If the thought of a vacation in a cabin evokes images of cold running water, drafty walls, dusty floors, and a midnight trip to the outhouse, then think again. Nowadays, most rental cabins offer the same level of comfort and convenience as the best four or even five-star hotels. Plus, even the smallest cabins usually have more space than the average hotel room. A cabin vacation means that you’ll be able to unpack, unwind, and settle into a home away from home for the length of your stay.
Play charades around the fire, tell ghost stories or stargaze at night. Enjoy a homemade breakfast and picture-perfect views from your porch in the morning. Most modern cabins come with fireplaces, gourmet kitchens, flat-screen TVs, WiFi, and large common areas. It’s also not uncommon to find hot tubs, game rooms – priceless for keeping the kids occupied while the adults relax a little – and multiple bathrooms. Whether you’re on a two-week family vacation or a two-day romantic weekend, nothing beats a cabin for comfort, convenience, and privacy. With that said, here are four destinations across the U.S. with just the right combination of location, available cabin accommodations, and attractions for you to enjoy a great cabin vacation.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
A wide variety of typical mountain activities, family restaurants, and unique attractions make the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area of Tennessee one of our country’s most popular family destinations. One of the hundreds of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg cabins nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains puts you in the middle of all the fun. Enjoy typical outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, fishing, and swimming, right next door in America’s most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Five nearby amusement parks including Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country, along with four of the country’s top Mountain Coasters should be enough to satisfy even the most demanding kids. Downtown Gatlinburg has a multitude of family attractions, games, activities and of course shops and restaurants.
Cabin living offers time simply to gaze at the mountain views all around, and the area has numerous scenic drives and trails to get out in nature too. Just outside of Gatlinburg, the scenic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail lets you explore the beauty of the Smokies in your car and at your own pace. The trail has dozens of pull-offs where you’ll find rushing mountain streams, well-preserved log cabins, and historic buildings. The two sister cities host a large variety of festivals and events throughout the year as well.
Lake George, New York
Along with offering fantastic mountain and lake views, a cabin stay in beautiful Lake George means you are always close to the action. Downtown Lake George has a variety of attractions including Dr. Morbid’s Haunted House, several arcades, and lots of miniature golf. Also located right in town, historic Fort McHenry highlights the area’s strategic importance during our nation’s early days. An authentic sternwheel steamboat, the Minne Ha Ha, operates daily tours of the lake. The nearby Great Escape Amusement Park features rides for all ages, one of the country’s largest wooden roller coasters, and an excellent water park. If you enjoy an occasional glass of vino, The Adirondack Winery & Tasting Room makes a large selection of wines right on-premise.
Lake Placid, New York
Just about an hour and a half’s drive north from Lake George, Lake Placid offers year-round fun for every type of vacationer, and accommodations of every sort including rustic yet comfortable cabins. Adjacent to downtown Lake Placid, the tranquil nature of Mirror Lake makes standup paddle-boarding a popular activity in mild weather. In winter, enjoy Olympic-class skiing at nearby Whiteface Mountain, noted for hosting numerous alpine events during the 1980 Olympics. The town of Lake Placid has lots of shops and restaurants, as well as the Lake Placid Olympic Museum which is housed in the arena where the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team made Olympic history. Lake Placid also plays host to numerous events like the I Love BBQ Festival in July, Oktoberfest in the fall, and the Holiday Village Stroll every December. “The Stroll” features a fairy-tale winter wonderland setting with lots of free activities for children, and Santa always makes an appearance.
Estes Park, Colorado
Clear skies, incredible views of the Rockies, and clean, crisp mountain air attract visitors to the picturesque little town of Estes Park. Nestled in the spectacular Rocky Mountains, Estes Park serves as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, and offers a variety of accommodations including mountain cabins and lodges. The national park offers trails that extend for three hundred and fifty-five miles and range from flat lakeside strolls to steep mountain climbs – which all make the national park a must-visit for hikers. Located in the center of Estes Park, the Beaver Meadow Visitor Center runs an informational video every half hour and has rangers on-site, as well. You can also get your little ones started on the Junior Ranger Program at the center.
Designated as one of ten of America’s Byways, Trail Ridge Road in the park offers wildlife sightings, spectacular alpine wildflower exhibitions, and breathtaking views from the comfort of your car. The road runs 48-miles between Estes Park on the park’s east side and Grand Lake on its west side, and has become legendary for its spectacular views. Sixty species of mammals – including a herd of 350 Bighorn Sheep – and 280 recorded bird species bring photographers from around the world to the national park. The park also has lots of Ranger-led programs including astronomy programs for all ages. For an up-close and personal experience with the park’s natural beauty, take a horseback ride from one of the two riding stables in the park, or the numerous other stables in the area.