Travel

Escape into the Woods at These Cozy Cabins Across the US

Treehouses and A-frames have us dreaming up cabin porn.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

They’re not luxury hotel suites or sprawling castles, but there’s something particularly comforting about cabins. It’s as if all that rustic timbre, glowing fire light, and nature just out the windows taps into our inner Paul Bunyans, signaling to some prehistoric version of ourselves that we can come inside from the big, wide wilderness and finally feel safe. Or we just like a warm drink by a cozy fire.

Because cookie cutter is boring, we’ve looked for more varied designs that bring out all our woodsy feels. There are the classic styles our kid selves constructed out of Lincoln logs. There are A frames, truck cabins, and even treehouse cabins. And it’s also getting easier to find contemporary models where wood meets modern (and nature meets wifi).

Whether you book one now for a winter vacation, or get in your deposit early for that idyllic summer sojourn, here are some of the best cabins you can rent across the country that will make you start to view cabin fever as a good thing.

Photo courtesy of Vacasa
Photo courtesy of Vacasa
Photo courtesy of Vacasa

Golden A-Frame

Swanton, Maryland
Rates start at $175/night
Between all the provided fun things-think: hot tub, hanging chairs, board games, darts, and shuffleboard-it’s easy to never find a reason to leave this three-bedroom, pet-friendly cabin in Western Maryland. That said, the benefit of staying in this modern A-frame with a trendy black trim is having access to Sky Valley Community’s private lake, beach, picnic facilities, playground, basketball court, and in the winter, sledding trails. Book here.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Bed + Bough

Dawsonville, Georgia
Rates start at $255/night
Another treetop getaway guaranteed to be a conversation starter is this luxurious cabin about an hour north of Atlanta. Host Debra spared no expense in furnishing it with a king-size bed, queen-size sleeper sofa, full bathroom, kitchenette-complete with a retro Galanz refrigerator-and heating and AC. There’s even WiFi. Downstairs, on the ground floor (a.k.a. forest floor), guests find a fire pit, picnic table, and pizza oven. After 174 reviews, the property is averaging an astounding 4.97 stars. Book here.

Sunbury / Columbus North KOA Holiday
Sunbury / Columbus North KOA Holiday
Sunbury / Columbus North KOA Holiday

Tyson’s Truck

Columbus, Ohio
Rates start at $118/night
Sure, you can reserve a traditional cabin at this KOA rental in Columbus. But why not book the one-of-a-kind cabin on wheels? Parked in a family-friendly campground with lots of amenities, Tyson’s Truck sleeps four in its queen-size bunk beds. It’s sparsely furnished-BYO linens and dishes, so it is still a version of camping-but it is outfitted with heat, AC, and a Smart TV. There’s also a coffee maker, microwave, mini fridge, and toaster. Outside, there’s a charcoal grill, fire pit, and picnic table. Book here.

Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa
Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa
Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa

Chico Luxury Cabins

Pray, Montana
Rates start at $250/night
Come for the views-after all, it’s Montana’s picturesque Paradise Valley-and stay for the cabin. These luxury lodges at historic Chico Hot Springs Resort include access to the naturally heated pools and award-winning restaurant and saloon, both just a few hundred yards away. Each cabin pays homage to its Western roots with décor you’d expect to see in an episode of “Yellowstone” (also set near Livingston). Each cabin has a king-size bed and a spa tub for private soaking. Book here.

@piaule
@piaule
@piaule

Piaule

Catskill, New York
Rates start at $400/night
Billing itself as a “landscape hotel,” Piaule (which means “pad” in French) is proud of its head-turning architecture. Its 24 box-like contemporary cabins sit on stilts just a few feet off the ground. They each feature a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that opens up to the forest outside and lets in a flood of natural light. Everything inside is high quality, but also unassumingly modern and minimalistic. Double cabins with two identical bedrooms and bathrooms are perfect for groups. Book here.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Cabin with a cabin

Terre Haute, Indiana
Rates start at $200/night
Get two cabins for the price of one when you book this Peaceful Pines property, just 80 miles west of Indianapolis. It’s worth noting it has a perfect 5-star average rating from more than 100 reviews. The main cabin, which sleeps four, boasts heated stone floors, a canopy bed, laundry room, and back deck with hot tub and bar area. The guest cabin, which is just a stone’s throw away, is “loft meets modern farmhouse.” It includes a full bath, windows looking out onto a forested pond, and a well-stocked kitchenette. Book here.

AutoCamp
AutoCamp
AutoCamp

AutoCamp Yosemite

Midpines, California
Rates start at $479/night
AutoCamp may be best known for its renovated Airstream suites, but they’re winning at cabins, too. Think classic cabin exterior, except with luxurious, spa-inspired décor and furnishings. Each cabin sleeps up to five people and has a galley-style kitchenette and a private outdoor space complete with grill, firepit, and porch swing. While some guests never leave, a daily YARTS shuttle takes others into nearby Yosemite National Park for the day. Book here.

