Winter in Iowa doesn't mean you have to hibernate. Plan a getaway to one of these cozy cabins and you’ll still get to take advantage of hiking trails (many allow cross-country skiing and snowmobiling), wildlife watching (deer and birds aplenty!), ice fishing and more. In the off-season, you can rent cabins at state and county parks for shorter durations and, often, a discounted price. Experience Iowa's great (winter) outdoors at these awesome accommodations.
1. Backbone State Park
If you haven’t been to Iowa’s first state park - Backbone State Park near Dundee - winter is a great time to experience it. Trails remain open for cross-country skiing and snowmobiling; hunting and fishing are popular recreational activities. Modern luxury cabins are available in both one- and two-bedroom styles. Bonus: Several of the cabins were recently remodeled.
2. Big Woods Lake Park
Black Hawk County Conservation
The cabin at Big Woods Lake near Cedar Falls features beautiful light-filled southern views of the lake while maintaining peaceful privacy for a small group. This year-round cabin sleeps up to six people and the multi-use Cedar Valley Nature Trail is steps away.
3. Briggs Woods Park & Little Wall Lake Park
Hamilton County Conservation
Bring the whole family to Little Wall Lake Park’s newly-constructed Lakeview Cabin, which sleeps up to 15 people. The cabin is ADA-compliant and the park allows ice fishing and water fowl hunting. Located just south of Jewell.
Or, check out the view at nearby Briggs Woods Park (to the south of Webster City) which has two year-round cabins for rent. The Legacy and Oak cabins overlook Briggs Woods Lake and the park offers a trail that connects with Webster City. Additionally, the golf course at the park doubles as a cross-country ski course in winter.
4. Cordova Park
Marion County Conservation
Curl up in front of the fireplace at Cordova Park’s Widgeon Cabin, which sits atop a wooded bluff overlooking beautiful Lake Red Rock, near Knoxville. Comfortably sleeping up to 10-12 people, the cabin has a full kitchen, living area, two bathrooms, bedroom and a sleeping loft.
5. Country Cabins
How does staying in a real log cabin sound? Country Cabins in Chariton have 12 different cabins to fit your vacation needs. There are also three lakes to explore and fish. Relax and surround yourself with hundreds of acres of peacefulness, whitetail deer and a cozy cabin to rest in.
6. Eveland Access Cabins
Mahaska County Conservation
Oskaloosa’s Eveland Access offers two year-round cabins that sleep four to six people and provide the necessities of home such as full kitchens, living rooms and TV's. Spend some time outdoors ice fishing, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing around the park.
7. Iowa Cabin Rentals
Quality, Amish-built cabins located on the beautiful bluffs of the Mississippi River near Harpers Ferry give the full experience of “getting away from it all.” Cabins are fully-equipped and ready to be your quiet retreat after a thrilling day of hiking, bird watching, or sipping wine at a local winery. Choose one of the many cabins available for the perfect experience for you and your family.
8. Jester Park
Polk County Conservation
Take the chance to unplug and reconnect with family at Jester Park’s Pine Cabin, near Granger. The park offers just about every outdoor activity you can think of, including hiking, ice fishing, birdwatching, hunting, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and even horse-drawn sleigh rides. The cabin sleeps up to six.
9. Lake of Three Fires State Park
Tucked away in southwest Iowa near Bedford, Lake of Three Fires State Park is a perfect place for a quiet family getaway. Their four modern cabins accommodate up to four people each and the park itself contains eight miles of trails around the lake. The trails are snowmobile- and equestrian-friendly.
10. Pine Lake State Park
Named for the ancient white pines that line the hiking trails, Pine Lake State Park in Eldora offers four stone-and-timber cabins with woodburning fireplaces and modern amenities. Cabins sleep 4-6 people, making it a perfect location for a weekend away with your family.
11. Pine Ridge Retreat & Lodging
Located between Lake Sugema and Lacey-Keosauqua State Park in the Villages of Van Buren, Pine Ridge Retreat & Lodging has nine different lodging options available for your hunting, fishing, hiking or family reunion trip. With a two-acre pond and a cozy fire pit nearby, you won't be short of things to do during your stay.
12. Springbrook State Park
Springbrook State Park’s Sherburne House near Guthrie Center is ideal for large family gatherings and holidays. The cabin sleeps up to 10 people and features tons of amenities from a full kitchen and huge living room to a large deck overlooking the wooded park. Take a stroll on the 12 miles of hiking trails and you’re almost guaranteed to see deer and an abundance of other wildlife.
