Cabins, Yurts, and Huts—Tiny Spaces Off the Grid

Sometimes going small is the best way to travel big—especially if that means an overnight in a covered wagon, or a nest in the trees.

216 Okuti Valley Rd, Okuti Valley 7591, New Zealand
A farm-style experience about an hour from Christchurch, Okuti Garden caters to travelers who love to create and play. An art box encourages crafting; “tree circles” are great for yoga and meditation; and a small lake features a boat popular among readers and small children. Bohemian accommodations include yurts, a tepee, a caravan, and a cabin. Each is homespun and handmade, decorated with drawings, wind chimes, and dream catchers left by former guests.

The property is completely off grid, relying on composting toilets, a solar shower, and a gray-water system that recycles wastewater to irrigate the wetlands. One area of the wetlands grows willow rods, which are woven into arches, domes, and tunnels—turning waste into wonders.
71895 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
For such a remote region, Big Sur has more than its share of amazing places to stay. One of the most unique is Treebones Resort, nestled high in the foothills of South Big Sur overlooking the Pacific. The off-the-grid property offers 16 signature yurts as well as oceanfront campsites, a 500-square-foot “autonomous tent,” and the “human nest,” a spherical dwelling woven from tree branches by local artist Jayson Fann. Even nesters have access to the resort’s pool, hot tub, and restaurant, which highlights produce from the on-site organic farm and houses what has to be one of the world’s most scenic sushi bars.
52068 W Fork Rd #38, Dolores, CO 81323, USA
Among the most lauded hotel openings in recent years, Dunton Hot Springs is a glitterati mainstay, with its batch of former mining community cabins that look straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. You don’t have to book a pricey stay at this Relais & Chateaux property to be part of the experience, however—the spa is open to the public. Make an appointment for the indulgent, only-in-Colorado Dolores hot-stone massage, which uses heated stones culled from the Dolores River to work out your kinks. Then, take a soak in the on-site sulfuric hot springs, which were once a restorative playground for the Ute Indians.
El Chaltén, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
The small town of El Chaltén in southern Patagonia has been called the trekking capital of the world due to its proximity to Mt. Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, two of South America’s most rugged peaks. It’s also the jumping-off point to reach Aguas Arriba Lodge, a new six-room mountain cabin in a nature reserve next to Glaciers National Park. From El Chaltén, you follow a gravel road along Las Vueltas river to the emerald green Lago del Desierto, then take a short boat ride across the lake. If you’re more hard-core, put your luggage on the boat and hike three hours through the forest to reach the lodge. This appeared in the June/July 2013 issue.
Whitewater, WI, WI, USA
If these cabins could talk, their stories would reveal tales of prohibition, Polish immigrants, and Latvian priests. Rustic cabins, canvas tents, and a teepee now showcase a jumble of old books, antique lanterns, and the odd chipmunk. Guests can fish, launch a row boat, play shuffleboard, and hike in the surrounding forests. Cabin decks are outfitted with rocking chairs for taking in views of Elkhorn Lake, while the tree house is the perfect place to spend an afternoon absorbed in a book at the lounge (don’t miss the antler chandelier), in the loft bed, or on a hammock outside.

From $200,

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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe