The Best Places in California to Get Cabin Cozy
It’s officially cuddle season.
While most of us might favor summer months to get our camp on, we can’t help get excited about the prospect of a cool November night cuddled up in a cabin in the middle of nature. If you’re like us and want an off-season weekender in the great California outdoors, check out this list of amazing cabin getaways offered by Sunset. Here are a few of our favorites:
Far Meadow, Sierra National Forest, CA
“Yosemite may be only 12 miles away, but Far Meadow’s Base Camp, in some ways, trumps the iconic park. No valley floor swarmed with bus tours or crowded cafeterias—just you, your friends, and family tucked into a 750-square-foot pine cabin, with 5 glorious High Sierra acres all to yourselves. The Base Camp cabin—undamaged by the infamous Rim Fire, which actually stopped 100 miles north—was remodeled in 2013, with the addition of a second bedroom and French doors that open onto the deck. In autumn, you’ll find the kind of Technicolor fall foliage that’ll make you think you’ve landed in New England. A bit farther east, above Bass Lake (and the snow line), Far Meadow maintains five additional properties in the Sierra National Forest: There’s an A-frame alongside a log cabin, two outfitted trailers, and another, older A-frame. From late May to November, you can swim, fish, and hike your heart out. After that, these five solar-powered accommodations remain open, but getting there gets more complicated. In winter, after the road closes, they’re accessible only by snowmobile or snowcat, and guides will take only the adventurous in—to cross-country ski, snowshoe, make snow angels—with a friendly reminder to stay safe. As manager Kris Roni puts it, ‘This is the High Sierra, and we are, always, at the whims of nature.’”
Glen Oaks Big Sur, Big Sur, CA
“Let the luxury hotels on Big Sur’s dramatic coast have all the glory—in-the-know Highway 1 travelers would rather keep Glen Oaks all to themselves. The main lodge has 16 rooms, but it’s the eight renovated cabins and two cottages along the burbling Big Sur River that are the most coveted. None more so than the Big Sur Cabin, with its private patio, outdoor firepit, and twin side-by-side clawfoot tubs, set up for soaking under the stars. (In fact, according to Glen Oaks’s manager, they’ve already poached a few guests from high-end Ventana and Post Ranch Inn who’ve realized they can spa and sup there—but save a load by bunking at Glen Oaks instead.) What this 1957 motor lodge turned eco-mod retreat lacks in sparkling ocean views, it makes up for with the kind of rare, woodsy quiet that comes only from snuggling under a Pendleton wool blanket by the crackling fire, beneath ancient, soaring redwood trees. (That includes the 500-year-old, 12-foot-wide, 100-plus-foot-tall Grandmother Pfeiffer Redwood, the second-largest in all of Big Sur.) The cabins’ radiant-heat floors, cast-iron stoves, and ready-to-go s’mores make it a little too easy to hunker down instead of hike. The Big Sur Roadhouse restaurant is just steps away too, which means you can dine on grass-fed steak and stumble back to your bed instead of cooking in your (sparse albeit cute) kitchenette.”
Steep Ravine Cabins, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley, CA
“Location, location, location. The cabins are bare bones, sans water or electricity, but they’re perched on the edge of the world, overlooking the Pacific, just a stone’s throw from postcard-ready Stinson Beach.
What’s out the door: Whales, waves, sunsets—the Pacific Coast dream. Hiking through the 6,300 acres of surrounding redwood groves. San Francisco is just a 15-minute drive south.
Who will love it: Adventurous types on the ball enough to actually score a reservation. (We recommend calling seven months out—or you can sometimes score last-minute rentals via a lottery; call 415/388-2070 for details.)
9 one-bedroom cabins; $$; closed for regular maintenance Oct 1–31; hipcamp.com.
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