Vacation Cabins

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  • We are hoping that by the end of June that there will be enough good signs of COVID control that it will enable more lessening of restrictions on travel. Our extended family of about 17 people and 2 dogs would love to find some cabins to rent that would allow us to continue to appropriately distance but be set up in a way where we could congregate outdoors safely. Ideally this would be near water, or in a forest, or both. Does anyone know of a place within a 5-6 hour car trip that might be appropriate? Thank you for any suggestions. 

    We used Rivers Bend in Philo for our wedding guests.  They have mutliple cabins and houses.  It's in a beautiful location on the river, and very near Hendy Woods (redwood forest)

    Drive is about 2.5 hours from Berkeley

    Good luck

    Ripplewood near Big Sur might meet your needs. Normally they’d be booked way out, but these are not normal times. Good luck!

    Check out Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe, they have lots of cabins right by the lake, and it’s beautiful.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

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Cabin camping with toddlers

April 2010

Our family has 2.5 to 4 year olds and would like to find a place with a stream or lake, easy hiking and has cabins. We notice they love playing by streams pretending to fish or play with water/rocks. We are not ready for the full blown tent camping and prefer to have a 'roof' over our heads. Somewhere within 2 hrs of Bay Area is probably our maximum driving tolerance. Thanks for your recommendations in advance! We look forward to introducing the little monkeys to the great outdoors.

I don't have a specific place to offer you, but look for cabins up near the Russian River or Feather River, both very nice areas. Check reviews on Trip Advisor on line. There also might be something near the Samuel P. Taylor park, which has camping, but again, is a nice area with streams. kl
I recommend the Russian River. It is only a couple of hours from the Bay Area (depending on where you live). We have used Weekender

Looking for a great summer Cabin to rent

Apr 2009

Hi, We'd like to rent a cabin(s) in California; somewhere around or between Los Angeles and the Bay Area. We would like the cabin to be near a lake or the beach for swimming also near hiking trails. This would be for my family of 5 (2 adults and 3 children) plus my sister's family of 4. It needs to be economical and have a kitchen. Thank you. Kathleen

Try looking on for cabin rentals. Nice places with lakes/ beaches mid-state include San Luis Obispo, Yosemite, Lassen N.P, Kings Canyon N.P. Closer to bay area: Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Capitola. Sierra area/foothills: Tahoe, Pinecrest. Closer to Los Angeles: San Diego, Lake Arrowhead, Hermosa Beach. Myst
We've enjoyed staying in this cabin in South Lake Tahoe. It's not super fancy, but what's great is that the land across the street is not developed and has amazing hiking, wildflower picking and exploring just outside your door. There are two bedrooms and a bathroom downstairs and upstairs, so it's a great set up for a family or to share with two families. Cynthia

Cabin for family vacation

March 2009

I am picturing the perfect family vacation, and need your help to find the perfect spot ..... We have two kids, age 5 and 3, whom we would like to take onto a vacation somewhere ''out in nature'' in June or July. My idea is they would step out the door in the morning, smelling the aromatic forest air, and then days filled with play and exploration ... A lake would be nice, but is not a must. For my own comfort, I would prefer a cabin with private bathroom. It should be possible to prepare simple meals. Can you recommend a place within a 4 hour drive from the Bay area? It would be great if I could get recommendations for a specific cabin. Thank you! Heike

You might really like the area around Pinecrest, Ca. Depending on traffic, it is a 2.5-4 hours drive from the East Bay (skip going on a Friday night; any morning is generally pretty fast). If you find a cabin in Pinecrest itself, there is a beautiful lake right there. If you find one in Strawberry, you are very close to a beautiful river and about 1.5 miles from the lake. Here is a website for a local realtor who also manages cabin rentals: or you can try a regular Pinecrest visitor
Check out Pine Mountain Lake, near Groveland, off Hwy 120. There are lots of rentals there (see as a start). There is a great lake, it is 2 1/2 hours from Oakland/Berkeley and best of all 1/2 hour to west gate of Yosemite. Cabins are available both on and off the lake and there is a pool too. Our boys have spent many hours playing at the lake. Another place to try is Evergreen Lodge - very close to Hetch Hetchy (www.evergreen lodge). Also google ''Foresta'' for cabin rentals which are privately owned in the burg of Foresta which is actually in Yosemite. No lake there but beautiful surroundings. Have fun

Vacation cabin for broke young families

Feb 2009

A good friend and I both have had babies in the past year and want to get together with our hubbies and babies(she lives on the East Coast)and were thinking of trying for a cabin somewhere nice during the month of May. We are 2 struggling young families and can't afford Tahoe prices (at least what I imagine Tahoe prices to be). Any ideas? Thanks! Carmen

Try Camp Richardson at South Lake Tahoe, It's a rustic old resort right on the Lake with cabins with kitchens, you can share the expense with your friend. The lodging, and the not eating out, makes for a very reasonably priced vacation. Rachel
A really nice ''cabin'' experience is the hostel at Pidgeon Point Lighthouse near Half Moon Bay. There are three houses right on the cliffs above the ocean that used to be Coast Guard housing for the lighthouse staff, and now they are hostels. Very cheap. When my kids were younger, we organized a group of families and reserved an entire house - I think it is 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, comfy living room and an equipped kitchen. The coast is beautiful, there is a hottub overlooking the ocean, tidepools, lighthouse and the nearby elephant seal reserve. There are other family friendly hostels all over California - google for them! Ginger
Have you ever considered a house exchange? We do them frequently and love the results. If you are interested in Park City, UT, then drop me a line. I would consider East or West coast...Our home can easily accommodate two families. It would have to be during school vacation (not May, sorry). Jan