Pioneer Guest Cabins
Pioneer Guest Cabins
Pioneer Guest Cabins

The Pioneer Guest Cabins

Crested Butte, Colorado
Rates start at $229/night
No need to worry about close neighbors at this cabin compound in Colorado, featuring eight Insta-worthy cabins spaced out over 10 acres-all of it just 10 minutes from downtown Crested Butte. At The Pioneer Guest Cabins, you can never have too much chopped firewood on hand. One of the largest cabins, the two-story Alpenglow escape, features both a wood-burning fireplace and a wood-burning stove. Outside, guests have access to a fire pit and a creekside hot tub. Book here.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Modern Mountain A-Frame

Garden Valley, Idaho
Rates start at $224/night
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin is just an hour north of Boise in a scenic Idaho mountain valley. It’s perfect for small groups looking for easy access to popular trailheads. There are even two outdoor patios. Creature comforts include a Keurig, blackout curtains, satellite internet, and central heating and air conditioning. You could use the central heating, but for extra warmth and ambiance, there’s also a wood burning fireplace. The property has an impressive rating of 4.97 stars from nearly 90 reviews. Book here.

Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort
Big Sky Resort

Cowboy Heaven Cabins

Big Sky, Montana
Rates start at $569/night
Don’t be fooled by the name-at these slopeside cabins at one of the biggest ski resorts in the country, you’re more likely to run into powder hounds on snowboards than ranch hands on horseback. That said, style-wise, the architecture is authentic to Montana. Each cabin sleeps up to six, and guests can gather around the indoor fireplace or in the outdoor hot tub. The latter provides panoramic views of the majestic Spanish Peaks. Book here.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Smoky Mountain Reserve with porch hot tub

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Rates start at $292/night
The town of Gatlinburg seems to be the expert at porch life. And you’re going to want an amazing porch to take in the incredible views of the Great Smoky Mountains, unrolling seemingly from beneath your feet out on the wooden deck. In a town overflowing with cabins, we went with a super chic and stylish option, with sliding barn doors, simple mirrors, and floor to ceiling paneless windows. It’s almost hard to find a porch without a hot tub in Tennessee, but this cabin’s rolling bubbles come with a screened-in porch, so you don’t have to deal with bugs in your wine. And the cabin sits within a resort, so there’s additionally no need to worry about bears. Book here.

The Cabins at Crabtree Falls
The Cabins at Crabtree Falls
The Cabins at Crabtree Falls

The Cabins at Crabtree Falls

Nelson County, Virginia
Rates start at $165/night
These five cabins located on the sunrise side of the Blue Ridge Mountains range from a 1798 Appalachian model with exposed wood beams (and recently-added indoor plumbing) to your quintessential modern-day cabin outfitted with a gas range and hot tub. All of the cabins are situated near the Tye River. In fact, they’re so close to the largest vertical drop waterfall east of the Mississippi River, guests can hear the tumbling cascades from their front porch. Book here.

Lake Murray Floating Cabins
Lake Murray Floating Cabins
Lake Murray Floating Cabins

Lake Murray Floating Cabins

Lake Murray, Oklahoma
Rates start at $300/night
Waterfront isn’t close enough at this popular vacation spot. Here, floating villas on a crystal-clear lake masquerade as cabins. They range in size-catering to up to 18 guests-and have central heating and air conditioning (so daringly modern, despite the rustic-ness!). They also have spiral staircases leading up to spacious sleeping lofts. Take in 360-degree lake views inside Oklahoma’s largest and oldest state park. Because these floating cabins sell out months in advance, reserve early. Book here.

Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Cottonwood treehouse cabin

Sioux City, Nebraska
Rates start at $166/night
Apparently, some travelers like their cabins in the air, because this cabin up in a tree has a highly impressive rating of 4.92 stars from more than 400 reviews on Airbnb. This eye-catching design in the “Cornhusker State” is constructed of repurposed materials carefully cradled by two towering cottonwood trees. Despite being located nearly 20 feet off the ground, “Kottage Knechtion” comes with AC, two outdoor decks, a private shower, and even an indoor fireplace. Book here.

BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch
BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch
BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch

BlissWood Sunset Pond Cabin

Cat Spring, Texas
Rates start at $179/night
This cozy one-bedroom retreat is tucked away on a 350-acre working ranch, just an hour’s drive from Houston. Not only does it come with its own private hot tub and shower, it also includes a private pond complete with a fishing pier. Relax in the front porch’s obligatory pair of rocking chairs, or step inside (on a cowhide rug in typical Texas fashion), before sinking into a leather sofa or custom log furniture. Meanwhile, the cabin’s wooden walls are adorned with the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning Texan photographer Skeeter Hagler. Book here.

Kimpton Hotel Born
Kimpton Hotel Born
Kimpton Hotel Born

Kimpton Hotel Born

Denver, Colorado
Rates start at $209/night
For big cabin vibes in the big city, consider this mile-high boutique hotel in Denver. It’s urban, yet cozy-seemingly borrowing its design inspiration from cabin-themed PInterest boards. Think centerpiece stone fireplace, plenty of plaid upholstery, warm wood paneling, and rustic leather furniture that looks more like it belongs in the family cabin than a four-star hotel next door to Union Station. The on-site wine bar even specializes in a venison hot dog toasted over a wood-fired grill. Book here.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Katie Jackson is a contributor for Thrillist.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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