Cabins in Wisconsin

by Ethan Shaw

Staying in a cabin or rustic cottage in Wisconsin is a quintessential means of experiencing this beautiful and varied Midwestern state. From a cabin set on a small lake ringed by northern hardwood forest to a more deluxe cottage in a resort-like setting, the array of options is sure to fulfill the expectations and needs of most vacationers.


Cabin and cottage rentals are distributed across the state, though the greatest concentrations lie in northern Wisconsin -- the most heavily wooded and lake-strewn portion of the state. Many lodgings, in fact, sit on a lakeshore. Some of the cottages of the Inn on Madeleine Island complex stand within view of the biggest lake of them all, Lake Superior -- good choices for those wishing to gaze into the stormy, powerful reaches of that inland sea. The cabins at Aberdeen Lodge sit on a quieter waterway, 1,500 feet along the Manitowish Chain of Lakes near Manitowish Waters. Not all cabins are in the Northwoods, though: the Crazy Horse Campground, for example, along the Sugar River in south-central Wisconsin, offers a chain of basic camping cabins and deluxe cottages on its acreage.


The amenities of Wisconsin’s rental cabins and cottages vary widely. If you're seeking a primitive experience, you might consider the rustic cabins operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at Copper Falls and Blue Mounds state parks. But many Wisconsin cabins have their fair share of amenities: the Cranberry Cabin on the grounds of the Arpin Cranberry Campground near the Black River State Forest in central Wisconsin, for example, boasts satellite TV, an equipped kitchen and a fire pit.

Attractions and Activities

However long your stay at the cabin, you'll have plenty to occupy yourself with -- especially in terms of outdoor activities. Wisconsin's forests, prairies and wetlands are wonderful places to hike, snowshoe or ski through. At the North Haven Country Cottage in northwestern Wisconsin, for example, you'll be situated just north of the Chequamagon National Forest (managed together with the Nicolet National Forest in the northeastern part of the state), which has miles of trails, remote lakes and deep woods. Sharp-eyed visitors who hike trails or drive quietly on back roads may spot wildlife like fishers, black bears, bobcats or even gray wolves.


Consider the season when planning to vacation in a Wisconsin cabin or cottage. Summertime offers the advantage of ice-free lakes for casual fishing and boating, though you’ll generally be contending with mosquitoes and other biting insects. Thunderstorms and muggy temperatures are other considerations of the season. Spring and fall are often pleasant, though springtime may feature heavy and powerful storms. Winter can be cold and blizzard prone, but the coziness of a cabin fireplace and snowbound woods make it a popular time for such retreats.