The cold-weather months have officially arrived and most of Chicago is staying close to home due to COVID-related restrictions. For a change of scenery or maybe even a quick getaway without the kids, escape to a sweet cabin in the woods. We found cabins, cottages and even a converted grain bin close to Chicago to unplug and schedule time amongst the trees and alongside lakes. Relax, unwind and say hey to Mother Nature.

MISSOURI

photo: Big Cedar Lodge

Big Cedar Lodge

This spot is a bit of a hike from Chicago, but it is so great we felt it was worth a share. Plus, a road trip might be just what you need to break up the routine. A newbie to the glamping scene, Camp Long Creek at Big Cedar Lodge invites guests to get their glamp on near Missouri's Ozark Mountains with luxury glamping tents, camp huts and camp cabins. The definitely-not-roughing-it amenities include beach access and a pool during the summer months, a vintage airstream trailer that serves food & drinks and a must-have s'mores kit upon arrival. They also have programming for families that include scavenger hunts and guided adventures along the Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail. 

For more information, visit them online at bigcedar.com.

MICHIGAN

Barn of Three Oaks

This may not be a cabin, but a barn is just as fun! Barn of Three Oaks is situated between Three Oaks and New Buffalo, MI, and close to Lake Michigan, restaurants, distilleries, wineries and breweries and boutique shopping. Oh, and stunning sunsets. Come ready for family movie nights in front of the TV that's ready to stream and game nights at the shuffleboard table. A wood-burning fireplace keeps things warm and cozy. 

The Barn has 3 bedrooms and sleeps up to 8 guests.

For more information, visit them at airbnb.com

Farmhouse Cottage in Sawyer

Sawyer, MI is located just over an hour from Chicago, a little past New Buffalo. They've recently seen an uptick in new shops and restaurants, making it a good spot to check out any time of year. This farmhouse cottage in is bikeable to local beaches, wineries, distilleries and outdoor adventures. It's stylish and modern and looks out over 14 acres of scenic barn, pasture and woods. It has a great setup if you want to shop for groceries to make dinner at home or there are great local dining options if you don't. 

We recommend checking out Peasant's Pantry for breakfast, lunch and take-home options, Susan's for dinner and Infusco for a caffeine jolt. 

For more information, visit them at airbnb.com.

Fuller’s Resort and Campground on Clear Lake

This awesome glampsite in Buchanan, MI, is just over an hour outside of Chicago for those who need to get away from it all, and fast! With various glamping options from an authentic log cabin to major luxe-living in the cottages that include beds, bathrooms with showers, full kitchens, cable TV and air conditioning, you can pick your family’s level of outdoorsy-ness when you book your trip. Although the log cabin doesn’t have a kitchen or bathroom like in 1835 when it was built, it’s the most popular rental onsite so grab while you can. They take reservations up to a year in advance.

For more information, visit them at fullersresort.com

WISCONSIN

KOA Wisconsin Dells

The waterpark capital of the world has 3,200 campsites (really!). Start at this franchise which, because of its friendly, hands-on owners, makes campers feel they are being hosted at a mom-and-pop. Located just a mile or so north of downtown, you are close to the Dells action (mini golf, arcades and more) but remote enough to bask in the company of tall trees and the winding Wisconsin River.

Onsite there is a heated pool with a splash pad, free Wi-Fi, fun-cycle rentals, a game room and nightly outdoor family movies during the summer months.

Park your camper at a long, level pull-thru with a patio and cable TV hookup; or relax on a beautiful, shaded RV site. Camping cabins and deluxe cabins are equipped with AC/heat. Visitors love the trees, immaculate restrooms with showers and full-sized propane grills. 

For more information, visit them at koa.com.

Door County Cabins at Plum Bottom

Chicagoans might think of Door County as a summer retreat, but don't discount this area for a winter escape. Not as many shops are open and you won't be lounging at the beach, but the much smaller crowd has its benefits. You can still enjoy many of the shops in the small towns that dot Door County, as well as many tap rooms, wineries and distilleries open for tastings. The lake views and landscape are much different in the winter months, but no less beautiful. 

Door County Cabins at Plum Bottom offers three different sleeping options in Egg Harbor, a cabin, a cottage and a treehouse. When in Egg Harbor, be sure to stop into Big Easy for fresh beignets that will make you feel like you woke up in New Orleans. 

For more information, visit them at doorcountycabins.com.

ILLINOIS

The Has Bin

Oh, man. This place is adorable. Just over two hours away in Alvin, IL is The Has Bin. What used to be a grain bin is now an adorable bed & breakfast with a prepared breakfast included in your stay. It's great for train lovers because there's a train that runs directly behind the bin with great views from the upper back deck. The bedroom is located in a loft with access to a beautiful deck. Bring s'mores supplies to enjoy the firepit and scenic farm. 

For more information, visit them at airbnb.com.

Starved Rock

Starved Rock is about as rocky as Illinois gets and is characterized by sandstone rock formations, 18 canyons, waterfalls and views of the Illinois River. You'll love walking in the quiet forest, home to deer, birds, squirrels and rabbits. Plus, tons of beautiful wildflowers blooming all around you during warmer months. One benefit of a cold-weather visit is a chance to see the thousands of Eagles that migrate yearly from Canada. 

The Civilian Conservator Corps built the log cabins you'll find at Starved Rock in 1930. The knotty pine paneling and charm will take you back to simpler times, nestled under towering pines and century-old oaks. 

For more information, visit them online at starvedrockstatepark.org.

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

With play equipment and character meet-and-greets—all against the backdrop of unspoiled Northern Illinois—a trip to Jellystone is more like a theme-park vacay that incidentally includes camping.

Mini golf, hayrides, arts and crafts, outdoor movies, a playground, numerous pools (including one just for kiddies), a game room, bonfires and appearances by the furry bear character clan shouldn’t be missed.

Tent sites are available with or without electricity and less rustic cabins are available for rental.

For more information, visit them online at jellystonechicago.com.

Kinnikinnick Farm

Kick it Little House on the Prairie-style at Kinnikinnick Farm where you can glamp on a real working farm. Only an hour-and-a-half northwest of Chicago, the farm-stay program will have your kids picking eggs, feeding pigs and milking goats. The accommodations are a cross between a log cabin and a classic tent with running water and an insulated chest that functions as a refrigerator. You’ll have to fend without electricity during your visit but with so many fun farm-centric activities, we’re guessing your kids won’t even notice.

This spot is available May-October and it's recommended you join their waiting list for 2021 stays.

For more information, visit them at kinnikinnickfarm.grazecart.com

INDIANA

Turkey Run Inn

Three hours away in Bloomingdale, IN, you'll find Turkey Run State Park. Trails wind through ravines, sandstone gorges and exposed bedrock, accessed by an unbelievable suspension bridge. This is truly one of the Midwest's natural wonders, best seen on horseback or canoe. Flowing through the heart of the park, scenic Sugar Creek is great for beginning paddlers.

Fill your days with hiking, horseback riding and canoeing, fishing and a swimming pool when the weather allows. You'll find campsites with electrical hookups and modern restrooms with showers. Cabins and cabin rooms are available through the Turkey Run Inn.

For more information, visit them online at in.gov.

— Maria Chambers, with additional reporting by Amy Bizzarri

RELATED STORIES:
Hit the Trails! Best Hikes with Kids No Matter the Season

Chicago-Inspired Names for Those Quarantine Babies

25 Cozy Cabins to Relax & Unplug with the Fam