Splurge vs. steal: 5 cabin getaways for every budget

Published October 2020

The time has come, friends: tuck your sandals in the back of the closet and pull your boots out of hibernation. It’s cabin season.

Over the summer, we saw travelers opt for destinations that were conducive to road tripping and social distancing, and it’s trending that way for fall and winter, too. Both waterfront and mountain cabins are proving to be popular getaways for the cooler months ahead, offering a change of scenery and endless nooks to snuggle up in. So whether you’ve been dreaming of cocoa since the dog days of summer or are begrudgingly watching the days shorten, we’ve rounded up some of our top cabins that will spark all the cozy feelings.

Here are our favorite places to book on the water or in the woods this time of year—with vacation rentals at both ends of the budget. But, of course, they all have a fireplace (or two).

Rhododendron, OR winter vacation rental

Mt. Hood, Oregon

As the closest mountain getaway to Portland, Mt. Hood is a treasure trove of outdoor adventure, with multiple ski resorts and maintained hikes throughout the National Forest—just be sure to check with the Forest Service in the off-season to see which trails are open. And if you want to embrace your inner Oregonian, fall is the prime time to forage for chanterelle mushrooms. Whichever activity you choose, you’ll have a wood-paneled cabin oasis to return home to, and warm up in, at the end of the day.

For a steal: Book Alderwood in Rhododendron

For splurge: Book Sycamore Lodge in Rhododendron

lake chelan cabin on the lake

Lake Chelan, Washington

Lake Chelan may be thought of as the Evergreen State’s summer hotspot, but it gives us all the camp vibes in the cooler months, too. Bundle up and enjoy morning coffee on the private dock of your cabin rental, or venture out for a taste of the area’s burgeoning wine country. And if you’re still craving an adrenaline rush, you’re right at the gateway to the North Central Cascades, with endless opportunities to get your heart pumping.

For a steal: Book Deep Water Cabin in Lake Chelan

For a splurge: Book Constellations Lake House in Lake Chelan

A-frame style cabin in North Lake Tahoe, CA

Lake Tahoe, California

Straddling the California-Nevada border, Lake Tahoe is a year-round vacation destination known for its snow-capped peaks and crystal-blue water. There are many communities established at different sides of the lake, each with its own set of perks. Take North Lake Tahoe, for example, which offers easy access to both the world-class Squaw Valley ski resort and the shops and restaurants of family-friendly Kings Beach. Neither can be beat on a bluebird day.

For a steal: Book Tahoe Pines Cabin in North Lake Tahoe

For a splurge: Book Dwengi House in North Lake Tahoe

Large deck with ample seating in Eagle River, WI

Northwoods, Wisconsin

It’s a time-honored tradition in the Midwest to head “up North” for the weekend. With a network of lakes, rivers, and trails (perfect for snowmobiling in winter), the Northwoods has more than 1 million acres of forest that make for a prime cabin backdrop. The various towns range from hidden gems to bustling communities. The selection of cabin rentals is just as broad, but every spot guarantees a dose of woodland beauty and fresh forest air.

For a steal: Book Honey Badger Lodge in Eagle River

For a splurge: Book Island View Lodge in Eagle River

Vermont vacation cabin surrounded by trees and snow

Green Mountains, Vermont

Take your pick: Vermont is ripe with quaint towns, but we’re particularly fond of the charm in the state’s Southern half near Green Mountain National Forest. It may be the alpine air, or maybe the small-town living, but stress just melts away when you're bunked up at a mountain chalet. And if downhill skiing isn’t your thing, try snowshoeing to take in the stunning landscape of Mount Snow or Stratton Mountain, two of the area’s top peaks.

For a steal: Book Vermont Chalet in Wilmington

For a splurge: Book Log Cabin Living in Winhall