I have fond childhood memories of summer camp trips with my family. At night, our bonfires included singing, storytelling, and roasting marshmallows under the Milky Way. One summer vacation, it rained and poured for the entire week. My father dug a trench around the family tent to prevent it from flooding. He warned us not to touch the canvas sides, as it was prone to leaking upon contact. At night, we slid our sleeping bags toward the center of the tent. My father strategically placed pots around us to collect water from the leaking roof. We fell asleep to the sounds of raindrops pounding on the tent and to water loudly splashing into the pots, with an occasional rumble of thunder off in the distance. Daily rainfall drove my father and grandfather to string up a creative series of tarps leading to our picnic table. Despite attempts to keep the stacked wood dry, there were no magical campfires that year. But, the rain didn’t stop the fun. As kids we splashed in puddles, caught slippery frogs, and fished in the rain. Midway through, we went to the laundromat to wash away the wet muddy earth that stuck to our clothes. We traded the aroma of pine needles and dirt for the fresh scent of laundry soap. The warmth coming from the dryers was a welcome change from the constant dampness. We huddled close in that small laundromat watching the clothes spin dry. Somehow, that soggy vacation evolved into a warmhearted remembrance.
Camping isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, as my family experienced, the weather can be a challenge. Plus, today, my over-fifty year old body prefers a comfortable bed as opposed to a sleeping bag on the cold, hard ground. But we don’t have to throw away the idea of camping altogether. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to get the “feel” of camping without having to pitch a tent. Renting a country cabin is the perfect solution. Travel to rich forestlands covered in shaded trees. Let clear blue lakes and mountaintop breezes steal you away. Hike in the woods, photograph wildflowers, and search for white tail deer or bald eagles. Take a scenic boat ride on the lake. Cast a fishing rod from the dock to catch a wide-mouth bass. Kick back, sip lemonade, and enjoy peace and tranquility on the shaded front porch as birds sing in the wild. A country cabin get-away is an ideal mid-to-late summer escape or fall destination. Best of all, many cabins feature modern amenities and all of the comforts of home. Enjoy a sampling:
Log Country Cove in Texas – Discover splendid vacation log homes and cabins for rent along the Colorado Arm of Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, near Kingsland, Texas. The lake is ideal for sailing and boating, waterskiing, jet skiing, fishing, swimming and more. Discover newly constructed premier log home rentals smack dab in beautiful Texas Hill Country. Expect all of the modern comforts of home secluded in nature. Bonus features include Jacuzzi tub in master, washer/dryer, fireplace, picnic table, horseshoes, Texas Hold ‘em table and chips, large fire pit, charcoal barbeque pit and more. Additional features include private pools, hot tubs, and quaint cove or stunning waterfront views. The scenic drive around the lake provides the perfect opportunity to photograph wildlife and to take in the beauty of the surrounding hills. www.logcountrycove.com
Black Bear Cabins in Pennsylvania – This secluded retreat is located in beautiful Northwestern Pennsylvania, also called the PA Wilds. Take your choice of one of four cozy, well-appointed cabins which feature wood burning fireplaces, private decks, and outdoor campfire and picnic areas. The cabins are grouped within close distance, making them ideal rentals for gatherings of family and friends. Sit beneath a shady Hemlock to take a break while exploring Cook Forest, a pristine 8,500-acre Pennsylvania state park. Climb boulders along Clear Creek State Park, a great outdoor venue, or kayak on the Clarion River. Take advantage of an abundance of forest hiking and biking trails. Make reservations for dinner at the farm-to-table Gateway Lodge restaurant. While in the area, visit nearby wineries and some of Pennsylvania’s most historic towns, such as beautiful downtown Franklin. Back at the cabins, enjoy an evening campfire under a canopy of stars. www.blackbearcabins.com
Mountain Top Cabin Rentals in Georgia – Surround yourself in the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains in Blue Ridge. Managing a selective group of cabin rentals, the company is expert at matching vacation needs to the best hand-picked cabin rentals in the region. Visitors receive a “Blue Ridge Travel Guide” at check-in. The staff has extensive knowledge of the region and can tell you where to find the best hiking trails, hidden streams, prettiest lakes and secret waterfalls. Before selecting a cabin, read the rental cabin testimonials and reviews to enjoy details and descriptions from previous guests. Many of the cabins are described as peaceful and quiet, with varying views of creeks, mountains, and sunsets over the ridge. Some are pet-friendly, ideal for those wishing to treat man’s best friend to an adventurous vacation. There’s plenty to do in the area, from tubing to zip-lining. Take a daytrip to visit Amicalola Falls State Park, whose name means “tumbling waters.” The park features an amazing abundance of 729 breathtaking waterfalls to behold. www.mountaintopcabinrentals.com
