Love to camp and be in nature, but want something more reliable than a tent? Cabin camping may be just your jam!
Read on to figure out the whys and hows of choosing the best camping cabin!
Why Choose a Cabin?
Maybe you’re new to camping. Maybe you live in an area with temperamental weather. Or maybe you want to experience the great outdoors, but you’re so over sleeping on the ground.
Whatever the reason, cabin camping is a great option to get the R&R you need! However, to maximize your enjoyment, you need to take some simple steps to choose the best camping cabin for your adventure.
Types of Camping Cabins
The best camping cabin is the one that fits your style, desires, and needs! Luckily, there are as many options for cabins out there as there are for places to find them, so the choice is yours!
A rustic camping cabin is probably exactly what you imagine: a wooden structure with a door (or a cutout for a door with or without a thick, waterproof covering), maybe some window holes, and a covered (wood or concrete) floor. Although a rustic cabin gives you the comfort of having a roof over your head and a floor–other than earth–below, it’s a far cry from glamping. You can think of these structures as a sort of wooden tent.
Rustic cabins do not have running water or electricity. If you find one in an established campground, you will probably also have access to a central spigot. You may or may not have access to a shower or flushing toilets, but you’ll probably be able to get potable water to drink and wash with. Showers are usually coin-operated only.
Rustic cabins can sleep two up to, well, a dozen or more. It just depends on the site and cabin you choose.
These cabins are a small–but not insignificant–step up from tent camping.
A deluxe camping cabin is a larger step up from a rustic cabin.Typically, these cabins have a private bathroom and shower, and slightly more sleeping room, with maybe even a door separating the bedroom from the common living area (where there may be a futon or some kind of pull-out bed).
Deluxe camping cabins usually have electricity and come with a kitchen area that includes a sink, refrigerator, microwave. and dining table. Sometimes there’s even a porch.
Glamping tents and yurts
Glamping tents bring campers closer to nature than, say, a mountain resort, but they’re a huge leap up from regular tent camping. Glamping tents, yurts, and yurt tents are more stable than regular camping tents and usually come with ventilation and an indoor-stove capability. Yurts–or year round recreational tents–are round structures covered in waterproof canvas that are permanent structures, whereas yurt tents combine the benefits of a traditional yurt with a little more mobility.
You can find and rent a glamping tent or yurt near you, or you can even buy your own! Some rental glamping tents come furnished, and it’s not hard to find one in a location that offers other amenities, as well, like concierge services and in-tent dining options.
For those who want to get outside but enjoy the luxuries of a nice hotel, a glamping tent may be the best camping cabin option. If you’re looking to save some cash, though, traditional camping is the way to go.
If you want a truly unique cabin camping experience, book a treehouse cabin! There’s something uniquely whimsical about hanging out and spending the night high above the ground in a treehouse. Like other cabins, treehouse cabins range from rustic to posh, but the one thing they have in common is an elevated view of nature.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Camping Cabin
So, you’ve decided that cabin camping is the way you want to go, but you’re not sure how to go about choosing a cabin. We can help!
Location and surroundings
First, where do you want to go? If you want to stay relatively close to home, start your search online to find cabins within driving distance, or consider booking a cabin, rather than a hotel, in a far-off destination you’ve been wanting to visit.
You can find camping cabins in all types of locations: from the coast to the mountains, remote lakeside to urban hideaway.
Size and capacity
How many people will be in your camping party? Although it may be tempting to squeeze folks into a smaller cabin, it’s likely worth the upcharge of getting two (or more) cabins or upgrading to something bigger. You’ll enjoy your experience the most if you choose the best camping cabin for your crew.
Privacy and noise
Consider how much seclusion you’d like on your cabin camping adventure, and take into account the needs and wants of the people you’ll be camping with. If there are toddlers or babies in your camp group, privacy and quiet at all hours will be essential for anyone to have any fun. Conversely, if you’re going cabin camping for a bachelor or bachelorette party and intend to get wild, look for a cabin in a site that’s more forgiving when it comes to quiet hours.
Once you narrow down a general area or handful of cabins, check a website like TripAdvisor and read people’s reviews of the cabins or campgrounds on your shortlist to get a feel for ambience in each place.
Amenities and facilities
How rustic do you want to go? Think about what your trip will look like with no running water or flushing toilets. Or maybe you prefer a cabin that comes with electricity and a kitchen? Cabins come in all shapes and sizes, and equipped (or unequipped) with any amenity you can think of. You get to choose what level of creature comfort will make your camping cabin adventure the best experience possible!
Cabin camping is going to cost more than tent camping, but it’s worth it! You get protection from the elements–weather, bugs–and a reprieve from sitting and sleeping on the dirt. And a family camping cabin excursion is still far less expensive than a family vacation at a hotel or rental home
That being said, don’t be afraid to stick to your budget when you choose a cabin. If nothing else, a more bare-bones (cheaper) cabin will just make you feel more like you’re really roughing it! And you’ll have priceless stories for years about how you survived that time you cabin camped in that airless A-frame with wooden cots/lean-to with the leaky roof/boiling hot shelter with mosquitos beating down the door or wherever you end up!
Cabin camping is a good choice if you or someone in your party has mobility concerns. With a cabin, you don’t have to worry about putting up or taking down a tent, for example.
Cabin camping does require some accessibility consideration, though; especially if you’re camping with older, younger, or differently-abled folks. Will everyone in your party be able to make it up the stairs to an elevated cabin? Can your group do bunk beds, or does everyone need a single-story bed? Does anyone need running water or electricity for assistive devices or medications? How far is a bathroom from the cabin, and what is the trek like?
Considering things like this that you might take for granted will make your cabin camping trip go more smoothly and will make it more enjoyable for everyone.
Do you need a cabin that will let you bring your pet (likely dog, but maybe cat, bird, iguana, etc)? Boarding or hiring a pet sitter can get expensive; however, having a pet to think about while you’re camping can be difficult, too.
Weigh your options, but if you think you might want to bring your furry (or feathery, or scaly) friend, check a cabin’s pet policy to see who’s allowed. Maybe you can’t get that dream cabin if you bring Fido along, but having your whole family at a cabin campout is more important than having electricity in the place you rent.
Choosing the Best Camping Cabin Checklist
With so many options for camping cabins, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Follow this checklist to help you plan and execute your best camping cabin adventure!
- Decide what kind of cabin
- How rustic? How big?
- What kind of location (Rural or urban? Beach or lakeside?)
- Pets and amenities? (Do you need a pet-friendly cabin? What other amenities are important–bathrooms? Wi-fi?)
- Do your research
- Check TripAdvisor and Campspot
- Read reviews
- Make your reservation
- Review host’s policies
- Print and save your confirmation
- Make any payments
- Pack for adventure . . . or for R&R!
- Enjoy your camping cabin!
The Best Cabin Camping is Up to You
No matter which kind of cabin camping you choose, spending a night or two in a permanent structure in the middle of nature is sure to give you all the benefits of camping with a bit more predictability than sleeping in a tent.
Still not sure if you want to camp or glamp? Check out our comparison post, Camping vs Glamping, to help you choose!
- About the Author
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Ronda Lindsay is a professional writer and editor who has worked in government communications for nearly two decades.
Growing up in Portland, Oregon, she fostered her love of nature and the outdoors by exploring the Pacific Northwest’s many natural playgrounds before moving to the Washington, DC, area to see what the eastern side of the country had to offer. She’s also spent plenty of time camping, hiking, and floating around central Texas, where she now lives.
With a bachelor’s in English and a master’s in professional writing, Ronda loves to learn and write about the latest trends in outdoor adventuring and share that information with Beyond the Tent readers.