Picture this: You’ve spent all day outside—climbing, swimming, biking, trail running—and by day’s end, you’re ready to post up on the front porch of your very own cabin, maybe by a lake or a river and definitely with tall trees surrounding you and a fire pit out front. This is a summer dream, but it can be harder than you think to track down a cabin that’s rustic yet comfortable and has good, easy access to the outdoors. So we’ve done the homework for you.
Big Bear Lake, California
At Noon Lodge in Big Bear Lake—about three hours east of Los Angeles—you’ll stay in a cozy cabin built in the 1950s. It’s quirky and historic but has the modern-day conveniences of cornhole, bocce ball, shuffleboard, and outdoor barbecues. Big Bear, in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains, is known for its hiking, lake sports, and, in winter, skiing and snowboarding at Big Bear Mountain Resort. From $156 per night.
Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia
Once an abandoned fishing village, Shobac, on the end of a peninsula in Nova Scotia, was resuscitated in 1988 by renowned architect Brian MacKay-Lyon and turned into a beautiful village of cottages and studios at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The four cottages are stunning but not overdone—you’ll get an outfitted kitchen, cedar floors, a couple beds, and a sleeping area under the stars. There’s sea kayaking, surfing, and fishing nearby. From $1,189 for a week.
Huttopia White Mountains
North Conway, New Hampshire
In June, a French camping-getaway company called Huttopia opened its first U.S. outpost in North Conway, New Hampshire. Called Huttopia White Mountains, the place is essentially the campground of your dreams. You have the choice of bring-your-own-tent sites, pop-up canvas tents, and five charming 350-square-foot wooden cabins that sleep up to six people, all within easy access to the White Mountains. You can get fresh crepes, croissants, espresso, and pizzas from an Airstream trailer on the property. From $150 per night.
Squamish, British Columbia
An old fishing camp in Squamish, British Columbia, Sunwolf was purchased and renovated in 2011 by former Whistler ski patrollers and raft guides who dreamed of a cabin operation on five acres of grassy woodland at the confluence of the Cheakamus and Cheekye Rivers. Today, there are ten cabins and one cottage, half of which have been completely renovated. You can take guided whitewater raft trips with Squamish Rafting Company. The resort’s restaurant, Fergie’s Café, has been voted best breakfast in town. From $100 per night.
The Mohicans is a rustic enclave of treehouses and cabins located between Cleveland and Columbus, near Findley and Malabar Farm State Parks. Folks come here for barn weddings, but the quaint wood cabins alone are worth a visit. Hand-built by local Amish and timbered from nearby forests, the four cabins are either two or four bedrooms, so they’re best suited for a family or group of friends. Nearby, you can hike in Mohican State Park, fish a pond on the property, or mountain bike from your cabin. From $250 per night.
The Suttle Lodge opened in 2016 near Sisters, Oregon, following a total overhaul of an old campy lodge by the group that operates Portland’s hip Ace Hotel. Head to the Boathouse for kayak or SUP rentals, or order up buttermilk pancakes or fish and chips. The main lodge has a cocktail lounge and 11 rooms, or book one of the 14 cabins near the shores of Suttle Lake—some are rustic with bunk beds and shared bathrooms; others have been completely redone with full kitchens and fireplaces. Located within Deschutes National Forest, the lodge offers ample hiking, biking, fishing, and hot-spring soaking in the surrounding wilderness. From $125 per night.
Ultima Thule Lodge
Alaska’s Ultima Thule Lodge isn’t at all easy to get to—it’s 100 miles from the nearest paved road, within Wrangell–St. Elias National Park. To get here, you’ll fly or drive from Anchorage to the historic mining village of McCarthy, then hop a flight to the lodge. Once you’re there, you’ll sleep in one of five gorgeous cabins and be treated to a cedar sauna, wood-fired hot tub, and meals prepared with ingredients from the lodge’s own organic vegetable garden. By day, you’ll fish for salmon and trout in the Chitina River, hike through high-alpine tundras, or fly bush planes through the Wrangell Mountains. $7,950 for an all-inclusive four-night stay.