10 Cozy California Cabins Where You Can Escape to Nature

Rent one of these cabins in California located everywhere from the mountains of the High Sierras to the coastal cliffs of Big Sur.

Cabins set in a forest of tall evergreens and surrounded by snow

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite has 50 two-bedroom Explorer Cabins with room for up to six people traveling together.

Courtesy of Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

With nine national parks and a diverse landscape that offers beaches, mountains, and deserts often within a few hour’s drive of each other, California is one of the best states to spend time in nature. But you don’t have to be a camping enthusiast to immerse yourself in the great outdoors. For those who aren’t looking to rough it, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite cabin rentals in California that you can book through Airbnb, a hotel, or a glamping resort. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway for two to Joshua Tree, a family road trip along the coast of Santa Barbara, or a group ski trip to the High Sierras of Northern California, we’ve found a spot for you.

Exterior of two-story log cabin with red door (left); interior of cabin at Destination Hotel Hope Valley, with spiral staircase (right)

The cabins at Destination Hotel Hope Valley underwent renovations in 2020.

Courtesy of Desolation Hotel Hope Valley

Desolation Hotel Hope Valley

Desolation Hotel Hope Valley is a nearly 100-year-old, 165-acre mountain resort that reopened in 2020 after an extensive update. The current incarnation is from the team behind the chic Desolation Hotel Lake Tahoe, expanding their wilderness lodging concept to this outpost in the Sierra Nevadas about a 20-minute drive south of South Lake Tahoe. The Hope Valley property consists of a charming mix of stand-alone, freshly renovated cabins, as well as newly built yurts, a vintage Spartan trailer, and RV and tent campsites. The 28 cabins are outfitted with distinctly cozy and modern Scandinavian decor and full kitchens, and they can sleep between one and eight people depending on the layout. Guests will feel like they’re tucked away in their own quiet corner of the woods, while still having access to Tahoe’s top-notch ski resorts, alpine lakes, drinking and dining.

For food on-property (other than cooking you might do at your cabin or campsite) there’s the on-site restaurant Sorensen’s, which has a sprawling outdoor patio and serves standard American fare like king salmon and burgers alongside refreshing cocktails.

Cabin living room with bright green walls and rainbow rug (left); cedar hot tub looking over forest (right)

Come for the whimsical decor, stay for the cedar hot tub.

Courtesy of Whimsy Homes

Whimsy Homes Tree Castle

About 150 miles northeast of San Francisco in Stanislaus National Forest, the tiny town of Arnold is home to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, which encompasses two groves of giant sequoias. Opened in late 2023, the Whimsy Homes Tree Castle is a bright and colorful Airbnb just a five-minute drive from Arnold’s main drag.

Eschewing typical rustic cabin decor, this maximalist home channels fun retro vibes with elements like ABBA-themed wallpaper, a colorful shag rug, and teal appliances in the kitchen. There’s room for up to nine guests to sleep across two bedrooms, each with a queen bed, plus a loft with a bunk bed and a pull-out sofa. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit: The cedar hot tub perched at the edge of the bottom deck offers unobstructed views of the forest below. And feel free to bring the whole family along—this Airbnb cabin comes with a Guava Travel Crib, safety gate, children’s books, kids’ dinnerware, and a high chair. Dogs are welcome, too.

>> Find more Airbnb cabins to rent in the U.S.

Cabin in Joshua Tree desert with retractable glass wall open to outdoor patio with firepit and two sofas

A retractable glass wall at the Rum Runner Airbnb frames the surrounding high desert like an 8-by-20-foot landscape photo.

Courtesy of Airbnb Community

The Rum Runner Modern Homestead Cabin

Clad in barn wood and artfully rusted metal, this one-bedroom Airbnb opened in 2021 just a 15-minute drive from the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. The experience here is all about the stunning views of the surrounding desert. Inside, local artist Ana Digiallonardo has rendered those vistas into a minimalist mural, while a retractable glass wall in the sun room frames the surrounding high desert like an 8-by-20-foot landscape photo. The designers have paired a luxurious king-size Tuft and Needle bed and Parachute linens with industrial-edged fixtures and a vintage chesterfield couch that you’ll melt into after a long day out on the trails. From the six-person hot tub or the stargazing bed, you can take advantage of the nonexistent light pollution to view the vast swath of the Milky Way, and side-by-side “cowboy tubs” are the perfect place to watch the sunset or spot coyotes and jackrabbits.

>> Find more Joshua Tree Airbnbs to rent for a desert retreat

Exterior of cabin at night (left); interior of cabin bedroom (right), with vertical log walls

The cabins at Constellation Creek are rustic but include creature comforts like Casper mattresses and Egyptian cotton linens.

Courtesy of Constellation Creek

Constellation Creek

In a quiet corner of the Sierra Nevadas just 30 minutes north of Truckee, sits a family-run collection of six cabins called Constellation Creek, which are also available to book on Airbnb. For decades, it was a popular getaway for anglers, but fell into disrepair before owners Georgie and Sebastian took over and began to lovingly restore the property. These days, guests can expect clean, refurbished log cabins with room for two to six guests complete with a kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, and porch. Thoughtful touches like vinyl record players (an homage to the owners’ love of music), local snacks and coffee, and plenty of blankets give the cabins an extra cozy touch.

Limited cell phone service and no TVs in the rooms force guests to disconnect—which is easy to do when you’re surrounded by a peaceful creek and a forest with hammocks and Adirondack chairs hidden throughout. And, as the name suggests, the stars are brilliant here. However, it’s the hospitality that keeps us coming back—whether it’s your first time or fifth, hosts Georgie and Sebastian, along with their daughter, Birdie, and dog, Blue, are likely to greet you like you’re an old friend.

