Cabins: The Hidden Vacation Gem

Last New Year’s, we rented a cabin in the middle of the woods in Georgia for what seemed like an absurdly low amount of money. We enjoyed it so much (not only the price) that we’re doing it again in July, a little further North. So what’s all the hype about?

What’s a cabin?

This is a decent example of what’s available out there. The cabin we stayed in most recently was more modest than some of those, but equally as fun.

Our cabin had two bedrooms, with two queen-size beds each, two large bathrooms, a generous living room and dining room, and a fully-stocked kitchen (stocked with equipment, plates, etc., not food!). We also had our own screened-in patio and a charcoal grill.

Because it was on a campground, our cabin was in a grouping of 8-10 others and as a result had little “privacy” for those who want a true getaway. I’m sure some of the others out there are a bit more secluded.

Why are they so cheap?

The cabin we stayed in rents for as little as $150 a night. That sounds like a typical hotel room, but when you start spreading the cost over 8-10 people, $20 a night per head sounds much more appealing.

The price was mostly due to these factors:

  • The cabin was operated by a public park/preserve.
  • We were in the middle of nowhere.
  • There is no maid service, and you have to clean up when you leave.
  • In general, staffing is limited to helping you check in and out.
  • You bring all of your own food (no need—and in most cases ability because of remoteness—to go out).

I understand that’s pretty typical for most other cabin sites as well.

What can you do while you’re there?

Of course, this depends entirely on where you rent a cabin. Most are either in the mountains or in wooded areas, so there’s usually plenty of nature to explore.

The park we stayed in had an interpretive center, playground, three trails, and kayaking down a river. The one we have planned for July offers whitewater rafting (winning!).

What should you bring?

The nice thing about how many of these cabin rentals are set up is that much of what you’ll need is already there. You need to bring your own food and a few other things you use on a daily basis. Some of the things on our list are:

  • Baby needs
  • Paper products (paper towels, napkins)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Seasonings
  • Medicine/first aid kit
  • Movies/white sheet/projector—yes, really. Smile
  • Bug spray
  • Air mattress for extra sleeping room
  • Flashlights
  • Sports equipment

It’s a lot of fun, and the more you go, the more you learn how to pack exactly what you need in exactly the right amounts.

Have you done it?

Have you ever rented a cabin for the weekend or an extended vacation? What was your experience like?

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8 thoughts on “Cabins: The Hidden Vacation Gem

  1. We take family vacations to the U.P. of Michigan almost every summer. We usually rent a cabin. Since we like to stay at different places we always search for a different one every year. There are seemingly endless possibilities so be sure to do adequate research to find the best deal.

  2. I have done it. I also have already reserved a cabin in N GA for late fall. It’ll be the first trip I take with my new daughter (now 3 weeks old) and I am REALLY looking forward to it.

    1. Congratulations! Fall is probably perfect for Georgia, we’re going to have to endure the heat of summer.

  3. I’ve always seen these in the Michigan campgrounds we go to but the question I have is whether having that many people in one building (that looks small when you put that many people inside) makes it too crowded? That’s always been my fear with them.

    1. Our family is pretty big, and we like to hang out, so it’s never been an issue. But we didn’t feel crowded at all–there were two of us per bed (all couples), and we spent most of the day in the living room or outside anyway. The common area (living/dining/kitchen) was actually fairly large.

  4. I love the cabins and mini-cabins in the Texas State Parks system. The full cabins are like the ones you describe – full kitchen, bath, 1-2 bedrooms, usually a fireplace. The mini-cabins (some are called limited use cabins) have bunk beds (sleep 3-4 and tents/cots are allowed), table, outside picnic table, BBQ grill and fire pit. Some even have a small microwave and/or fridge, and most have a window unit for heat/cooling. They are located near the communal restroom/shower building, so only a short walk is needed for the ‘necessary room.’ So you get the benefits of being in the outdoors but with a roof over your head and a door that locks.

    1. The mini-cabins sound cool! Haven’t seen those here in Florida though, but it’s definitely a good cross between full-on camping and a cabin.

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