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Best in Decorah: Dry Run Cabin – See Rates at Airbnb
"This spacious log cabin provides a great home base for exploring area attractions, incuding hiking trails and downtown Decorah."
Best Waterfront: Lake Cornelia Cabin – See Rates at Airbnb
"Take in the views from the upper-level balcony or the large private dock, which is right outside the door and has a picnic table."
Best for Families: Village Creek Lodge – See Rates at Airbnb
"With five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and living room, a laundry room, and a basement game room, theres room for everyone here."
Best for Large Groups: Moose Lodge – See Rates at Airbnb
"It’s really the sprawling deck with a grill, a fire pit, lounge chairs, and even an outdoor dining table that stand out."
Best for Romance: Luxury Cabin Seclusion – See Rates at Airbnb
"While the rental has rustic elements like wood walls and a wood-beamed ceiling, its decor is quite elegant."
Best in Bluff Country: Hidden Hollow – See Rates at Airbnb
"Enjoy 158 private acres of Bluff Country land, including a private pond, at this three-bedroom cabin in McGregor."
Best Historic Stay: Trout River Log Cabin – See Rates at Airbnb
"While the cabin has been updated with electricity, there’s no TV or WiFi—guests are encouraged to go hiking in the area and swim."
Best Near Des Moines: Iconic Iowa 1920-Built Cabin – See Rates at Airbnb
"The location is ideal for both outdoor adventures—the Great Western Bike Trail is nearby—as well as urban ones in Des Moines."
Best for Activities: The Patriot at Whispering Meadows Resort – See Rates at Airbnb
"Don’t be fooled by the cabin’s single bedroom—there’s actually 1,500 square feet of space and enough beds for 10 guests."
Our Top Picks
Best Waterfront: Lake Cornelia Cabin
1 trundle bed
1 floor mattress (Double)
Set right on the waters of Lake Cornelia in Clarion, a town about an hour of Des Moines, this cozy cabin has all-wood interiors featuring one private bedroom, a loft, a small kitchen, and a living room.
Take in the views from the upper-level balcony or the large private dock that's right outside the door and has a picnic table. That means you'll have super easy access to the water, which is perfect for a summertime cool-down.
The rental is just a short walk from Lake Cornelia Park, a public ground that has a playground and a beach if you want to get away from your private side of the lake, and a short drive from hiking and snowmobiling trails.
The cabin also provides a great educational opportunity to learn about the history of the state and its agriculture, as it sits right nearby Clarion's Heartland Museum, where kids can learn all about the history of midwestern farming, play around on tractors, and explore the plains.
Best for Families: Village Creek Lodge
1 double bed
1 Twin bed
1 sofa bed
Bring the whole family to the Village Creek Lodge, a spacious cabin in Lansing, a town along the Mississippi River, with five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and living room, a laundry room, and a basement game room with a pool table. The cabin is also home to an above-ground outdoor pool, plus an indoor hot tub, so it's perfect for aquatic relaxation in both the warm and cold months.
The cabin is painted in pastels, with simple, homey antique furniture decorating the large communal living areas. The fireplace is the center of the communal space, providing for some great opportunities for family time.
The cabin is only a seven-minute drive from town, where you’ll find restaurants, shopping, and the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center, a local museum dedicated to teaching visitors about the local ecology, natural history, and history of the native peoples of the region.
Best for Large Groups: Moose Lodge
1 bunk bed
Private fishing pond
With five bedrooms across this 3,000-square-foot Amish-built cabin in Harpers Ferry, there’s plenty of room for you, your family, and even your friends. While the interiors are quite roomy, it’s really the sprawling deck with a grill, a fire pit, lounge chairs, and even an outdoor dining table that stands out.
Plus, the cabin overlooks both a private two-acre pond that’s open for fishing and a valley below. Even though it's unlikely you'll be cramped inside, there's still more than plenty of room for outdoor activities right outside your doorstep.
Harpers Ferry, a small town that lies along the Mississippi River and the border with Wisconsin, is home to restaurants like Spillway Supper Club supper American food like burgers, and Barry's Ice Cream, a shop that's perfect for a treat after dinner in town.
Best for Romance: Luxury Cabin Seclusion
This cozy cabin located 25 minutes outside of Decorah in northeast Iowa is a secluded retreat that’s ideal for a romantic weekend getaway. The rental has rustic elements like wood walls and a wood-beamed ceiling, but its decor is quite elegant and even a little feminine. However, the star of the show here is the hot tub on the covered front porch, from which you can gaze out onto the property and catch sight of deer, coyotes, and even bald eagles, or just watch the sunset from.
