Enjoy the best of the outdoors without all the fuss of setting up a campsite
The last thing you want to do when you pull into a beautiful campsite is wrestle with tent poles. Even the easiest tent set-up can be a hassle and make you consider staying home instead. Cabin camping, on the other hand, is a breeze. You can set up camp in minutes, and there’s no picking through the rocks and twigs to try to find a flat space to lay your head.
Cabin camping gives you all of the comfort of solid walls and a real roof without separating you from the real reason you’re there–the great outdoors. For young families or anyone traveling with nervous campers, even a primitive cabin can make all the difference.
Sneak away for a relaxing camping getaway in some of the most stunning and rugged landscapes at these top spots.
Steep Ravine Cabins, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley, CA
These cabins are perched atop rugged bluffs on the outskirts of Mount Tamalpais State Park just north of the Golden Gate. There’s no running water, electricity, or bathrooms inside the small renovated 1940s cabins, but it won’t matter once you see the jaw-dropping ocean views (pictured above). Inside a wood burning stove, sleeping platforms, and picnic table keep everyone cozy even if the wind picks up and misty fog rolls in. Camping here feels like spending time at the edge of the world. Cabins fill up quickly–reserve six months in advance. 9 one-bedroom cabins; sleep 5; $100/night; parks.ca.gov
Jay’s, Chuck’s and Walter’s Cabins, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Denver, CO
Colorado is home to one of the largest backcountry hut systems in the U.S., and you would be hard-pressed to find a more luxurious hike-in cabin than these three run by the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association. All three have running, potable water, electricity, and heat. Each hut sleeps 12 and can be rented by the room or bed. Jay’s has the only refrigerator in the bunch, but all three are the perfect basecamp for a solo trip or group adventure in the Colorado mountains. Cap off the day with a rest in the wood-fired sauna and a hot shower. The cabins are 2.7 miles from the Vail Pass Trailhead at Interstate Highway 70, and are relatively easy to hike or ski into. Open year-round; ski or hike in; from $23/person/night; huts.org
Waiʻānapanapa Cabins, Waiʻānapanapa State Park, Maui, HI
These cabins offer the perfect getaway from the crowded beaches and overrun trails. Set along a remote volcanic cove with a small black sand beach, the Waiʻānapanapa cabins offer solitude and access to some of Maui’s best hiking trails just outside of Hana. While the road can be harrowing, the well-equipped–think running water, full kitchen with a fridge, and real beds–and recently updated cabins are worth it. Cabins must be reserved at least three days in advance, from $60/night; dlnr.hawaii.gov
Headwaters Lodge & Cabins, Between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, WY
You could not pick a better location for staying just outside of not one, but two national parks. While Headwaters has a full lodge and luxury cabins, the camper cabins nestled in the forested areas around the property are the true hidden gems. Each has bunk beds, a picnic table, and a firepit for camp meals and the required s’mores. Newly renovated shared bathrooms with showers and onsite laundry mean you can comfortably stay awhile. There’s no electricity–or cell service–so you can unplug and relax. Sleep up to 5; from $77/night open June 1 – September 30; gtlc.com
Fivemile Butte Lookout, Mt. Hood National Forest, Dufur, OR
Sleep above the trees at this popular Oregon lookout. The cabin sits aloft a 40 foot tower with 360 degree views of Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Rainier. You can drive right up to the cabin in the summer, but you still have to climb all three flights of stairs to the front door. Inside there is only a twin bed, but there is room on the floor for up to three more. A wood stove, propane cooktop, and solar lighting furnish the cabin in the sky; an outhouse and fire ring are outside. $50/night; reservations required; fs.usda.gov
Manzanita Lake Camping Cabins, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA
Just a mile from the park entrance and within walking distance from Manzanita Lake, these adorable wood cabins (pictured above) are the perfect retreat for a national park adventure. While each cabin includes typical campsite amenities outside like fire rings, bear-proof storage lockers, and picnic tables, inside three-inch foam mattresses and heat add extra comfort. Shared bathrooms and showers; sleep up to 8; no electricity; May-October; from $72/night; recreation.gov
Big Sur Campground and Cabins, Big Sur, CA
Big Sur has long drawn campers to its towering redwoods, warm summer temperatures, and ocean vistas worthy of a remote island. The big campsites fill up fast and tend to be crowded. Enjoy some privacy at this family-friendly campground. Each cabin is outfitted with beds and linens, and you have full access to the nearby bathhouse. All booked up? Try the Big Basin tent cabins further north for similar scenery. Sleep 3; from $130; bigsurcamp.com
Tilly Jane A-Frame, Mount Hood National Forest, Mount Hood, OR
Spend the night in one of the oldest structures on Mount Hood. While the house is great for families, it’s even better for big groups who want to get out on the nearby trails. The sleeping loft can fit up to 20 people, and downstairs has picnic tables, benches, and a wood stove. There is a primitive outhouse, but no potable water, so pack in water or have equipment to treat snow or stream water. In the summer you can park at the Tilly Jane Campground and walk a quarter mile to the cabin, while the winter requires snowshoes or skis for a 2.7 mile journey. Note that more than one group can reserve the A-frame at a time, so you may make new friends. $20/person/night; recreation.gov
Half Dome Village Cabins, Yosemite National Park, CA
Stay in sight of Yosemite‘s iconic Half Dome at these simple cabins in the old Curry Village–now Half Dome Village. Each stay includes two double beds with linens, a patio or deck, and electricity. Looking for something more rustic and closer to sleeping under the stars? Stay in one of the canvas tent cabins that have a wooden frame and floor. Each cot-style bed comes with full bedding and heaters are available depending on the weather. Regardless of where you lay your head at night, wake up to the best of the valley. Reservations recommended 1 year in advance, from $80/night; nationalparkreservations.com
Agnes Creek Cabin, Cameron Pass and Highway 14, Fort Collins, Colorado
Escape to this secluded getaway on the western frontier. The Agnes Creek Cabin is at the south end of the Colorado State Forest Park. Don’t let the woodsy setting fool you–the cabin comes extremely well equipped with kitchen equipment, an indoor cooktop and an outdoor grill, and mattresses and pillows so all you need to bring is food, clothing, and entertainment. Take the easy 1-mile trail from the cabin to spend the day at Lake Agnes. No water; open year-round, but hike/ski-in during winter; sleeps 6; from $85/night;