Somewhere between adventure and chilling the heck out, you'll find the perfect secluded cabin. A respite from the daily grind. A private haven that allows you to breathe a little deeper. If you can't escape before the cold sets in, enjoy ogling the perfect rental spots to fuel your wanderlust.
Candlewood Cabin Glass House: Richland Center, WI
The small farming town of Richland Center is where Frank Lloyd Wright was born, so it makes sense that there's some architecture there that shares his congruous-with-the-environment design sensibility. In the Glass House, all four walls are transparent, so it feels like there's not much separating you from the woods around you.
William Brown Cabin: Callicoon, NY
New York City-based men's lifestyle blogger Matthew Hanrek rents out this tiny cabin on a corner of his property in upstate New York. The one-room haven, two hours outside of the city, has plenty of men's lifestyle blog-y touches, like a Japanese-style soaking tub and Pendleton blankets—but it's not fussy. It's stocked with locally roasted coffee, and, if you ask for it, whiskey. There's trout in the stream out back, and—a bonus for those trying escape NYC life—no cell service.
Callisto Canyon Cabin: Seward, AK
The Alaska State Parks rent out 60 wilderness cabins on state land. They're a great deal, but their level of comfort and accessibility varies radically. Our favorite: the beachside Callisto Canyon Cabin in the Caines Head State Recreation Area. Seven miles south of Seward, the secluded spot is only accessible by water, or when the tide is right. Once there, you can hike, kayak, and fish without disturbance. The wildlife is pretty spectacular, too.
Dixie Daisy Airstream: Wimberley, TX
Calling it a cabin might be a stretch, but the Dixie Daisy Airstream, on the banks of Smith Creek, in Texas Hill Country, has all the trappings you would want: for starters, a deck, a fireplace, and a stream running by. It also has an outdoor shower and hot tub—and, because this is Texas, AC. Sleeps two.
Crystal Cove: Newport Beach, CA
Southern California isn't known for solitude or historic buildings, but tucked into Crystal Cove State Park, off Highway 1 between Newport Beach and Laguna, you can find both. In the '30s the Cove became a popular getaway for LA filmmakers, who built beach shacks there. In the '70s the state bought the land and the cabins fell into disrepair.
But in the early 2000s the nonprofit Crystal Cove Alliance got together to fix them up and restore them to their '30s and '40s glory. You can rent one of 13 individual cottages, or take a bed in one of the three dorm-style bungalows. (You might recognize one of the structures from the Bette Midler classic Beaches.)
Far Meadow A-frame: Far Meadow, CA
Yosemite has plans in the works to limit the number of visitor, so post up outside of the park at Far Meadow where you can stay in an old school park ranger-style Sierra cabin, or a more modern A-frame. They're solar powered, but have satellite Internet hookups, so you're not off the grid unless you choose to be. They also rent out a teepee and two trailers for what they consider "glamping."
Rolling Huts: Mazama, WA
Grouped in a "herd" on the edge between the North Cascades and the Methow Valley, the huts are on property that used to be a trailer park. Tom Kundig from Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects, designed them with Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond in mind. They're technically mobile, but they don't move much, and they look more like modern sculptures than RVs. And you're close to climbing, biking, hiking, skiing, and the awesome Mazama Country Store, so there's no real reason to pick up and move.
New England Outdoor Center: Millinocket, ME
Millinocket, a former mill town at the foot of Mt. Katahdin, has reformed itself as a recreation hub, and NECO is at its heart. In addition to Baxter State Park, and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Millinocket has the best whitewater in northern New England, the class V Penobscot River, and the cabins at NEOC put you right in front of it. As they say up there, don't Millinocket 'till you milli-try it. #badmainejoke
Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout: Bozeman-ish, MT
Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, and Norman McLean all spent summers posted up in remote fire lookouts across the West. Some of the lookouts are still manned, but a lot of them are out of operation, due to weather scouting technology that beats binoculars. That might be bad news for aspiring outdoor writers, but it's good news if you want to spend a night in one, especially in Montana where the Forest Service rents out more than 20 of them.
The Garnet Mountain lookout, outside of Bozeman in the Gallatin National Forest, gets you access to hiking and biking, and views of the Gallatin River Valley and the Spanish Peaks. No promises that your journaling will be the next Desert Solitaire, but the views will be good.
Fforest Camp: Cardigan, Wales
Fforest is summer camp for grown-ups, complete with campfires and singalongs. You can stay in a tent-like geodesic dome or a teepee, or in a traditional stone crofter's cabin. They cook all the meals, which are communal, so it might feel a little too campy for some. The site is on the River Teifi, and close to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, so there's surfing and canoeing and hiking close at hand.
Deer Isle Hostel: Deer Isle, ME
Deer Isle, the isle, is way up there on the Maine coast. Not a lot of people make it that far north, even though the paddling is really good. Deer Isle, the hostel, is a 17th-century-style timber frame building, hand-built in 2009 by owners Anneli Sundqvist and Dennis Carter. It's a self-sustaining setup: they grow and make everything they need, there's a little farm on the property, everything is solar-powered, and they even hand-milled the lumber for the building.
Refugio Frey: Bariloche, Argentina
Refugio Frey, near Bariloche and accessed from the Cerro Catedral ski area, is one of the easiest to get to Argentinean refugios, or backcountry huts. The Frey is popular among backcountry skiers and climbers and it made a prominent appearance in the 2011 Sweetgrass Productions film Solitaire. Your stay might not be very solitary, but you’ll get access to mountains full of amazing skiing and climbing, like Catedral Norte.
Eiseman Hut: Vail, CO
The 10th Mountain Division Huts are a Colorado institution, and wintertime hut trips are a rite of passage for every skier in the state, but you can book the huts in the summer, too, when they're not nearly as crowded. The Eiseman Hut, just north of Vail, is the most alpine of the huts. At 11,180 feet, it can be a slog to get in, but the huge porch—prime for sunbathing—and access to beautiful mountain basins are reward enough. The only summer downside is that the water source is a bit far away.
Treetop Huts: Lillehammer, Norway
Tucked into old-growth pines in the Norwegian forest outside of Lillehammer, these three treetop huts—Larch, Spruce, and Pine—are built on platforms 25 feet above the ground. They're simple, with no water or electricity aside from solar powered reading lights, but they've got more crafty Scandinavian touches than a Pinterest board: reindeer blankets, railings made of antlers, and hanging lanterns provide all the comfort you need.
The Hemloft: Whistler, B.C.
A secret pod-shaped tree house made from reclaimed materials hidden in the forest outside of Whistler, B.C.? Sounds pretty good. The Hemloft, which Joel Allen built, starting in 2008, out of materials he found in Craiglist's free-stuff section, was a secret for a long time.
This spring, after the Hemloft went public, Allen announced that he was going to take it down because he was afraid someone was going to wreck it. Local guide company Canadian Wilderness Adventures bought it from him, and this winter they’re going to put it back up on their property, so other people can use it.