The stunning Midwestern state of Iowa is known for its spectacular natural beauty. From the gorgeous trails at Maquoketa Caves State Park to the dramatic landscapes at Pikes Peak State Park, it’s the ultimate location for a retreat away from the city.
Iowa has lots of popular tourist destinations so you’ll never be short on accommodation options. However, with such spectacular natural beauty, it’s would be a shame to return to a boring hotel room after a day of exploring the nearby forests and lakes.
That’s why I highly recommend staying in a cabin. Not a dark, dingy cabin in the woods where monsters lurk outside. Cabins in Iowa are at the height of luxury, with plush furnishings, cozy fireplaces, and sometimes outdoor hot tubs and fire pits. Can you get any more relaxing?
If a cabin getaway in Iowa sounds appealing to you, then make sure to keep reading to find out more about the best cabins in Iowa.
In a Hurry? Here’s Where to Stay in Iowa for One Night
Aqua Log Cabin
Aqua Log Cabin provides guests with the ultimate all-around experience of cabin life. The home has an epic location nestled on the banks of Shell Rock River, fantastic on-site amenities, and spectacular surrounding views for very reasonable prices. That’s why it is certainly my top pick for the best cabin to stay in for your first time visiting Iowa!
- Shell Rock River
- Heery Woods State Park
- George Wyth Memorial State Park
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Staying in a Cabin in Iowa
Arguably one of the best ways to appreciate the awesome natural landscape in Iowa is to stay in a cabin. You will find the majority of them in epic locations including nestled in forests, on hilltops, next to gorgeous rivers and lakes, and in the heart of luscious national parks.
Iowa is a pretty big state but the majority of cities and towns will have an epic range of cabins perfect for all types of travelers, from backpackers in the USA to large families and groups of 10 or more.
Cabins can also range in luxury, too. It’s possible to find extravagant cabins with high beamed ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, wrap-around decks, and high-end kitchens. It’s also possible to find a little shack in the woods with a backup generator and outside toilet. The more you have in your budget, the more luxury you can afford – it’s that simple.
But even the smallest and most homely cabins don’t have to cost a fortune. In fact, it’s entirely possible to find a cabin that costs less than a hotel room. So, let’s take a look at what you need to watch out for…
What to Look For in a Cabin in Iowa
This is pretty bog standard for most people when looking for a place to stay, but of course, location is one of the top priorities when picking a place for your Iowan adventure.
Despite not being one of the largest states in the US, Iowa is still pretty big (it is actually around the same size as Greece!) which means that you won’t be able to see all of it in one trip. Some of the most popular locations for cabins in Iowa include Shell Rock River, Des Moines Rivera, and Lansing.
It is important to note that staying in a cabin can often lead you to remote locations, so it is very beneficial, if not crucial, to get your hands on a car. You should check with the property if the road is accessible by a normal vehicle or if you need 4WD before renting a car. Public transport is not common when renting from off-the-beaten-track locations.
The good news is that most properties come with parking, which is great for those of you on a USA road trip.
It’s also important to remember that in the summer months, the state can delve into a heat wave so make sure your cabin has air conditioning or perhaps be close to the water so you can cool off in a refreshing lake or river.
In winter months, Iowan temperatures can plummet and even snow, so it’s best to start looking for cabins with wood burners or some source of heating.
If you do decide to go for a remote cabin, then make sure it comes with plenty of entertainment options such as board games and books. You might also like to look for a cabin with a hot tub or fire pit, which is not uncommon.
Aqua Log Cabin
- > $$
- > 8 Guests
- > Terrace and hot tub overlooking waterfront
- > River access
Cute and Cosy Creek Cabin
- > $$
- > 4 Guests
- > Large wood burning fireplace
- > River views
Tint House by the River
- > $$
- > 2 Guests (4 With Sofa Bed)
- > Private hot tub
- > Mississippi River View
Large Lodge w/ Hot Tub & Pool
- > $$$
- > 14 Guests
- > Large patio and outdoor firepit
- > Hot tub and swimming pool
Luxury Waterfront Cabin
- > $$$$
- > 8 Guests
- > Private dock area
- > Hot tub and terrace
Farm Chic Cabin
- > $$
- > 7 Guests
- > Wrap around deck
- > Outdoor firepit
Cozy River Cabin with Awesome Views
- > $$
- > 4 Guests
- > Incredible Sunsets
- > Porch swing
The Top 10 Cabins in Iowa
So now you know a little bit more about what to expect from Cabins in Iowa, it’s now time to narrow down your options and pick the best cabin for your getaway!
