There’s no doubt about it; California is one of the most iconic American states – and for a good reason. You’ll find everything from golden beaches to buzzing cities, desert oases, ski resorts, mountains and deserts, and everything in between.
You will find just about every type of accommodation in California, but with so much natural beauty to explore, the best place to stay is right in the thick of it. For nature lovers, there’s no closer connection to the wild than staying in a cabin in California.
As you might expect from the glitzy state, staying in a cabin in California means staying in luxury. Think roaring open fireplaces, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and the best rural locations by lakes, rivers and mountains. It might be the perfect setting for your next getaway.
The only problem? There are so many cabins that it can be challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff. So, I’ve put together a list of the ten best cabins in California to make planning where to stay a bit easier!
In a Hurry? Here’s Where to Stay in California for One Night
3 Bed Designer Cabin in Forest
Hidden in the woods by Lake Arrowhead, this A-frame cabin is a beautifully designed space for a peaceful retreat. It has three bedrooms, a full kitchen, and a deck where you can enjoy a BBQ outdoors.
- Lake Arrowhead Village
- Blue Jay Cinema
- Grass Valley Lake
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Staying in a Cabin in California
California has one of the most diverse landscapes of any US state. You could visit the best beaches in Cali and catch the waves, or head inland to escape reality in the desert. People visit in winter for the fantastic ski resorts, and in the summer, the forests, lakes, and rivers are swarming with outdoor adventurers.
Traditionally, cabins are small rural homes built from timber. When you hear the word cabin, you might think of a cozy wooden home with a fireplace, dusted with snow. While these properties are common in mountainous areas, there are many different types of cabins to explore in California.
Cabins are super common across small-town America, and you’ll find loads of cabins in ski resorts and small lakeside villages. Countryside and beach cabins are also popular. On that note, you won’t find many (or any) cabins in big cities. They truly are for an escape from the city and in amongst nature.
What to Look for in a Cabin in California
Generally speaking, when you rent out a cabin, you’ll be renting out an entire property. The good news is they come with all the amenities from home, such as a kitchen, living area, bathrooms, and bedrooms. However, depending on your budget you might get a small kitchenette or a huge chef’s kitchen, or no kitchen at all. Since cabins are remote, a kitchen is essential.
Make sure the cabin has working electricity and running water since some off-grid properties can have problems with these basic essentials. You’ll also want to check that there is sufficient cell service and that internet is available (if that’s a deal breaker for you).
You should also make sure that the cabin has parking, as they are rarely in locations accessible by public transport. If you do opt for somewhere remote, make sure the road is accessible with a standard car and doesn’t need a 4×4. This is especially important before you rent a car for your epic Cali road trip.
While traditional cabins were an ode to this ‘simpler life,’ these days, many of the best cabins in California are equivalent to modern-day mansions with multiple bedrooms, entertainment spaces, games rooms, and even cinemas. These opulent properties are ideal for large groups of friends and families, offering a ton of space to enjoy each other’s company.
If you want to have a truly memorable stay, look for a cabin with hot tubs, barbeques, and firepits. You should also look for somewhere with a deck or balcony, so you can have gorgeous views and a place to relax under the night’s sky after a day of adventuring.
You’ll find most cabins on Airbnb in California, as cabins tend to be rented out as entire rental homes.
