Good Iowa Rental Cabins?
September 27, 2007 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a rental cabin(s) in east Iowa or west Illinois around New Years for 20-25 people?

Some of my friends and I would like to spend a 3-7 days around and including New Years together in a cabin within 3 hours of Iowa City and/or Chicago. We're looking for something relatively secluded, well maintained, one place or two places near each other, at least one large room where everyone can hang out together and then individual bedrooms for sleeping, ideally somewhat distant from what will effectively be the party room(s). We'd like something comfortable, not too fancy, stocked with cookware, linens, etc. A hot tub would be nice. Or a fire pit outside would be good.

We've found a few places searching online, but nothing especially appealing yet. Much of it is either too many places close together (we don't want neighbors), too small (single family), too big (corporate retreat), or something else not quite right. It's also hard to tell what a place is actually like from a few photos. So I'm ideally looking for some personal recommendations. But if you just know of a good way to search for such a place, that would help too.
posted by scottreynen to Travel & Transportation around Iowa (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I recall (many, many years ago) hiking around Backbone State Park and encountering an area where they were building rental cabins. Backbone is one of the most beautiful parts of eastern Iowa. My memory on this is sketchy. But some research should reveal results.

One caveat: Iowa in December is cold. Like, freeze your ass of cold. Like, the kind of cold that makes your testicles want hibernate until the Spring thaw. Is a cabin really what you guys are looking for? Why not just kick it in Iowa City or Chicago?
posted by quadog at 1:43 AM on September 28, 2007

I guess we like cold? We've done this before in someone's personal cabin and enjoyed it. But that's not available this year. I haven't found any info about rental cabins in Backbone State Park. It's not really that important that it be a formal cabin. I was just using that as shorthand for a secluded place in the woods. We tend to get a bit obstreperous.
posted by scottreynen at 7:18 AM on September 28, 2007

Backbone has neat cabins. I'm not sure they're open in the winter and can't remember if they have fireplaces or heaters. Loud Thunder by Andalusia, IL has year round cabins, but I'm pretty sure those are run by the local boy scout council and may not be amenable to alcohol.

Have you thought about buying out a B&B or small motel? There are still a few 50's era motels struggling along highway 30 (and elsewhere) that might appreciate the business. While it wouldn't be camping, it could still be campy.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 8:43 AM on September 28, 2007

Might try looking at I have found some interesting places there. Here's a link to the Illinois page.
posted by sulaine at 9:37 AM on September 28, 2007

White Pines State Park. This place is really neat, the prices aren't bad at all, and there are only 3 big-ish cabins. The only disadvantage is that the awesome restaurant isn't open on New Year's weekend. I'm sure you can figure something out.
posted by InnocentBystander at 4:47 PM on September 29, 2007

Thanks InnocentBystander, that looks like a great place and a great location.
posted by scottreynen at 9:38 PM on September 29, 2007

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