How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Cabin? I’ll tell you

How much does it cost to rent a cabin?  Well, obviously that question is too broad to answer definitively in two paragraphs, but I’ll do my best.

I looked at a bunch of rental cabins all around the United States.  Some were in really remote places while others were in destination resort towns.  I looked at waterfront cabins with their own dock and cabins up in the mountains, far from the water.  And when it boils down to it, I found that the average cabin with room for 4-6 guests costs about $175 per night to rent.  And the cleaning fee that they tack on to the cost of your stay is just over $100 on average.  But obviously the cost of where you choose to stay is going to vary substantially.  So here are some of the things that make some cabins more or less expensive than others.

How Luxurious is the Cabin

Believe it or not, this seems to be one of, if not the biggest factor in determining how much a cabin costs to rent.  Not the size.  Not the location.  But how luxurious it is.

I found a 2-bedroom glass cabin in New England that goes for $500 per night just for regular weeknights.  Weekends and Holidays were a lot more.

So if you’re on a budget for your vacation, worry less about your destination location and more about the level of luxury you seek.  Believe it or not there are some awesome deals on cabin rentals even in some pretty high-end destinations.

How Many People are Staying with You

Most cabins I found have some number where the rate is flat until that point.  Some cabins can fit up to 4 people but charge more for any more than 2 guests.  So the flat rate is only for the first to and each additional may be $15 or even $50.

I saw this was really common for larger cabins that accommodate 6 or more people.  Some lodges I found can even sleep 12 or more.  But they charge extra after 5 people.

This added cost is typically listed up-front so you shouldn’t be caught by surprise.  But just be aware that you will probably pay more if your group is larger than the base number on the listing, even if the cabin has plenty of space to accommodate you.

Location, Location, Location

That said, your destination location will impact the cost of the cabin where you stay.  Just not that much.  You could find yourself paying an extra $60 per night to stay at Lake Tahoe versus staying somewhere less well known like Cascade, Idaho.  But we’re talking a difference of well under $100 for comparable cabins in these location.  Again, it’s the luxury that gets you.

How Big is the Cabin

The size of the cabin is also a factor.  The more bedrooms and bathrooms it has, the more it’ll cost.  That makes logical sense.  A cabin that can hold 4 people is worth a lot more if it has 3 rooms than if it only has 1.

What time of Year are you Going to a Cabin

I was a little surprised when I started looking at how much cabins cost to rent in different seasons.  I expected to see rates much higher in the most common vacation seasons of the year.  Particularly in late spring and throughout the summer.  What I was was actually quite different.

The seasonality of pricing has a lot to do with whether or not the cabin is on the water.

Some places attract a lot of vacationers and tourists in the summer.  These are usually lake destinations, mostly because of water sports and activities.  In these places, late fall and winter cabin rates tend to actually be lower than in the summer.  That makes sense and that’s what I expected to see.

What I didn’t think about was that a lot of other places attract vacationers in the winter because of the holidays and skiing.

So what I found is that if the cabin is in the mountains, the price tends to go up in the winter.  This is particularly true if it’s near a ski resort, but not that’s not always the case.  Even cabins in sloped areas advertise great sledding and charge higher rates in the winter.

Be Aware!  Cabin rental prices go up substantially for holidays.  I found this to be particularly true for the week of Christmas when cabins can cost 2 to 3 times what they cost the rest of the time.

Which Days of the Week will you Stay

Which days you choose to stay at a cabin also affects the nightly rate.  As you might expect, weekends cost more than weekdays at most (but not all) cabins.  By weekends, we’re talking about Friday night and Saturday night.  Sunday nights typically cost the same as weeknights.

Again, to save a few dollars I suggest you watch out for holidays and really common vacationing weeks like just after school gets out, right before it starts, and during spring break.

Is the Cabin Waterfront or Not

Surprisingly, this doesn’t actually impact cabin rental cost overall.  Staying at a cabin on a lake somewhere could cost almost exactly the same as staying at a comparable cabin up in the mountains.  However, it does matter if you plan to go somewhere where the water is a main attraction.

If you’re going to Lake Tahoe, staying right on the water will cost more than if you stay even a few streets away.  But the same is true for cabins in the mountains which are right on a ski resort versus those which are farther away.

It’s not that waterfront cabins are more desireable to everyone than other cabins.  The fact is that people are willing to pay more to stay right where the attraction is.

If you’re going to a big lake, then that’s the water.  And you should expect to pay more to have a waterfront cabin with dock access.

But if you’re going to a ski resort, you should also expect to pay more if you’re right on the resort versus staying in a cabin a few blocks away.

I’m a Total Nerd!

I approached this topic very scientifically because I’m a huge nerd.  I actually compiled data from rental cabins all around the United States and I ran a regression based on the variables in this article and a few others.  What I found is that the regression needs to be refined a bit.

Part of the reason is in the complexity of seasonality.  I assumed that the seasons of the year would have the same effect on most cabins.  But as we talked about in this article, that’s not the case.  Some cabins are more desireable for winter visits while others are more desirable for the summer.  The waterfront question was another.  The better variable is actually how close the cabin is to the primary attraction in the area.

Additionally, this regression would benefit from a lot more data.  The data is available.  It’s just going to take time to compile.  But before I do that, I would love your input.  What other variables should I consider?  What other things do you think might affect the rental price of a cabin?  Comment below.