Head into downtown Decorah if you need to spread your legs, where you can eat out at Stone Hearth Inn, a fine-dining restaurant that serves dishes like the Prime Rib Dinner with Texas Toast, and cheese curds inspired by the cuisine of neighboring Wisconsin.
Best in Bluff Country: Hidden Hollow
Enjoy 158 private acres of spacious Bluff Country land in northeast Iowa at this three-bedroom cabin in McGregor. This rental even comes with its own private pond, if you're keen to fish nearby or just relax by taking a dip in the water.
With decor that combines rusticity with a touch of whimsy, plus details like a soaking tub and an elegantly landscaped back garden, Hidden Hollow is perfect for meditative retreats or a quiet weekend away. There are stone and rock features that help create an open backyard, meaning you'll have plenty of space to relax and enjoy the forest wilderness.
If you feel like being adventurous, you can explore the many hiking trails throughout the property. Dogs are welcome here, too!
Best in Decorah: Dry Run Cabin
With three bedrooms, including one in a loft, a kitchen, a double-height living room, and a wrap-around porch, there’s plenty of room for your entire group at this spacious log cabin in Decorah, Iowa, a town in the northeast end of the state. Guests rave about the kitchen, in particular, since it's well-stocked with equipment like an oven, microwave, and full cutlery. If you're cooking for a lot of people, the provisions here are sure to be handy.
The rental has a classic log-cabin aesthetic, with homey decor warming up the space. The cabin's wealth of windows helps to light up the open plan of the bottom floor and they provide a much needed indoor-outdoor connection.
The cabin provides a great home base for exploring area attractions, from the Trout Run Trail, which loops around the historic city, just a mile away, to the downtown area’s art, music, wine and beer, and dining scenes, just two miles away.
In town, visit the Bluff County Artist's Gallery for a taste of the local art scene, or head to the Empty Nest Winery and McCaffrey's Dolce Vita for the town's best wine and pizza, respectively.
Best Near Des Moines: Iconic Iowa 1920-Built Cabin
2 bunk beds
1 sofa bed
Set at the start of the Madison County Covered Bridges Scenic Byway, an 82-mile long highway that visits some of the most historic bridges in America, this cabin was built in the 1920s. Despite its age, it features a number of modern amenities, notably a game/media room with foosball and a big-screen TV and a modern chef’s kitchen.
The location is ideal for both outdoor and urban adventures, as the Great Western Bike Trail and Iowa's capital Des Moines are both right nearby. Proximity to Des Moines means that the cabin is just 25-minutes from some the best dining and entertainment in the state, including locally-famed Italian restaurant Lucca and the Des Moines Art Center, which houses famed works from artists like Joseph Beuys and John Baldessari.
Most Historic Stay: Trout River Log Cabin
Take a trip back in time with a stay at Trout River Log Cabin, built in the 1850s by Norwegian immigrants. Norwegians have a long history in Iowa, having been pushed out of their home country due to economic pressures, immigrating to the midwestern United States to become farmers.
While the cabin was originally a Norwegian-Lutheran parochial school, it’s since been converted into a lovely vacation rental, with a small kitchen, an upstairs bedroom, and a split bathroom (there’s a toilet downstairs and a shower upstairs).
Just outside Decorah, the cabin is a great escape and an opportunity to unwind and disconnect, as even though it's updated with electricity for maximal comfort, there’s no TV or WiFi. So, guests are encouraged to go hiking in the area and swim in the Trout River and reconnect with nature.
Best for Activities: The Patriot at Whispering Meadows Resort
The listing for this one-bedroom cabin at Whispering Meadows Resort in Spragueville can be deceptive, but there’s actually 1,500 square feet of space and enough beds for 10 guests. The cabin's insides feature copious lofted space for extra sleeping room, and decor ranges from colorful quilts to an ornamental tree stump erupting out of the floorboards.
While the interior of the cabin is large and you're likely to never run out of things to do during your stay at The Patriot, you’ll still probably be spending the majority of your time elsewhere on the 200-acre property and adjacent lands. With frisbee golf, ATVs, snowmobiling, hiking trails, a fishing pond, and even an event pavilion, there is so much to do in the surrounding area and in the resort that you won't want to stay home.