military bunker named the Subterra Castle Airbnb is now open for adventurous visitors wanting to sleep in an historic Cold War base.

Unusual surroundings in the missile base. Image by Subterra Castle/Airbnb

Matthew Fulkerson, who manages the intriguing property, found the place when when he was only ten years old and hiking near his home in Flint Hills. “It was a real adventure to walk through high security chain-link fencing with barbed wire on top, then I followed the road which ended at an underground entrance with a 47-tonne blast door,” said Fulkerson, “the place looked abandoned, so I slowly opened up the blast door to reveal a tunnel going into the darkness.”

Subterra Castle. Image by Subterra Castle/Airbnb

On his second visit, after returning home to get a torch, he met the owner Edward Peden, who explained where an InterContinental Ballistic Missile was kept ready to launch – in an area of the property called the Missile Bay. It had a range of 6000 miles and carried a four megaton nuclear warhead. Fortunately, the rockets were never used for destruction and war, but the machinery was used during a space project – launching supplies into orbit to the International Space Station. Around 20 years later, the entire place, spanning 18,000 square feet underground, has been transformed into an incredible subterranean mansion.

Unusual accommodation in the missile base. Image by Subterra Castle/Airbnb

The style throughout is bohemian, with large, comfortable communal rooms including the great room, where visitors can make music with the many percussion instruments, and the greenhouse, complete with a hot tub. Meanwhile, the living room and sanctuary are decorated with symbols from different religions. “It’s a gesture of openness, acceptance, and love for all,” said Fulkerson, “you’ll definitely find a friendly, loving ‘new age’ vibe at Subterra Castle.”

The Launch Desk. Image by Subterra Castle/Airbnb

Along with eclectic decor, the property has a castle tower you can climb, a moon deck perfect for stargazing, and 33 acres of land – with a pond, a stone circle and a grass airstrip. “Adventure tourism is a growing market, but really people have always had an appetite to explore the unknown,” said Fulkerson. “Since these military programs were so secretive, it’s exciting to finally be able to walk through these hidden underground tunnels and structures, which only a limited amount of people had clearance to enter when it was in operation.”

Fancy an unusual holiday? Image by Subterra Castle/Airbnb

So far, the property has only received five star reviews from its guests. “What an AWESOME piece of history,” said guest Lesley in October, 2017. It’s “steeped in Cold War history, and waiting for you to explore,” explained visitor Kathrine in 2017, “the place is funky but fun, from the launch room to the missile bay, to the top of the turrets, we loved it all.” Fulkerson loves the place so much, he even got married here.

Book a room in the Subterra Castle from $143 a night, by booking via AirBnB.