Remote rental cabin for jam sessions

April 2006

Can anyone suggest a rental cabin that doesn't have lots of neighbors nearby? I play in a ''Dad's band'', and we thought it would be fun to plan a weekend away where we could all bring our instruments and enjoy some good long jam sessions. But we don't want to ruin someone else's peace and quiet. And just so the potential landlords don't worry, we're not planning a nonstop, substance-infused bacchanalia. We're too old and respectable for that now -- regrettably! ;) Thanks! Jeff

Sound Waves Studios on the Emeryville/Oakland border is where we play ( a buncha 40-plus rock wannabees). It's better than a garage or cabin, because it's heated, lighted, and designed for playing; there are always great musicians running around (so the vibe is good), and you can reserve by the hour or by the week, or however you want to do it. Oh, and it's cheaper that renting a cabin. Also, if you do want to do a recording, they have fancier digs where you can rent quieter space. Alan Lucchesi is the proprietor, and he's a great guy. Check them out. -- TA

Inexpensive local vacation cabin?

Aug 2005

I've read the recommendations in the archives but can't seem to find anywhere to take a short vacation that isn't $200 a night! Everything in CA seems so outrageously priced -- Just looking for a small cabin to rent just about anywhere within a 5 hour drive from the East Bay. Any suggestions? I can't even find a hotel in the Bay area for under $90 a night (and that's for a hotel at the Oakland airport -- not too romantic or family)
frustrated with CA cost

We rented this cabin near Auburn, CA:

She has raised her rates to $99 per night but the weekly rate is now $825. It's hard to find something cheaper, but you can cook your own meals to save money and nothing around there is expensive. The cabin was rustic (no dishwasher) and somewhat remote. But, had a great deck (felt like a treehouse), and a nice fireplace. The lake was small but nice but way too cold for my taste (my husband and sister-in-law had no problem swimming in it). It was about a 2 hour drive from Oakland. I have good luck with cyberrentals. The places was small, but great for a family of four. We had my husband, my sil and me and two friends came over for one night from Oakland (sat to sunday). The owner might be willing to negotiate a lower rate. mizlandry

We like Ripplewood in Big Sur -- private cabins, reasonably priced ($75 - $135), in a nice setting. No frills but there is maid service, real bathrooms, towels, all that stuff. They have a couple that are good for families of 4-5, and most have kitchens. If you go to the Monterey Aquarium on the way, you can pick up some food at the grocery a few blocks up before you leave for Big Sur (which is expensive, especially for dinner)! At Ripplewood, there is a little restaurant across the street that is good for breakfast, though. Go hang out at Point Lobos the next day. Great mini-vacation.
May I recomend Kennedy Meadows Resort and Pack Station located 60 miles north of Sonora on Hwy 108 in the Sierras? My husband and I have been going there for years for his family reunion each summer and my son has gone since he was 6 months old. Do not let the name fool you. If you expect Resort style ammenities as the name might imply, you will be disapointed. The lodging is rustic cabins with kitchenettes, comfy beds and individual bathrooms in each cabin. There is a fire pit and picnic table outside each cabin. The cabins have electricity until the generator is turned off (usually 11pm during the week and 2pm on weekends) so flashlights are needed and the kitchenettes are sparsly furnished so be sure to bring items you can't live without as well as groceries as the general store can be pricey. The cabin we rent sleeps 4 and costs around $70/night + tax. Within a short walk there is a restaurant, general store, quaint saloon, horseback rides (recomended for children aged 8 or older), the north fork of the Stanislaw river from which trout are usually plentiful and of course the meadow. Bodie, Mono Lake, Sonora, Pinecrest, Columbia are some places you can go for a day trip. Laura
Hi, we own a cabin in the Sierra Nevada too near Calaveras Big Trees State Park, in a town called Dorrington. Our cabin sleeps 6-8 and weekly rates are available. There is a private lake for swimming within walking distance and lots of other things to do (hiking, caving, wine tasting) in the summer and we are about 1/2 hours drive from Bear Valley Ski Resort. Please email me for more info. amelliott21[at]

Cheap cabin to rent for a week

May 2005

My summer plans are not fancy, just work and camp for kids. But I would like to take them on a simple, relaxing week away. I'm looking for a cheap cabin/house to rent for a week, probably from July 5th-9th to avoid 4th of July chaos. It doesn\x92t need to be big, we have sleeping bags and know how to use them. Can be anywhere in California though closer is better. It doesn't need to be in the most picturesque place, but must be near water: beach (but probably too expensive), river, or pool, where the kids can spend many hours of kid happiness in water and mom can spend many hours reading a book. Simple hikes, bike rides, and other outdoor adventure a plus. Does this place exist?

Check out Then click on vacation rentals. This will link you to realtors who handle vacation rentals. This is a nice size lake 2 1/2 hours from the inner East Bay and 1/2 hour from the west gate to Yosemite. It is near the town of Groveland. It is a private development with homes on the lake and other homes with lake priveleges. There are many rentals and they range (depending on size and location) from $125/night and up. We stay there, not on the lake, and take the short (less than 10 minutes) to the lake and hang out all day. Except for holiday weekends, it is uncrowded. The main beach has a grassy sloping lawn with shade trees and a nice sandy beach. There is a snack counter. We set up our chairs at the edge of the sand then let our kids play in the sand/water for hours. It is very like a midwestern lake. It is big enough for waterskiing but we have rarely been disturbed by motor noise.

If you want to go to Yosemite, in July I would skip the valley and head to the high country - take Tioga Road off 120 between Groveland and the valley. Lake Tenaya is an alpine lake, crystal clear and cool. Great place to spend the day.

Have fun! anon