Outdoors

20 MUST-STAY CABINS AND COZY LODGING IN MINNESOTA AND WISCONSIN

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Lately, I’ve been obsessed with booking random, cool cabins on Airbnb with no location in mind and planning mini vacations around it. There are delightful rentable dwellings on lakes, rivers, in the middle of the woods, on farmland, and some in the center of a big city. Normally when you plan a vacation, you pick the location and then you search for lodging – and that’s definitely the most logical way to do it when you are planning longer trips. But if you are just looking for a sweet, simple staycation for a weekend, give this method a try:

1.) Browse through Airbnb, VRBO, or whatever rental service you prefer
2.) Pick your favorite place based on style of the home and amenities (waterfront, wooded acreage, pets allowed, hot tub, etc.), not based on location
3.) Google search all of the parks, lakes, trails, restaurants, shopping, and activities that are within an hour of the rental location. Trust me. You’ll find something.
4.) Book and look forward to a new adventure in a new city or town you never thought you’d explore!

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Scroll through to find out how you can rent this particular cabin in Upsala, MN

Most recently, my longtime high school friend Larissa and I booked a sweet little cabin in Upsala, MN. The population is just over 400. Other than a couple bar/grill type places and a campground, there isn’t too much going on. But the cabin was to die for. It’s a beautiful, locally sourced timber frame red cabin, complete with a loft, breakfast nook, and even a hot tub and pool. About a half hour away is the city of Little Falls, home of super cute boutiques, an amazing restaurant, the Charles A. Lindbergh State Park, and museums. We had a blast and visited an area we wouldn’t have thought to visit!

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If you’re in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you should feel lucky to live in a state that is surrounded by a plethora of northwoodsy, cozy cottages and cabins. Unfortunately, Airbnb doesn’t let you filter your search by “type” of dwelling, like “cute A-frame cabin” or “rustic yurt.” That’s why I did some digging and curated a list of charming cabins and cozy places in both Minnesota and Wisconsin — just for you. Note: Pay attention to the bathroom situation with these places since not every home has running water. Enjoy!

MINNESOTA

A-FRAME ON A PRIVATE ISLAND
Juggler Lake, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: Who doesn’t love an A-frame? Lakefront, there’s a boat to get you there if you don’t have your own, great fishing, surrounded by 18 acres of forest for hiking and exploring, near Itasca State Park, it’s completely private!

1890s HAND HEWN LOG CABIN
Biwabik, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: Historic yet modern updates, in-floor heating, on 13 acres of land, log loft space, plenty of land for snowshoeing or cross country skiing in the winter, near the Mesabi Trail and Giants Ridge Recreation Area

OFF GRID TIPI LIVING
Akeley, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: It’s a freakin’ tipi, private outdoor theatre, less than a thousand feet from a lake with canoes provided, nearby hiking, opportunities to pick blueberries, raspberries, grapes, apples, chokecherries and hazelnuts

NORTHWOODS YURT
Bemidji, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: Unique space with solar power, fully furnished, fully stocked woodshed for wood stove and sauna, wooded area that feels off grid – yet close enough to explore downtown Bemidji, nearby adventures at Lake Bemidji State Park

TREEHOUSE LOFT
Cottage Grove, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: The house really is built around an epic tree, luxurious, beautiful wood space, loft, not far from St. Paul or Minneapolis, near St. Croix River, Afton Alps, and Mississippi River

RED TIMBER FRAME COTTAGE
Upsala, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: This is where my friend Larissa and I stayed! Gorgeous, locally sourced wooden structure, two acres of fenced land to snowshoe, loft, hot tub, swimming pool, they give you free drink tickets for the local bar, near Little Falls where you’ll find plenty to do including parks and museums

GRAND MARAIS MÖKKI
Grand Marais, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: The location is in beautiful Grand Marais and within a short walk of from restaurants, pubs, shops, sailboat harbor, Lake Superior, kids 12 and under stay free, very Scandinavian feel inside, dovetail log details make this cabin unique and authentic

HOVLAND MÖKKI
Hovland, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: This is actually owned by the same person who owns the Mökki above. It’s built on a hilltop surrounded by 20 acres of maples, there’s a screened porch and wraparound deck, newly built cedar sauna, a fenced in area for pets to run free, cool swinging chair, near Grand Marais and Canadian border, Lake Superior views when leaves are down, minutes from Judge CR Magney State Park, Portage Brook Scenic Overlook is a must see

