Want to introduce the kids to nature for a few days without having to sleep in a tent? Before you think of the cost and hassle of renting an RV consider another option, staying in a cabin. Believe it or not, you can enjoy the wild outdoors from the comfort of a cabin for less than you might think. Besides, what kid wouldn’t enjoy (despite what they may say) the experience of staying in a cabin at least once? Unfortunately, this experience is an often overlooked option for family vacations.
When it comes to staying in a cabin, you have a wide variety of options to choose from. You can go from rustic huts along trails to fire towers to nicer cabins located near vacation destinations.
Get Cozy in a Cabin
You can’t beat this price. Some rustic cabins available for rent through the U.S. Forest Service are available for as little as $20 a night. You can’t expect plush accommodations, but you can expect a clean stay in a well maintained shelter. Many of these cabins are former guard stations. So while you take in nature you get a history lesson to boot. Rates vary depending on the national forest, size of the cabin, and amenities such as electricity and indoor plumbing. But don’t consider yourself roughing it too much, as some are located near hot springs or great swimming areas. To find out what’s available near you, visit the web page of the national forest you’d like to visit and search for cabin rentals.
Some like the idea of staying in a cabin away from it all but still want to enjoy a vacation destination. This is becoming a popular alternative to the typical hotel or condo choices. The typical cabin near a vacation destination will offer more space and privacy than a hotel room plus you’ll have a kitchen to prepare your own meals in as opposed to eating out in restaurants. Factoring in the savings from preparing your own meals makes the cost of a nicely appointed cabin comparable to other alternatives. As an example of cabins near vacation areas, take a look at this site for cabin rentals in Branson, MO.
Reach New Heights in a Tower
Sunrise or sunset. Decide for yourself which is more impressive while you stay in a former fire tower. But don’t worry about the climb up a steep set of stairs. Many fire towers are available that sit on terra firma, although they are on top of a mountain. These structures provide unimpeded views of nature as far as the eye can see. At night sit around the campfire and try to count all the stars. For a listing of towers available in the western U.S., visit the site of the Forest Fire Lookout Association.
Hang Out in a Hut
Here’s a novel idea. Why not hike a mile into the woods and stay in a kid friendly bunkhouse complete with a kitchen? In the White Mountains of Hew Hampshire you can do just that. Although pillows and blankets are provided, pack in your own gear a short distance to enjoy a nature experience everyone will enjoy. Lonesome Lake Hut is designed with the family in mind. Guests stay in separate bunkhouses, use a common kitchen, and enjoy special programs designed for the children. Depending on the time of year, food will be provided and meals cooked for you. Visit the site of the Appalachian Mountain Club for more details.
David Bryce is a travel writer who enjoys writing about everything to do with cabins. When he’s not writing, David is often roughhousing with his kids or taking his shepherd Daisy on long hikes.