Overall Best Value Cabin in Iowa – Aqua Log Cabin
- 8 Guests
- Terrace and hot tub overlooking waterfront
- River access
My top pick for the overall best value cabin in Iowa has to go to the incredible Aqua Log Cabin due to it having a cozy and luxurious atmosphere but at a reasonable price.
The beautiful cabin is situated on the banks of the Shell Rock River, one of Iowa’s most sought-after travel destinations, and is surrounded by acres of picturesque land making it an epic countryside getaway.
Aqua Log Cabin is also equipped with lavish facilities such as an outdoor hot tub, fire pit, and beautifully designed rooms. The living space is one of the best features, with huge windows overlooking the river. There’s a deluxe outdoor terrace area that is home to the bubbling hot tub that overlooks the nearby river.
Best Budget Cabin in Iowa – Cute and Cosy Creek Cabin
- 4 Guests
- Large wood burning fireplace
- River views
This is the ultimate cabin experience for those on a tight budget but still want an epic, cozy experience in one of Iowa’s most picturesque locations.
Timber Creek Cabin sits on the edge of Timber overlooking the famous Des Moines River. Its awesome location means there are plenty of adventures to explore nearby including wild swimming, spectacular walking trails, and incredible viewpoints.
The cabin is also perfect for people visiting Iowa all year round with it having a cozy indoor wood stove to warm up during those icy winter months, along with a waterfront location with a gentle breeze to cool down in the sunny summer months.
Best Cabin in Iowa for Couples – Tint House by the River
- 2 Guests (4 With Sofa Bed)
- Private hot tub
- Mississippi River View
Are you looking for a cute, cozy, and romantic getaway with your partner? Then this petite cabin nestled in the outskirts of the beautiful city of Bellevue may be the dream destination for you.
The Riverbottom Cabin is beautifully designed with oak finishings and has a traditional Iowan interior with a homely, warming atmosphere. It also has an impeccable location overlooking the famous Mississippi River where you can watch the gorgeous Iowan sun set over the water.
Despite being designed to comfortably fit two guests the cozy lodge actually sleeps up to four guests with a queen bed in the loft and a pull-out sofa in the living room meaning it is also a great option for small families!
Best Cabin in Iowa for a Group of Friends – Large Lodge w/ Hot Tub & Pool
- 14 Guests
- Large patio and outdoor firepit
- Hot tub and swimming pool
Edgewood Lodge is the ultimate place to stay if you’re looking for a fun and energetic place to stay in Iowa. It’s packed full of incredible amenities like a pool table and outdoor fire pit.
With enough beds for up to 14 people, and boasting an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, this makes for one of the best cabins to stay in Iowa if you’re traveling with a large group of friends – especially in the summer months.
The charming cabin is nestled in the beautiful hilltops of northeastern Iowa, and is just a short drive south of the bubbly city of Lansing meaning guests are just a stone’s throw away from incredible destinations including the Mississippi River, Yellow River Forest, and Effigy Mounds.
Best Over-the-Top Luxury Cabin in Iowa – Luxury Waterfront Cabin
- 8 Guests
- Private dock area
- Hot tub and terrace
“Wow!” is how guests usually react when they see this luxury waterfront cabin in the flesh and I can see why! It’s immaculately designed with lavish amenities that are fit for a king.
At the property, you will find a relaxing outdoor fire pit and seating area, a soothing hot tub along awesome BBQ facilities. You will find a private dock area that is equipped with kayaks and other watersports activities. So if you’re planning a visit in the summer, this cabin has you covered.
This lodge is certainly one of the best cabins to stay in Iowa if you’re looking for an over-the-top and lavish experience whilst still being able to explore the state’s raw and stripped-back beauty.