3 Bed Designer Cabin in Forest
- > $$
- > 6 Guests
- > Near Blue Jay Village in Lake Arrowhead
- > Bright and spacious modern interiors
Restored Vintage Studio Cabin with Yard
- > $
- > 3 Guests
- > In Topanga State Park
- > Stone fireplace, original stain-glass windows
Desert Cabin with Dipping Pool
- > $$$$
- > 2 Guests
- > Close to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs in Whitewater
- > Spacious deck with dipping pool and panoramic views
Mountain Cabin near Ski Resorts
- > $$$
- > 10 Guests
- > In Truckee
- > Open-plan living area, library, and BBQ deck
Luxurious 5 Bed Mountain Cabin
- > $$$$
- > 12 Guests
- > A short walk to Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City
- > Barbeque deck with views of the lake
Spacious Cabin with Lake Views
- > $$$
- > 12 Guests
- > On the banks of the water in Boulder Bay on Big Bear Lake
- > Open plan kitchen, living and entertainment area
Tiny House Cabin with Hot Tub
- > $$
- > 2 Guests
- > Secluded location in Oakhurst
- > A cozy deck with a hot tub and firepit
The 10 Best Cabins in California
With such a diverse landscape, California is home to lakeside cabins, mountain cabins near the best hiking trails, and desert cabins. Whatever your idea of the perfect escape, I have no doubt you will find a cabin in this state to suit your desires (and budget).
Best Overall Value Cabin in California – 3 Bed Designer Cabin in Forest
- 6 Guests
- Near Blue Jay Village in Lake Arrowhead
- Bright and spacious modern interiors
If your dream destination is a classic cabin in the woods, you’ve hit the jackpot. This cozy A-frame cabin in California’s Lake Arrowhead region is a modern build and has been impeccably decorated.
The cabin’s minimalistic style blends contemporary interiors with warm wooden features. There are three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, suitable for six guests. However, this spot is also super affordable, so if you’re traveling alone or as two, you could just enjoy the extra space.
There’s a spacious deck with a grill for when the weather allows and a cozy fireplace in the living room for the chilly evenings.
Best Budget Cabin in California – Restored Vintage Studio Cabin with Yard
- 3 Guests
- In Topanga State Park
- Stone fireplace, original stain-glass windows
Cali is expensive. However, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a beautiful cabin in California. This vintage spot in Topanga State Park has been recently restored with contemporary interiors and modern amenities. With a stone fireplace and original pine paneling, it has a vintage charm to it, yet doesn’t skimp on modern amenities.
With vaulted ceilings and lots of glass windows, the studio cabin feels super spacious. The kitchen features a gas stove and new appliances, and there is a cozy dining nook where you can enjoy home-cooked meals.
Budget Tip: Dorms in California start from $10USD per bed. They’re the cheapest accommodation in the city. Search for hostels in the area!
Best Cabin for Couples in California – Desert Cabin with Dipping Pool
- 2 Guests
- Close to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs in Whitewater
- Spacious deck with dipping pool and panoramic views
This cabin looks like it fell straight out of a travel magazine. Set against a remote desert backdrop near the famous Joshua Tree and Palm Springs, the one-bedroom cabin is the perfect location for a romantic getaway.
Built entirely from timber, it features a cozy living area, bathroom with a roll-top tub, and bedroom with a four-poster bed. Step outside onto a private deck, which has a dipping Jacuzzi and a firepit overlooking exquisite mountain views.
Best Cabin for a Group of Friends – Mountain Cabin near Ski Resorts
- 10 Guests
- In Truckee, near the main street, ski resorts, and Lake Tahoe
- Open-plan living area, library, and BBQ deck
Surrounded by ski resorts in the historical village of Truckee, this is without a doubt one of the best cabins in California for a group of friends. Whether you visit in winter or summer, you’ll be close to Lake Tahoe and its ski resorts.
The cabin is super spacious, with double-height ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass windows letting natural light flow through the space. It has a full kitchen and dining space for eight guests. There are numerous seating areas, including a library and a loft space.
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Over-The-Top Luxury Cabin in California – Luxurious 5 Bed Mountain Cabin
- 12 Guests
- A short walk to Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City
- Barbeque deck with views of the lake
Located in the heart of North Lake Tahoe in Tahoe City, this five-bedroom cabin is built using natural timber and features alpine-inspired interiors.
The grand living room is super impressive. With vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace, and huge glass doors opening out onto a BBQ deck, this is the perfect place to entertain some guests.
