By Wade Ellett, Let’s Move QC Outdoors Adventure Blogger
Camping is a great way to enjoy some time away from jobs and clocks and reconnect with nature. But for those who are a no-go for tents and latrines, there’s a new term that may speak to you: Glamping. Think cabins with fireplaces. Maid service. Fresh towels. Sound better?
While I prefer a night under the stars, if you’re trying to get family or friends interested in the outdoors, but they’re not ready to rough it, you do have other options. Instead of “roughing it,” you could try to “smooth it” by spending the day active outside, but returning to a cabin or lodge for the night.
Smoothing or glamping it has its own drawbacks: It’s more expensive, you’ll need to book further in advance, and you may not get to sleep next to a campfire.
Still, if you’re looking for a good place for a family outing, a romantic getaway, or just a nice mini-vacation away from work, here are a few nearby cabins and lodges that might be right for you.
Scott County Park Pine Grove Cabins, Eldridge, IA
You don’t have to go far to find a great cabin. Two luxury rental cabins are available right in Scott County Park!
With 864 square feet of living space, they have 2 bedrooms (but can comfortably sleep up to 6 people, thanks to a fold-out queen size sofa bed in the living room), a full modern bathroom with shower, a comfy living room, full kitchen with major appliances, and fireplace.
You can also enjoy the large deck, complete with an outdoor table and gas grill, or you can stay nice and cool (or warm and toasty, depending on the time of year) inside, with full heat and air conditioning.
In my previous post about summer camping, I mentioned some of the activities to be enjoyed at Scott County Park, including swimming, hiking, and mountain biking. To use the cabins, you’ll need a reservation, which you can make here.
The Wapsi River Center Kestrel Cabin, Dixon, IA
Tucked inside the Wapsi River Center, you’ll find the Kestrel Cabin.
Close to home, this 728 square foot cabin sleeps up to 6. The bedroom has a queen size mattress and 2 twin size bunk beds. A fold-out, queen-size sofa bed is in the main room.
Also included is a modern bathroom with shower, a full kitchen with appliances and cooking utensils, a covered porch, heat and air conditioning, a picnic table, and a fire ring.
Firewood will be provided, but you’ll need to bring bedding or sleeping bags.
During your stay, you’ll have access to hiking, canoeing or kayaking on the Wapsipinicon River (though you’ll have to supply your own watercraft), snowshoeing in the winter, a shooting range, as well as all the educational services and facilities available at the Wapsi Center.
Enjoy the Wapsi Center, spend some time outside, then head back to your cabin and sit outside by the fire until you’re ready to call it a night.
Call 563-328-3286 for reservations.
White Pines Inn, Oregon, IL
In the Rock River Valley, you’ll find White Pines Forest State Park, home to White Pines Inn.
Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the lodge and 25 restored cabins are historic, beautiful, and cozy.
Thirteen of the cabins are one-room each with a private bathroom. The other 12 have four rooms that are individually rented. The four rooms each have their own entrance and bathroom, but they have doors connecting them, so they’re well suited for families or large groups of friends.
You’ll have heat, air conditioning, TVs, and mini-fridges in your cabin, as well as a gas log fireplace.
When you’re ready for a meal, you can head over to the White Pines Inn Lodge Restaurant, where you’ll find incredible home-style cuisine, dinner theatre, and the area’s largest breakfast buffet from 8 until noon every Sunday. Throughout the park there are numerous hiking trails and “fords” where cars can drive through streams.
To make reservations, go here.
Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, IL
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Starved Rock Lodge offers a number of options for your stay.
There are 41 rooms available in the Lodge wing, all built in the 1930s. All Lodge wing rooms have a private bathroom, table and chairs, and some feature a sitting area that look out through a large bay window.
There are also 28 rooms in the Hotel wing, which offer the same amenities as the Lodge Wing rooms, but are slightly more spacious, and more modern in appearance.
Finally, there are 21 cabin rooms available on the property. Some of these are Sunset Cabins, sitting amidst tall pine trees and mere steps from the trails. There are four individual rooms in each cabin, all booked individually.
Starved Rock also offer Two-Room Family Pioneer Cabins, with a fireplace in one room and a private bathroom. All the accommodations have air conditioning and heat.
While you’re there, enjoy the 13-mile trail system that gives you access to waterfalls, amazing overlooks, and abundant wildlife. Then you can return to your luxury accommodations or enjoy some fine dining.
For more information or booking, go here.
Backbone State Park, Dundee, IA
You’ll find plenty to do at Backbone State Park!
A 21-mile, multi-use trail system offers hiking in the summer months, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter. There’s mountain biking, rock climbing, and fishing available to you, and, of course, cabins for your stay.
There are 3 different types of cabins overlooking Backbone Lake. There are 8 one-bedroom family cabins that can sleep 4-6 on a double bed and a double futon sofa. There are 4 two-bedroom modern family cabins, that can sleep 6-8 on 2 queen beds and a futon. Finally, there are also 4 two-bedroom deluxe family cabins. These 2-story cabins share features of the modern cabins but can accommodate 9-11 on 2 full beds, one single bed, and 2 futons and a single.
All of the cabins have modern bathrooms, kitchens with pots and pans, heating and air conditioning, picnic tables and fire rings. You’ll be responsible for your own bedding, towels, dishes and utensils. You’ll also be responsible for cleaning the cabin before you leave.
For more information, or to make reservations, head here.
I’m always going to advocate for trying camping in a tent, or even without one. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to spend time away from home. But everyone is different, and maybe that kind of camping just isn’t for you, or you’re not quite ready for it.
That’s okay, I hope you’ll still get outside! Take some day-hikes, and, if you have the opportunity, consider staying in a cabin or lodge. You’ll be snug in a warm bed, under an actual roof, with indoor plumbing, but you’ll still have the great outdoors just a few steps away.
You never know, after a few visits, you may decide you don’t need that door between you and the woods after all!
|Meet Wade Ellett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Outdoor Blogger. Wade is an outdoor adventurer who shares his passion for QC outdoor adventures here! Read his other posts by clicking here.|