It’s located in North Liberty, right on the Iowa River. You can rent boats from Coralville Lake Marina, which is just 10 minutes from the home or from Scales Pointe Marina.
Best Cabin for Families in Iowa – Farm Chic Cabin
- 7 Guests
- Wrap around deck
- Outdoor firepit
This cabin is the ultimate place to stay for those who love to be surrounded by nature and wildlife with it being the home to Buffalo!
The beautifully handcrafted cabin lies in the gorgeous Malcolm countryside and is surrounded by acres of land where hundreds of bison, horses, and other interesting wildlife species roam free.
The Bison Ranch Cabin is also home to some of the most stunning sunsets in Iowa which can be best enjoyed at the Sunset Hills Bison Ranch which is just a stroll away from the property.
My top recommendation of things to do at the property is to sit back and enjoy the sounds of nature from the wrap-around deck and firepit – it’s an experience like no other.
Cabin with an Epic Location – Cozy River Cabin with Awesome Views
- 4 Guests
- Incredible Sunsets
- Porch swing
This cozy two-bedroom cabin has one of the most epic locations in Iowa with it being slotted on the picturesque banks of the Des Moines River.
The cabin is in the heart of nature but still close enough to civilization to explore historic sites. This means you can enjoy the sounds and sights of nature from the porch swing where you can watch gulls and Eagles play year round. It also means you’re close enough to the awesome cities of Pella and Knoxville if you fancy exploring somewhere a little more upbeat.
Best Cabin for Honeymooners – Timber Creek Cabin
- 4 Guests
- Indoor wood stove
- Waterfront location
Timber Creek Cabin is the perfect place to stay if you want a secluded and romantic getaway with your other half. The small but extremely warming cabin comes with epic facilities for a cozy honeymoon including a cute indoor wood stove, traditional wooden features, and large, brightly lit windows overlooking the waterfront.
It’s also a great place to stay if you love being near the water with guests having direct access to a beautiful, flowing creek along with easy riverfront access!
If you fancy heading out to catch a bite to eat then the nearby town of Keosauqua is just a short drive away, here you will find a great selection of traditional and quaint restaurants.
Best Cabin for Solo Travellers – Rustic Cabin River Retreat
- 2 Guests
- Hanging chairs
The next option on our list is the Rustica Cabin River Retreat which is the best cabin to stay in for solo travelers heading to Iowa.
The cute one-bed, one-bath property is ideal for up to two people and is close enough to the nearby Janesville if you fancy venturing out and meeting other travelers and locals.
At the cabin, you will beautiful deck chairs that overlook the nearby river along with an awesome firepit that is perfect for having a drinking or two in the evenings whilst watching the sunset over the water.
Amazing Luxury Cabin – Rock Creek Lakefront Gem
- 8 Guests
- Outdoor patio
- Free kayaks
We perhaps saved one of the best for last with this amazing cabin with it receiving incredible reviews from nearly all its guests. Rock Creek Lakefront Gem provides impeccable and luxurious cabin facilities in the gorgeous Jasper County just on the outskirts of Kellogg.
This cabin is perfect all year round with it being located in the front row seat to the four seasons of nature’s beauty.
In the summer months, you are just a few short steps out your back door to the lake where you can go swimming, kayaking, or boating and in the winter months, you’ll have a cozy place to return to after a day of hiking.
Don’t Forget Your Iowa Travel Insurance
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
Final Thoughts on Cabins in Iowa
If you’re thinking of heading on a cabin vacation, Iowa isn’t short of incredible options. Whether you’re looking for a lavish cabin with exclusive facilities, a cute and cozy cabin perfect for a romantic getaway, or perhaps you just want somewhere budget-friendly, Iowa has a little something for everyone.
Iowa is undoubtedly one of the most underrated states in the USA as a travel destination, with some of the most spectacular landscapes, but also incredible holiday rentals.
I hope my list has helped you navigate your way around the best cabins in Iowa. Wherever you choose to stay, I’m sure you’ll find nothing but serenity and tranquility in your cozy cabin.
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!