Editor’s note: Call destinations before you visit to make sure they’re open. Follow all COVID-19 guidelines, get vaccinated before you travel and remember to bring your face covering.
When I’m stressed out, I like to close my eyes and imagine the view from the veranda of my friend’s lakeside cabin: the slow flap of a bird’s wings as it lands on a branch, the faint buzz of an insect somewhere in a bush, the way the lights ripples in silver waves across the water. It’s easy to experience these moments of Zen in Oregon. You’ll find cozy cabins all around the state that are springboards to outdoor fun — from snowshoeing and cross-country skiing to hiking forests and strolling the peaceful beaches of the Oregon Coast. Want to plan an off-the-grid getaway this season? Here are a few idyllic places where you can escape it all.
Oregon’s vast forests stretch from lowland rivers to mountain peaks and offer everything from snowboarding in winter to floating cool waterways in the summer. After a day of winter sports, walks through towering pines or lazing on a river, nothing beats the comfort of a cabin set among the trees.
You can cross-country ski straight to your front door in winter at Summit Meadow Cabins. Each classic mountain-style cabin is hidden in its own clump of woods, making it the perfect base for skiing, snowshoeing or sledding on Mt. Hood. During other seasons, bring your hiking boots for an endless assortment of alpine trails.
Bring your sledding gear to Eagle Cap Chalets, set beautifully in the Wallowa Mountains and very near to Wallowa Lake and the arty town of Joseph. In much busier summer months, there’s hiking galore and lake activities. Warm and functional cabins come in a variety of sizes and will accommodate your pet, so the whole family can come along.
If you like the idea of a deep-woods cabin escape but would like it better if it came with upscale amenities, attentive service and a spa, FivePine Lodge has your number. Relax in deluxe backwoods style at your cabin, walk to the on-site four-screen movie theater or leave (it’s hard to do) to explore the surrounding mountains and the charming town of Sisters.
For more cabins with comforts, follow the footsteps of Walt Disney and Carole Lombard to the historic Weasku Inn on the Rogue River. The cabins are set over 10 acres but never far from the roar of the Rogue. While it feels remote, you’re close to many iconic Southern Oregon experiences, from jet boating to wine tasting.
Stay close to urban Portland, right in Willamette Valley wine country, at Champoeg State Heritage Area. Here six rustic cabins sit on the shore of the Willamette River. Enjoy floating the river in summer or drive 10 minutes to wine country. The grounds are the remains of historic Butteville, where Oregon’s first provincial government was voted on in 1843.
Lakes in the woods, lakes in the shadow of snowy mountains and even hot-spring lakes — Oregon has a boggling number of options when it comes to freshwater escapes. And some of the most scenic lakes are graced with cabins on their shores. Summer may seem like the obvious season to stay lakeside, but think again: Do a lake loop in snowshoes, head to nearby ski slopes or zip around in a snowmobile for wintertime fun.
Find fun-for-the-whole-family, 1950s-era accommodation in Southern Oregon at Lake of the Woods Mountain Lodge & Resort. Blink and you may think you’re in another time — until you log into the Wi-Fi and snuggle into the fresh linens. In winter, rent snowshoes, sleds and even snowmobiles. In summer, take hikes in the Southern Cascades, then enjoy live music or movies back at the resort.
Stand-up paddleboarding, boating and fishing in summer and snowshoeing and snowmobiling in winter make Elk Lake Resort in Bend a year-round choice for active folks. You’re also near Mt. Bachelor for some of Oregon’s best ski slopes and cross-country terrain. Vintage yet comfortable log cabins make it all feel like a page out of a Wild West history book.
For an Eastern Oregon twist on a lake holiday, Crystal Crane Hot Springs has cabins on a naturally hot, mineral-spring-fed pond, which bubbles at a piping 101 degrees. Take in the views of wide-open, high-desert spaces and look for constellations in an unadulterated night sky. Those looking for a clothing-optional dip can rent cedar bathhouses by the hour.
Planning ahead for summer? More rustic lakeside goodness can be found in the shadow of Mt. Hood at Lost Lake Resort, which is only open in summer and fall. Even plumbing is minimal here (think: pit toilets). Rent all manner of nonmotorized watercraft for days of fun on the lake with a mesmerizing view of white-capped Mt. Hood. For warm-weather inspiration, you can find more summery lakeside retreats here.
Oregon claims more than 360 miles of America’s wildest coastline, with seemingly endless sandy beaches and massive dunes, forests that touch the shoreline and lava formations perfect for tide-pool exploration. Cabins put you smack in the middle of the misty landscape — an especially relaxing experience in winter, when you might have quiet trails and beaches to yourself.
WildSpring Guest Habitat in Port Orford holds luxurious cabins amongst 100-foot trees and looking over an empty stretch of coast. There’s an ocean-view hot tub, massage services for when you’re not hiking through old-growth forests, rafting on the nearby Rogue River or exploring Port Orford’s natural harbor and artsy shops.
Heading north along the rugged coast and the darling village of Yachats, Rock Park Cottages sit perfectly in town with a view of the sea. Bring your groceries to cook meals with friends and family, or walk into Yachats for eclectic cafes and eateries. Explore tide pools in the black-lava formations along the 804 Trail or head to Cape Perpetua, the highest point on the Oregon Coast.
Less than two hours from Portland, colorful little Manzanita sits by 7 miles of classic Oregon coastline complete with an offshore rocky outcropping. It’s one of the most dog-friendly towns in the area, and your furry friends can stay with you at Coast Cabins. Walk to the beach or into town, hit the spa and enjoy the small-town ambiance. The cabins are Zen-like in design and very comfortable.
More rustic and also close to Portland, Cape Lookout State Park has basic knotty-pine cabins a few minutes’ walk to windswept, white sand. You can walk the old forested trail up to the 800-foot-high Cape Lookout for spectacular views.
If You Go:
There are a lot of cabins to choose from in Oregon, and we’ve only scratched the surface. Some of the best deals are found at Oregon State Parks. Reserve in advance — at least three months during the busy months of summer. Other options include cabin-centric hotels and lodges. You can search for more unique lodging options here. Note that very rustic cabin rentals may not have linens, so be sure to call ahead. Some cabins are only a step up from camping, so know what’s included before you go.
If you’re headed out for your getaway in winter, know that it can be chilly and wet, or crystal-clear and sunny — so wear waterproof layers, sturdy shoes and don’t forget your sunglasses. Learn how to come prepared by brushing up on tips at How to Winter Like an Oregonian. Before setting out, make sure you have purchased any necessary Forest Service recreation passes. Whatever your adventure entails, from hiking to sandboarding, follow Take Care Out There practices, including packing in and out, leaving what you find where it’s at, and respecting wildlife and other visitors. It’s a good idea when adventuring to carry plenty of water along with your Ten Essentials and know that cell service may be spotty, so download maps and trail directions.
There are many ways to take a car-free getaway in Oregon, and truly sit back and enjoy the ride. If you are traveling by car, be sure to check road and weather conditions before heading out and carry snow chains or traction tires when advised.