By Trent Jonas
Minnesota winters can be harsh, but they’re beautiful and should be experienced to their fullest. While tent camping is not the best idea during the winter season, cabin camping provides an excellent middleground. Experience the wonder of Minnesota during the snowy season all from the comfort of a cabin. Here are the 10 best winter cabin camping spots in the state.
During cold weather months, you can stay in one of the heated, year-round camper cabins at Glacial Lakes State Park. The cabins are available Sunday through Thursday between November and March and daily throughout the rest of the year. The Glacial Erratic cabin offers views to Signalness Lake and easy access to Mardy’s Trail.
Cascade Lodge is a small, Up North-style resort that’s welcomed visitors for more than 90 years. The property is completely surrounded by spectacular Cascade River State Park and boasts sweeping views of Lake Superior. In addition to the lodge, there are several year-round cabins at the resort. We like Cabin 7 for its vistas, porch, and easy access to trails and the pub.
Big Bog State Recreation Area is home to the biggest peat bog (hence, the name) in the 48 contiguous United States, as well as incredible year-round birdwatching. Make a winter trip to espy a moose, gray wolf, or great gray owl. Book Cabin 5 for a little seclusion and Tamarac River views.
Not all winter cabin stays have to be rustic. In fact, some can be downright fancy. Take Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort, for example. Located in the heart of the Brainerd Lakes area, Kavanaugh’s cabins are all waterfront properties with easy access to cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. Or you can just cozy up by the fireplace.
If you’re visiting Flandrau State Park during the winter, why not make a weekend of it? The bottomlands of the Big Cottonwood River offer excellent cross-country skiing and the heated Hackberry Haven cabin will keep you cozy and warm, Thursday through Sunday.
If you want to explore Minnesota’s Bluff Country this winter, head over to Cedar Valley Resort. This family resort is located just outside the gorgeous town of Lanesboro and has 11 cabins available for rent. Cross-country skiing, fat biking, and some of the state’s best trout fishing are all within easy reach of the resort.
Jay Cooke State Park, located just south of Duluth, has five year-round cabins available for rental. You wouldn’t suspect that this wild place, stretched along the banks of the thundering St. Louis River, is just minutes from Spirit Mountain ski area, Lake Superior, and the gateway to the North Shore. We like the seclusion and trail access that the Gabbro cabin offers.
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There are four year-round camper cabins in Lake Carlos State Park. Available Thursday through Sunday during the winter, a cabin will ensure that you stay toasty during your visit to the park. The Eagle Aerie Cabin affords easy access to cross country and snowmobile trails, as well as Lake Carlos itself.
Mille Lacs Kathio State Park makes for a fun-filled winter getaway. Not only is it home to some of the best cross-country ski trails in the park system, it also boasts an awesome sledding hill for those who prefer a faster ride. Cabin 5 offers great trail access and is within easy hiking, skiing, or snowshoeing distance of the Rum River and Ogechie Lake.
If you’re looking for winter lodging that isn’t quite a tent and isn’t quite a cabin, book one of the year-round yurts at Cuyuna Country Recreation Area. The wood-heated, canvas-walled yurts will keep you cozy in the cold while creating a more rustic experience than that of a cabin. Don’t forget your Nordic skis and fat bike—miles of groomed trails cross-cross Cuyuna Country.
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