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Cabin Camping Adventures in New England

cabins in New England

Have you discovered the fascinating world of winter camping yet? Wait, wait, hear me out. What if I told you that winter camping could mean that you wouldn’t have to sleep on the ground or even in the cold? That you wouldn’t even need to bring a tent?

Then you might do it, yes?

I love camping, and every winter I long for the camping season when I can spend days and days outside exploring, cooking up campfire grub, and watching the stars come out. Winter tends to cramp my style, but a few years ago, our family discovered cabin camping, and we haven’t looked back.

cabin camping adventures

What is Cabin Camping?

Well, I guess that depends on where you go, but in general terms, cabin camping is when you make use of a shelter instead of a tent to either keep you warm in cold temperatures or make you more comfortable anytime. You still have to pack your sleeping bags, and camp food, and headlamps, but your home base has the comfort and warmth of four walls, and usually a wood stove.

cabin camping

Cabin camping is a great activity for families who are new to camping. It’s like transitional camping, and if you’re used to squeezing into a frosty, two-person tent to sleep, cabin camping can be downright luxurious. You don’t need any special skills to camp in a cabin. Just a love for your family and the amazing natural world that we all live in. Let’s do it!

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Best Cabin Camping Adventures in New England

There are cabin camping opportunities all over the world, but I’m going to focus on cabins  in New England (USA) because it’s the region I know the best. These are our favorite cabin camping adventures throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut. (Never camped in Rhode Island, sorry!)

Merck Forest and Farmland Center, Rupert, Vermont

cabin camping

This is our absolute favorite place to go camping in the winter and spring. Seriously. Merck Forest and Farmland Center maintains seven cabins on more than 3,000 acres of wilderness. Each cabin is unique and lovely in it’s own way. They sleep between two and fifteen people, and chopped and split firewood will be waiting for you when you get to your cabin. Each cabin is nestled in its own little paradise. Some are easy to get to, requiring just a quick walk from the visitor center with your gear, while others involve a bit of trekking, skiing, or snowshoeing to find your retreat.

cabin camping

Our favorite part about these cabins? All of them are dog-friendly, and they are completely secluded from the rest of the world. We have yet to see another person while staying here. It’s pure bliss! For more about cabin camping in Merck Forest, read: 

Destination Vermont: Cabin Cabin at Merck Forest and Farmland Center 

Savoy Mountain State Forest, Florida, Massachusetts

This huge tract of land in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts is crisscrossed with more than 50 miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. There are four cabins available to rent year-round in Savoy Mountain State Forest, each accommodating up to four people. The cabins are small and cozy, perfect for winter camping. All four are clustered together, but we have always been the sole occupants when we’ve visited in the winter. I think renting all four would be awesome for larger groups. The road is generally plowed out, so the walk to your cabin is minimal. There are two beautiful ponds right near the campground where the cabins are situated. Ice skating is possible if the ponds aren’t covered with snow.

cabin camping

The cabins have bunks for sleeping, and a cozy, wood-burning stove. There’s also a fire-ring outside for warmer evenings. The winter trails here are great for beginner skiers because they’re wide and level (but not groomed). My favorite is the Bog Pond Trail, which is level and leads to an expansive wetland for bird and wildlife viewing. Unfortunately, dogs aren’t allowed in the cabins, but aside from that, these New England cabins are perfect!

Northwest Camp, Salisbury, Connecticut

cabin camping

For a more rugged adventure, strap on your snowshoes and head out to Northwest Camp, a secluded little cabin in the northwest corner of Connecticut. This cozy New England cabin is rented by the Appalachian Mountain Club year-round. You can park about 500 yards from the cabin on Mt. Washington road, but the road is closed in the winter, making this a 3.5 mile hike to the cabin. Northwest camp sleeps 6 very comfortably, and stacked firewood is available for the woodstove.

During the summer months, this is a common retreat for Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers. You still have to reserve the cabin in the winter, but you shouldn’t have a problem, except maybe on holiday weekends. Wildlife is plentiful here, and it’s not uncommon to see deer, fox, and even bear (spring through fall). This is a magical place for a family outing, and one of our favorite cabins in New England.

Daicey Pond Campground Cabins, Baxter State Park, Maine

Cabin Camping Adventures

photo credit: nebirdsplus via Flickr

Yes, it’s total wilderness, but the cabins at Daicey Pond Campground have propane lights! The Appalachian Trail runs right through the campground, and in the summer and fall the cabins are usually filled with hikers hoping to make it the trail’s northern terminus, the famous (or infamous) Mount Katahdin. Park roads aren’t plowed in the winter, and it’s a 6 mile ski/snowshoe/hike to the cabins. Campers can choose from cabins that sleep from two to six people. Firewood is provided. From the campground, you’ll have an amazing view of the Mount Katahdin, at least you will if it isn’t cloudy.

cabins in New England

photo credit: Dana Moos via Flickr

Once you settle in, you can get busy exploring the ski trails, looking for wildlife or even ice climbing. Winter conditions can be very harsh in Baxter State Park, so be sure to plan your trip carefully and pack all the essentials for winter camping.