Some suites feature their own gas fireplaces and balconies, and most rooms have stunning mountain views. The fifth bedroom can be made into a home office – ideal for digital nomads.
Best Cabin in California for Families – Spacious Cabin with Lake Views
- 12 Guests
- On the banks of the water in Boulder Bay on Big Bear Lake
- Open plan kitchen, living and entertainment area
Spending some time in one of the best cabins in California is an excellent idea for a family vacation. This three-bedroom cabin is positioned on Big Bear Lake, which is a great destination for summer lake activities and winter mountain adventures.
The cabin features traditional timber interiors, from the walls to the ceiling beams to the floors. It’s fitted with rustic furnishings, including leather couches, patchwork linen, and wooden furniture. Ideal for families, this spot has a kid-friendly room with two bunk beds, as well as washer/dryer facilities.
Best Cabin in California for Backpackers – Tiny House Cabin with Hot Tub
- 2 Guests
- Secluded location in Oakhurst, near Yosemite entrance
- A cozy deck with a hot tub and firepit
If you’re traveling light on a backpacking adventure through America’s most incredible national parks, you can’t go wrong with this spot just outside Yosemite National Park. Although it doesn’t have a social vibe, its stunning views and affordable price will compensate for it.
The cabin is set in a secluded location overlooking gorgeous views. The interior is small and cozy yet has everything you need to prepare a home-cooked meal and get a good night’s sleep. There’s even an outdoor deck with BBQ facilities, a fire pit, and a hot tub.
Best Off-Grid Cabin in California – Contemporary Cabin in the Desert
- 3 Guests
- In the Temecula Hills
- Outdoor cooking area and garden seating
In my opinion, the best cabins in California are off-grid properties. Completely secluded in the Temecula Hills, this spot will make you feel entirely removed from society.
It’s a modern-style cabin made from prefabricated wooden materials and features a studio space with a common bedroom, living area, and kitchen. The best part about this cabin is the bathroom, where you can shower under the stars.
For a real campsite experience, guests can watch a movie using the large screen projector in the cabin.
Best Cabin for Long-Term Travelers – Rustic 2 Bed Cabin with Fireplace
- 4 Guests
- In a redwood forest in Occidental
- Conservatory bathroom with bathtub
This spot will make you feel like you’re living in a fairytale. The two-bedroom cabin perfectly combines rustic and luxury and is located deep in a redwood forest. It’s surrounded by forests, the beach, and the Russian River Valley wine region, which means there are loads to do in the area other than relaxing by the fireplace.
The interiors boast dark wooden accents and lots of glass and will quickly make you feel like you’ve arrived at your home-away-from-home. Ideal for long-term travelers, this property offers significant weekly discounts for those who stay longer than a week.
Best Countryside Cabin in California – Rustic Farm Retreat
- 2 Guests
- On a ranch in Sonoma
- Traditional cabin interiors with eclectic decorations
The one type of Californian cabin we haven’t covered yet is the countryside cabin. This small wooden cabin sits on ranchland in Sonoma and is surrounded by rolling hills and valley views.
The cabin has a traditional interior with wooden walls, exposed ceiling beams, and mix-matched furniture and art. It’s a solar-powered cabin with a spacious open-plan living and dining room that opens out onto a shaded BBQ deck. The cabin has one bedroom and a pull-out couch in the living room.
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Final Thoughts on Cabins in California
Cabin rentals are a great option for travelers looking to escape the busy city life and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.
Conveniently, much of Cali is made up of mountains, deserts, rivers, and coastline, so there is an abundance of cabins to choose from across the state. In fact, there are so many beautiful cabins in this state that I could add to this list forever. Alas, this is my round-up of the best cabins in California.
Before you book your favorite cabin in California, make sure you set yourself up with international travel insurance if you’re visiting from abroad. When you’re on the road, things can go wrong fast, and it’s best to be prepared for the worst.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!