For when you want starry skies and knotty pine
Summer and autumn, when the Los Angeles basin swelters, are the ideal seasons for a mountain getaway, no chains required.
If you’re pining for starry skies, solitude, hiking trails, and relief from the heat, you’ll find plenty of vacation rentals in elevations high above Los Angeles. Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite picks in Big Bear, Idyllwild, and Lake Arrowhead—three quaint destinations all within a two-hour drive of Downtown LA.
For more local travel inspiration, check out our map of charming small towns around Southern California and our guide to the desert.
This sweet little A-frame in Lake Arrowhead is a quintessential cabin, without too much kitsch. The interior has vintage charm: an old turquoise oven, knotty pine, and exposed brick. But the decor skews midcentury, keeping it fresh. It holds two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a deck with a jacuzzi. It rents for $173 per night on weekends.
If you want to sip pina coladas on your mountain respite, this is the place for you. The studio cabin in Idyllwild includes access to a funky but fun “tiki hut treehouse” and bar. But that’s not even the wildest detail. The cabin and lodge sit on the same property as the David Cabin—the first project built by starchitect Frank Gehry. The nightly rental rate: $110.
The location here is just as ideal as the cabin itself. Per the listing, the Idyllwild residence sits on an acre of land—with a seasonal stream—and is walking distance to town. Built in the 1960s, the darling A-frame features a “fun spiral staircase,” wood oven, and jacuzzi. The nighty rate is $229.
The owners of this 1870s cabin in Big Bear claim it’s the oldest wooden building in Southern California. Even if it’s not, the two-bedroom with a shingled exterior retains the look of a vintage homestead. Inside, there’s a typewriter, 1930s oven, clawfoot tub, and “a hand-built stone hearth.” It rents for $135 a night.
“A completely unique architectural wonder,” this handsome cabin in Idyllwild is perched atop boulders and boasts dazzling nighttime views of city lights. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom minimalist residence features soaring ceilings, a “protruding granite wall,” fireplace, “hand-built lighting,” and hot tub. It rents for $159 per night.
“This isn’t your Aunt Sally’s stuffy cabin,” the listing copy says. Agreed. It’s more like your hipster brother Chet-with-a-mustache’s retro-inspired cabin. The two-bedroom home in Big Bear is filled with midcentury modern-inspired furniture and a stone fireplace. Plus, it provides super easy access to to a couple of different forest trails. The nightly rate? $140.
Floor-to-ceiling windows flood this stylish and spacious remodeled cabin in Idyllwild with light and provide “an intimate connection to the outdoors.” The Idyllwild pad holds three bedrooms and features a hot tub on a wraparound deck. The cost to rent is $375 per night.
Watch: An Old Cabin Becomes A Family Getaway