Black Mountain Cabin, White Mountains, New Hampshire

Cabin Camping Adventures

photo credit: Selbe Lynn

This is the cheapest New England cabin rental on the list and one of the most beautiful. Nestled in the mountains and surrounded by pasture for incredible views of Mount Washington and the Wildcat Ridge, the Black Mountain Cabin sleeps eight people comfortably. Amenities are rustic, but you are provided with wood for the woodstove and a broom for cleaning up. There is no running water, so plan on either bringing your own or melting snow for cooking and drinking.

The hike or snowshoe to the cabin is 1.4 miles, but it’s steep, gaining 1,200 feet of elevation. There are groomed cross-country ski trails nearby, and lots and lots of wildlife. Dogs are allowed (or at least there was no mention of them not being allowed).

These are our favorite cabins for camping in New England. I’d love to hear some of your favorites from other parts of the country. And honestly, thanks for sticking with me. I promise that I will try and work on my brevity. And maybe I’ll manage a few posts under 1000 words in the near future.

And one more thing? Would you mind Pinning this? Thanks!

You can camp in the winter without freezing your butt off on the cold ground. These cabins in New England are great for fall, winter, and spring camping.

26 Comments

  1. Being from South Dakota, I’m totally a snow bunny and something like this sounds awesome! I never thought of cabin camping!! Pinned for future reference… 😉

  2. Winter camping is the best, Tara! Your post reminds me of my trip to Mt. Rainier last year – we also stayed at a small cabin. We snowshoed up Mt Rainier and it was the best views ever!
    Hung Thai recently posted…Best Places to Paddle Board in HawaiiMy Profile

  3. This sounds perfect! I love hiking, but I’ve limited myself to day-hikes since I always feel like I can never take up camping. This is such a great way to transition.

  4. Cabin camping sound fantastic. Here in Australia we call them huts and you can camp free in them in many places in the mountain area’s of the state of Victoria where we live

  5. It’s hard to convince me doing something that involves being in the cold lol, but I have to admin – the kind of cabin camping you describe can have its charms 🙂

  6. I love cabin camping. Is it an age thing? Not sure, but I do know I really enjoy the simpler set up with a cabin or Yurt rather than the tent option. Loved the photo of Merck Forest. Sunrise or sunset?
    Alexa Meisler recently posted…Salt Lake City Hotels for a Winter WonderlandMy Profile

    • Sunset, Alexa. I agree – there’s a lot less to carry and you stay nice and warm, even in the winter.

  7. When I think of New England…this is exactly what I imagine! Would love to cabin camp one day….looks awesome!

  8. Great photos and articles on cabin camping!

  9. I love cabin camping, although I haven’t been able to do so in New England yet. (Actually, I haven’t been to New England much at all yet!) Let me know when you come to the Midwest or Pacific Northwest and I’ll have plenty of places to recommend!

    • New England’s a pretty special place, Jessica. I hope you’ll come explore. I love the Pacific Northwest too!

  10. Wow, this looks like so much fun. I grew up camping and I can’t wait to introduce my kids to it. My husband, on the other hand, had one bad experience and is a self-proclaimed camping hater. Maybe this will help sway him! Thanks so much!

  11. Cabin camping seems like a perfect camping situation to me! Those photos all look so cozy! I stayed in a cabin a few summers ago and I was bummed not to be able to take advantage of the fireplace and the hot tub. Great post!
    Felicia recently posted…Random Friday #12My Profile

  12. I’m not huge on “roughing it” but my husband and I have been talking about doing a cabin trip one summer for us and a few of our close friends. I think it sounds like a great time.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

  13. I haven’t done camping since my late teens, but I do remember how much fun that was. Thank you for the reminder. I might stick to snowless seasons, though.

  14. Ive never thought of camping in the winter because it gets so cold in Utah but that looks like tons of fun! Those are also stunning photos you took and makes me want to go even more! I’m definitely pinning this for later(:

  15. Tre Harrington

    As a camping family who lives in PA, we will be checking out a few of these!! Great post!

  16. I am definitely pinning this for later!! What a great travel guide!

  17. These look like beautiful places to camp. And those cabins look so cozy! I’m inspired to start packing!
    Nicole recently posted…Gluten Free GoalsMy Profile

  18. I don’t live in New England, but I loved reading about your adventures. Looks amazing!!

  19. Joy

    I have spent zero time on the East Coast and this is making me so wanderlusty! We moved to Georgia from Wisconsin over a year ago and now flights up the east coast are very cheap. Even better – cabins! We love camping but I totally forget to look for cabins all year round. Great idea!

  20. First of all, your photos are beautiful and its really inspiring to read of your wonderful adventures doing all the outdoors camping stuff…indeed a road trip of a lifetime! 🙂

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