As the school year comes to end, wandering families’ thoughts turn to summer vacation! We’ve started looking for close-by but unique places and came up with this wanderlist of rentable cabins in the southeast (I’ll cover other regions later). These are all on public land (state parks, national parks, national forests, I have a soft spot for anything having to do with the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps), so I’ve tried to include as many CCC cabins as I could find.
Charming and rustic are the keys concept here: many of these accommodations don’t have electricity or plumbing (and one doesn’t even have door locks!). They are sometimes, but not always less expensive than staying in a budget hotel. Several can be reached only by foot or horseback. In other words, it’s about the experience, not the free continental breakfast.
For the Truly Adventurous
We’re not going to attempt the LeConte Lodge cabins (pictured above) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park until the kids are older. They’re reached only by trail, ranging 5.5 to 8 miles long, 4 to 5.5 hours as a liberal estimate. My source (thru-hiker husband Andrew) says that the cabins book up about a year in advance and the food is fantastic.
Reached only log bridge (!), the Donley Cabin in the Cherokee National Forest pre-dates the Civil War, has no electricity, plumbing, or door locks and is served by an outhouse.
Mild, Not Too Wild
More our speed at the moment are the Swan and Stewart cabins, both historic cabins that you can rent in the Nantahala National Forest here in Western North Carolina.
I also love the look of the CCC cabins at Mount Nebo State Park in western Arkansas, and they have quite a few amenities.
These CCC cabins at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama also look charming.
We’ve been to Myakka State Park in Florida, but we didn’t stay in these cute palm-log cabins, which were also built by the CCC.
We recently found out about some affordable rentals at the Cape Lookout National Seashore. They’ve got some basics (including hot water) along with generator hook-ups. They’re not nearly as charming as the ones I’ve pictured here, but they’re right on the beach, which kind of makes up for it!