13. Twin Springs Lodge
A cozy, unique and family-friendly cabin is tucked away just past Twin Springs Park and located one mile from downtown Decorah. The lodge fits large groups and is handicap accessible. A fully-stocked kitchen, multiple bedrooms and proximity to the Trout Run Trail gives guests a special experience that won’t be forgotten.
14. Union Grove State Park
Two cozy cabins are tucked away in Union Grove State Park, right on the banks of the 110-acre Union Grove Lake near Gladbrook. Hiking, snowmobiling and wildlife watching are popular outdoor activities – but with the cabins' luxury accommodations, you might not want to leave.
15. Waubonsie State Park
You’ll be able to enjoy one of the rarest and greatest Iowa vistas – the Loess Hills – from your accommodations in one of Waubonsie State Park’s camping cabins near Hamburg. Cabins sleep anywhere from 2 to 10 people (please note, some cabins do not have modern restroom facilities or running water).
16. Whiterock Conservancy
Stay in a cozy cottage (formerly a chicken coop), a quaint retreat next to the babbling river, or relax in a renovated farm house at Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids. After a full day of hiking or biking Iowa's diverse countryside, you'll be able to relax in luxury accommodations. A full kitchen, private rooms and cleaning services are provided.
17. Willow Lake Recreation Area
Harrison County Conservation
Cozy up in one of three modern cabins at Willow Lake Recreation Area, six miles west of Woodbine in western Iowa. King Cabin, Scotch Pine Cabin and White Pine Cabin have modern necessities including full kitchens, TV/DVD players and a grill, but you’ll be steps away from miles of prairie and woodland trails. Sightings of deer, pheasant, turkey and quail are common. Cabins sleep 8 to 12 people.
18. Grumpster's Log Cabin Getaway
Make yourselves at home at one of four lodging options at Grumpster's Log Cabin Getaway. The cabins sleep 5 to 12 people and provide all of the luxury amenities you need from full kitchens and private bedrooms to whirlpool tubs and satellite TV. The cabins are nestled among the hills of the Mississippi River Valley just outside the charming town of McGregor.
19. Pine Grove Cabins
Scott County Conservation
The Pine Grove Cabins at Scott County Park are perfect for a weekend family getaway. The two cabins each accommodate up to six people with two full bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, fireplace and large decks. Best of all, the cabins have large windows looking out to the woods and wildlife. If the Pine Grove Cabins are booked, try the Summit Cabins at West Lake Park, also managed by Scott County Conservation. Located just west of the Quad Cities, these cabins overlook Railroad Lake.
20. Knotty Pine Guest House
This secluded log cabin is located in rural Winneshiek County, just outside of Fort Atkinson. The handcrafted cabin features a stunning limestone fireplace, a covered front porch and a large deck. With room for eight guests, Knotty Pine also comes equipped wtih a full kitchen, two bathrooms and three bedrooms.
21. The Rookery Cottage
This renovated rustic cottage is a perfect place to unplug. Located near Coon Rapids, it's close by Whiterock Conservancy where visitors can try all sorts of outdoor activities. The cabin is outfitted with heated floors, kitchenette, and outdoor firepit for cozy campfire cooking and sleeps up to six guests.
22. Fontana Park Sustainable Living Cabins
Buchanan County Conservation
Visitors to Buchanan County’s signature park, Fontana, are able to enjoy overnight comfort while being conscious of conservation and the environment. The cabins' comforts and amenities are complimented by natural beauty, park attractions, and promotion of a sustainable lifestyle. Each cabin comfortably sleeps five, with two bedrooms, kitchenette, and a private bathroom with shower. There are vaulted ceilings, wood-sided interiors, and exterior wood siding from trees harvested in Buchanan County. Each cabin includes a porch, table, grill, and fire ring.
23. Three Mile Recreation Area & Cabins
Nine attractive log camping cabins at the Three Mile Recreation Area in Afton are a perfect way to spend time in the great outdoors year-round. The cabins are equipped with heating and air conditioning, electricity, basic furnishings and sleeping accommodations for up to six people with showers and bathrooms located nearby in a heated year-round shower house. Along with a comfortable stay, the area also offers an array of outdoor recreation activities on its many "High Lakes," five lakes that provide over 2,000 acres of water and 6,000 acres of parks, woodlands, prairie and wetlands.