Some of the most popular vacations during the pandemic have been cozy cabin stays in the wilderness. These rural-style vacations have been popular due to their relative safety compared to other vacation options, with guests able to socially distance while they take advantage of outdoor activities like hiking, bonfires, swimming, and more. Digital marketing site Build Up reported the travel site HomeAway found a 55% growth in barn bookings and a 30% increase in treehouse bookings in 2020—but a tiny cabin stay is very different from a house by the lake.
Last fall we helped you plan a cabin vacation, but how much would an outdoor getaway really cost you? Here’s some info to help budget your next cabin or camping getaway.
Choose the type of stay for your budget
Depending on the type of rustic getaway you’re looking for, the costs can vary. If you’re leaning closer to camping then those costs can run fairly cheap, but tiny cabins can cost the same as a hotel, and glamping can run you a luxury stay price.
Campsites and state park cabins
If you’re looking for a barebones camping or cabin-style stay where you’re vulnerable to the elements, you can expect a trip to cost you anywhere from $36 a night to $90 a night, but you’ll also need to budget in toiletries, linens, utensils, and sometimes fees for gas or propane hookups. For example, a small cabin or yurt in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, CO will cost you $90 a night with a two-night minimum. These cabins come with electricity and a bathroom, but other items such as linens, utensils, and cooking supplies are not included.
For a mid-level experience—one with all the comforts of indoor cooking and a bed with linens—you should expect to spend about $119-$149 a night. You can find cabins styled like hobbit homes or mid-size cabins for a bit more traditional feel.
Finding a tiny cabin on Airbnb or Getaway can offer a more glamping-style stay that resembles more of a hotel than a barebones cabin, and they typically come with provided linens, toiletries, and some kitchen supplies. You still need to bring your own food or sign up for grocery delivery with the host, but these style cabins can cost you anywhere from around $100 a night to $240 a night.
Tiny homes are an innovative way to live minimally without much damage to the environment, and Getaway offers small, remote cabin rentals outside of many major cities. The prices vary based on location and season though—for example, after searching getaways in Atlanta I found prices for $119 during the weekday and $149 for the weekend, but a getaway in Washington D.C. was considerably more expensive, with a minimum of $169 a night on weekdays and getting as high as $229 in June.
You won’t have to budget for toilet paper or your own bedsheets, but you’ll want to budget based on location. Getaway is only available in select locations, so options are limited.
If you’re looking for a high-class glamping trip with sleek, modern amenities—maybe even a hot tub or pool—it can cost you a wide range: anywhere from $260-$770 a night.
For more amenities at campgrounds like Golden Gate Canyon State Park, you can rent the Harmsen Ranch Guest House for $270 a night as opposed to the normal $90 a night for the average barebones cabin. The guest house comes with a full kitchen, multiple bathrooms, and sleeps eight people in four double-size beds. On the higher end, the site Glamping.com shows stays in Wyoming starting at $800 a night. The more comforts, the more the costs.
Decide the best locale for your budget
Some places are in high demand for rustic stays, and their prices will match accordingly. For example, you can expect anything on the water will cost you more than a comparable cabin in a remote forest. At Redfish Lake in Idaho, for example, the designated Lake Cabin costs $559-$767 per night, while other cabins located further back in the trees cost $259-$308.
For the cheapest wilderness vacation, your best bet is reserving campground space or a rustic cabin with your local state park. If you’re looking for luxury amenities and prime locations (but still in nature), budget for premium hotel-like prices. Anything in between you can get a tiny cabin or Airbnb for that romantic woodsy getaway for a more affordable price.