11 Cozy California Cabins Where You Can Escape to Nature

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

Wylder Hope Valley

The cabins at Wylder Hope Valley are set among a grove of aspen trees.

Courtesy of Airbnb

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 11 of our favorite cabin rentals in California you can book through Airbnb, a hotel, or a glamping resort. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway for two to the High Sierras of Northern California, a family road trip along the coast of Santa Barbara, or a group ski trip to Big Bear, we’ve found a spot for you.

Constellation Creek Cabins

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 seven 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.

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The cabins at Wylder underwent renovations in 2020.

Photo by Ren Fuller

Wylder Hope Valley

Wylder Hope Valley is a nearly 100-year-old, 165-acre mountain resort that reopened in summer 2020 after an extensive update. Located in the Sierra Nevadas about a 20-minute drive south of South Lake Tahoe, the property consists of a unique and charming mix of stand-alone, freshly renovated cabins, as well as newly built yurts, a vintage Spartan trailer, and RV and tent campsites. The 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.

All dining (other than cooking you might do at your cabin or campsite, or during short trips to Tahoe) happens at Wylder’s in-house restaurant Sorensen’s, which has a sprawling outdoor patio and serves standard American fare like king salmon and grilled New York steak alongside refreshing cocktails.

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

Courtesy of Tenaya 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.

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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 offers 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.

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

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 sheep 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.

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 cabins 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 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.

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The Jackrabbit Cabin comfortably sleeps two people in a studio-style setup.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Jackrabbit Cabin

Cowboy meets Coachella in this tiny, brick-red Airbnb Plus cabin, which had no electricity or running water until very recently but now feels more like a smartly designed studio apartment for two. The kitchenette half of the space features rustic wood cabinetry and a compact dining area, while the bedroom includes cute touches like a moon-phase art piece strung over the bed and paintings of jackrabbits by artist Karine M. Swenson. On the porch, you’ll find a triangle so you can make like a homesteader and holler for your friend or S.O. to head in for supper. From here, on the south side of town, you’re not far from the Desert View Conservation Area, considered one of the area’s best habitats for desert tortoises.

10 Airbnbs in Joshua Tree to Book for a Desert Retreat

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

The Rum Runner Modern Homestead Cabin

Clad in barn wood and artfully rusted metal, this one-bedroom retreat 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 that will have you running for her website to buy a print, 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 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

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The stone fireplace and large living room are ideal for après-ski board game nights in Big Bear.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Big Bear Treehouse Cabin

About 100 miles directly east of downtown Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake (and the surrounding National Forest land) is a popular year-round getaway for Angelenos. This two-bedroom Airbnb cabin that sleeps up to five guests is only 200 feet from the closest trailhead, making it an ideal spot for those who prefer their posthike relaxation to take place underneath a rain shower or in front of a large stone fireplace rather than in a tent.

19 Cozy Airbnb Cabins Where You Can Escape From the World

Downtown Palm Springs is a 20-minute drive from the Wildflower Cabin, a cozy log cabin in the California desert.

Courtesy of Airbnb/Thunder Bird Production

The Wildflower Airbnb Cabin

Built from hand-carved cedar logs, the Wildflower Cabin is located in the desert only a 20-minute drive from downtown Palm Springs and 45 minutes from Joshua Tree National Park. But you’ll feel worlds away from everyone else at this Airbnb for two, whether you’re cozied up in the sleeping loft outfitted with a king-size bed or stargazing from the hot tub on the deck outside.

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

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

Photo by Kodiak Greenwood

Post Ranch Inn

This hotel high on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur offers the most luxurious cabin rentals in the entire state. In addition to its cliff-side suites, Post Ranch Inn also has a collection of tree house cabins that shouldn’t be overlooked. 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.

Jessie Beck, Michelle Baran, Nicholas DeRenzo, and Tanvi Chheda contributed reporting.

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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