Cabin with small porch in a grove of trees shot from an aerial angle

A cabin at El Capitan Canyon is the perfect place to get outside with the family.

Courtesy of El Capitan Canyon

El Capitan Canyon

An easy getaway just up the coast from Los Angeles, El Capitan Canyon is surrounded by 350 acres of oak and sycamore trees but is no more than a 20-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara. Cedar Cabins, with en suite bathrooms, allow a multigenerational family or group of up to seven to have their own spaces, but still congregate together around a private firepit. Enjoy splashing and playing at nearby El Capitan Beach, feeding the llamas and goats at the on-site farm, and roasting marshmallows come dusk. A swimming pool and live music on summer weekends are added bonuses, while the property’s market store sells everything from wine to barbecue kits.

Two cabins in a forest of trees in the snow, with circle of red wood chaiss around firepit in foreground

The Explorer Cabins at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite are a year-round destination.

Courtesy of Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

In 2019, Tenaya Lodge unveiled the Explorer Cabins, 50 two-bedroom cabins for larger groups of up to six people traveling together. The cabins include a living room with sleeper sofa and fireplace, a partial kitchen (with a fridge, microwave, and sink), and a private deck. Some have bunk beds, and some are pet-friendly as well. The cabins are about a half-mile from the main Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, a 353-room property near Yosemite’s South Gate.

Those staying in the Explorer Cabin complex have access to the main lodge and its restaurant, spa facilities, and both outdoor and indoor pools—the latter being crucial for winter trips. Explorer Cabin guests also have exclusive access to the Explorer Clubhouse, which has a complimentary wine hour at 5 p.m. and doles out s’mores kits between 6 and 9 p.m. every evening. Late night cravings? There’s also a grab-and-go selection of snacks, beer, and other drinks available 24 hours via a scan-and-pay system.

A-frame cabin living room with lit retro orange fireplace and view of distant mountains

The retro fireplace and large living room are ideal for après-ski board game nights after a day on the slopes in Big Bear.

Courtesy of Airbnb Community

The A-Frame Apogee

Arrowbear Lake gets its name from its location approximately halfway between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, both popular year-round getaways for Los Angelenos. This two-bedroom A-frame Airbnb was originally built in 1964 and fully renovated in 2023. It comfortably sleeps up to four guests across two queen beds in a bedroom downstairs and a sleeping loft upstairs. After a day of skiing or hiking, take your pick of relaxing in the five-person Jacuzzi heated to 101 degrees year-round or in front of the 1960s-era Malm gas fireplace in the living room.

Cabin exterior in California woods (left); interior view of white bunkbeds in a hallway leading to main bedroom (right)

The cabins at AutoCamp Yosemite include a queen bed, twin bunk beds, plus a pull-out sofa.

Courtesy of AutoCamp Yosemite/Aaron Leitz

AutoCamp Yosemite

AutoCamp may be best known for its sleek Airstream camper accommodations, but its glamping site located about an hour’s drive from the Yosemite Valley also has three classic pitched-roof pine cabins. Each cabin comes with a porch swing, firepit, grill, and dining table outside. Inside, there’s room for up to five guests to sleep with a memory foam queen bed, twin bunk beds, and a pull-out sofa. Each cabin also comes with a galley-style kitchenette, a bathroom equipped with a walk-in shower, as well as a dining area in the living room. The property has a central clubhouse where guests can get some grub or stock up on supplies for cooking, and there is also a heated pool.

Hilton recently announced a new partnership with AutoCamp that will allow Hilton Honors members to get exclusive member benefits and the chance to earn and redeem points for stays in the coming months.

>> Find more Yosemite lodges that are perfect for families and groups

A row of bikes in the foreground of three white cabins

Flying Flags sits in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley wine country.

Photo by Doug Ellis

Flying Flags

Flying Flags is part RV campground and part glamping resort located in the Santa Ynez Valley wine country about a 45-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara. The resort offers canvas tents and Airstreams, but its one-bedroom cabins and cottages are ideal for groups of up to four to spread out. There are several layouts to choose from; inside most cabins you’ll find a living area, kitchenette, bathroom, a queen-size bed in the bedroom, plus two twin beds located in either a loft or a bunk setup in the hallway.

Enjoy meals at a dining table on the deck; some cabins also have a private firepit. If you can tear the kids away from the on-site swimming pool, stroll the nearby Danish village of Solvang; sample beers at Firestone Walker in Buellton; and don’t miss Full of Life Flatbread for delicious mushroom and caramelized onion pies in quaint Los Alamos, a 20-minute drive away.

>> Find more places to go glamping with kids in the U.S.

Tree house perched on stilts in forest at Post Ranch Inn

The tree houses at Post Ranch Inn are accessible by a short staircase.

Photo by Kodiak Greenwood

Post Ranch Inn

Located along a cliff 1,200 feet above the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, Post Ranch Inn offers the most luxurious cabin rentals in the entire state. In addition to the cliff-side suites, Big Sur architect Mickey Muennig designed the retreat’s tree house cabins, which are fashioned out of recycled wood to blend in with the Santa Lucia Mountains. Perched on stilts nine feet off the ground, each of these stand-alone cabins features a wood-burning fireplace and a large skylight positioned above the king-size bed angled perfectly for stargazing. When you’re not relaxing in your tree house, head to the spa for a reflexology treatment or the nearby forests for a private guided hike or meditation session.

Jessie Beck, Michelle Baran, Nicholas DeRenzo, Kathryn Romeyn, and Tanvi Chheda contributed reporting. This story was originally published in 2022; it was most recently updated with new information on March 29, 2024.

Lyndsey Matthews is the former senior commerce editor at Afar, covering travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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