LAKESIDE LOG CABIN
Cromwell, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: It is located on a 300 acre lake that connects to other lakes and rivers, is only a half hour from Duluth, comes with a cute wooden sauna, lake shore views from wraparound decks, in floor heating, near three state parks, super close to Fond Du Lac State Forest where there is opportunity for skiing, snowmobiling, and hiking

RUSTIC PRIVATE LOG CABIN
Duluth, Minnesota
Reasons to love it: Surrounded by tall pines, wood burning stove, loft, sauna, space for camping if needed, beautiful campfire area, close to Lake Superior, a creek on the property, plenty to see, do, eat, and drink in Duluth, Jay Cooke State Park is nearby

WISCONSIN

SECLUDED HOT TUB CABIN
De Soto, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: Surrounded by woods, gorgeous large deck, covered hot tub, fun loft area for sleeping, wood burning stove, nearby is Blackhawk Park with Mississippi River access and sand beach, located along Wisconsin’s infamous Great River Road, fun local pubs nearby

COZY CABIN + BUNKHOUSE
Neshkoro, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: Privacy on seven acre wooded lot for exploring and hiking, you get the cabin plus a bunkhouse, two bikes and two kayaks available for rent, there’s a winery nearby, if you’re looking for authentic Wisconsin food – there’s a supper club in Neshkoro, located near the Germania Marsh Wildlife Area for birding, fishing, canoeing, and hiking

A-FRAME ON THE LAKE
Medford, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: Located on Clear Lake and along a snowmobile trail, dock for fishing, kayaks available, loft, near Timm’s Hill County park where you’ll find the highest point in Wisconsin, two local supper clubs you must check out

FARMSTEAD CABIN
Grantsburg, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: Spacious loft, located next to a rustic, abandoned farm, renovated to resemble the original building from more than a century ago, 20 acres of land + 50,000 acres of connecting DNR land to explore or hunt, go mushroom or wildflower picking, more than a hundred species of birds to watch, there’s even a shooting range on site

GLASS A-FRAME ON THE LAKE
Siren, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: I just love A-frames in general. Secluded on five acres, nearby sandbar for swimming, lake is great for kayaking and canoeing, hot tub, close to town where there are some fun bars and restaurants, go biking down Gandy Dancer State Trail where you’ll find 98 miles of recreation trail, local downtown shopping, Hayward is an hour from here and there’s always plenty to do and explore there

CHIC LOFT SURROUNDED BY NATURE
Helenville, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: Chic barn charm, there’s a floating loft bed, cool guitar wall, gorgeous silo next to the barn which is also a rentable living space, tandem kayak available for rent, hot air balloon rides are just five minutes away, surrounded by wildflowers ,near farmer’s stand where you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, hike and bike the Glacial Drumlin Trail, explore Aztalan State Park and Museum

LITTLE ROUND YURT
Richland Center, Wisconsin
Reason to love it: Minimalist yurt cabin, quiet escape for nature lovers, located along rolling hills and near beautiful “driftless” scenery, solar power, staying here also supports non-profit helping people living with or recovering from cancer, near trout streams, biking and hiking trails, kayaking among the driftless rugged limestone, shuttle service available for kayaking

WOODED TROUT STREAM SANCTUARY
Hancock, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: Located on six wooded acres, surrounded by tall pines, swimmable and fishable trout stream, screened patio house, wildlife watching, nightly bonfires, wood stove, loft, nearby beaches, explore nearby Bohn Lake State Natural Area, fish Mecan Springs where you’ll find Class I trout fishing

CITY LIFE COTTAGE
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Reasons to love it: Small, cozy cottage in the middle of a cool city, courtyard with string lights and fire pit, wonderful view of Sturgeon Bay, breweries and awesome restaurants nearby, next door to wine country Door County, plenty of hiking and exploring opportunities at Potowatomi State Park

PRIVATE ISLAND ON LONG LAKE
Sarona, WI
Reasons to love it: My husband’s family cabin is on this lake and we love it. I’ve boated past this island home quite a few times, wondering who lives there. Well, lo and behold, it’s available on Airbnb! Plenty of wildlife with loons and eagles all around, wraparound screen porch, sand beach, two docks, water trampoline, secluded location since you’re on a private island, near Perlick Distillery which has awesome libations, near The Roost where you’ll find the best brunch ever, the lake is great for fishing, nearby pontoon rentals at Long Lake Bait and Tackle

There were quite a few more unique places out there on both Airbnb and VRBO. If you find some time, browse through and search for spaces in places you normally wouldn’t have thought to explore and share them with me! I’d love to venture there too!

Xoxo,
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