Ampersand Bay Resort in New York – Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate NY sits Ampersand Bay Resort. This three-season resort offers tranquility and adventure in a pristine environment. Take your choice of hand-hewn stand-alone cedar log cabins, luxury lakefront townhomes, or rustic lake view cottages. Enjoy a North Country stay in a relaxing guest room with full kitchen facilities and featuring classic Adirondack style furnishings, antiques and artwork. Read a favorite novel from a lounge chair on the large sandy beach. Partake in water activities on the shores of Lower Saranac Lake. Swim and take advantage of the complimentary canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and pedal boats. Guests are welcome to bring their own boats which may be launched on-site, or rent a pontoon or fishing boat to explore and fish the waters of the island dotted lake. Picnic on the lakefront gazebo, fish straight from the docks, or relax on the sunset deck to listen for the mournful wails of a lonely loon in search of his mate. At night, gather around the campfire for storytelling and marshmallow roasting. www.ampersandbay.com
Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort in Maine – Create memories in western Maine’s mecca for whitewater rafting and wilderness activity. The Forks, Maine, is home to Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort and consists of a main lodge, a full-service restaurant, and the Kennebec River Brewery. Take a trip of a lifetime where hiking, rafting trips, and guided fishing excursions along the Kennebec and Dead River add daily excitement. Adventure out aboard an ATV for an exhilarating ride outdoors. The resort offers many types of accommodations. Rent a cozy log cabin perfect for couples or small families in search of a quiet hideaway. Nestled amongst tall pines, they feature private porches and comfy interiors. Club cabins offer deluxe accommodations and are equipped with Jacuzzi tubs. “Logdominiums” are log condominiums which can accommodate up to six people. Resort rooms are available on the second floor of the lodge and place guests in the heart of the indoor activities. North Woods Cabins are natural log cabins located along Martin Pond, featuring an undeveloped shoreline. Each cabin has a cathedral ceiling and a spacious outdoor deck ideal for a larger family. The lodge also boasts a pool, hot tub and game room for its guests. www.northernoutdoors.com
Black Bear Ridge Resort in Tennessee – Black Bear Ridge resort features an exclusive log cabin rental community in the Great Smoky Mountains, only minutes from the Pigeon Forge Parkway. This top-notch resort’s location provides easy access to attractions such as Dollywood, the theme park owned by entertainer Dolly Parton. The resort features luxury and premier custom built log homes which are beautifully decorated. They offer everything from one-bedroom honeymoon log cabins to spacious eight-bedroom lodges which sleep up to twenty guests. Many of the log homes are equipped with hot tubs, pool tables, and large and spacious decks with scenic views overlooking the mountains. The interiors have beautiful woodwork, comfortable furniture, large stone fireplaces, updated appliances, large screen televisions and more. Venture into the town of Gatlinburg, the gateway to the 520,000-acre Great Smoky Mountain National Park featuring key attractions and offering splendid views of the neighboring park and 407-ft. Space Needle observation tower and Sky Lift, an aerial cable car connecting Downtown to Ober Gatlinburg, a popular amusement park and ski resort. www.blackbearridgeresort.com
Elkins Resort in Idaho – This mountain getaway rests along the sandy shores of Priest Lake, sweetly tucked into the Selkirk Mountain Range of the Idaho panhandle. The area features rich forests, crystal lakes, pristine waterfalls, and mountains with towering granite peaks. Celebrate the fresh mountain air and views with family and friends. Lodge in one of twenty-eight fully equipped cabins. Choose a cozy creek side cabin with rustic appeal and a fully equipped kitchen and fireplace. Or, retreat to a cedar log cabin with stunning lake views. Wake early to greet the morning sun as it rises over the lake. Later, at evening time, take in beautiful, unobstructed sunset views. Of course, you’ll want to spend sunny days on the lake. Elkins Resort features a boat launch and marina with over 60 boat slips. Fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, jet skiing, swimming, golfing, beach volleyball, hiking, and mountain biking are some of the many activities to enjoy in the summertime. Be sure to relax in a lawn chair by the lake, to peacefully fully appreciate the post-card worthy views. www.elkinsresort.com
5 cabin rental tips:
- Do your homework. Get referrals, read online reviews, and view photographs of your destination before booking any travel vacation. Always check multiple sources to gain knowledge of a rental.
- Understand the vocabulary. Know the exact definition of “rustic” and “secluded” as they may vary. “Rustic” could mean that it’s plain and simple, or it could indicate that there is no electric or running water. “Secluded” could mean offering some privacy, or it can indicate that the cabin is isolated from civilization.
- Become familiar with the region. Understand how far your ride is to the nearest town. Find out what activities are nearby so that you may tailor your vacation to your liking. If you plan to boat or fish, check out whether you’ll need any special licensing to do so.
- Know the terms of agreement. There’s nothing worse than getting billed extra for something you assumed was included. Some places require a deposit which they’ll hold and return, assuming there is no damage done to the property. Know that you’re renting from someone reliable who will not withhold your deposit after your stay. While it’s possible to rent directly from an owner, there may be more comfort going through a reliable agency which rents multiple cottages and can help you troubleshoot problems which might arise.
- Pay attention to interior amenities. Write down all of your questions and get the answers before booking. Examples: Are the numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms adequate? Are sheets provided? Is the kitchen fully equipped? Is there a dishwasher or washer and dryer? Is there a television? Are lifejackets provided? Etc.