*Traveling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic increases your risk and the risk of those around you. Please be mindful and observe local restrictions, stock up on supplies and fuel close to home, wash your hands, WEAR A MASK, and practice social distancing with locals. Your safest bet: bookmark this article for 2021.
Ah, the Catskill Mountains. It’s more than just a scenic retreat for city dwellers. Under New York’s state constitution, this 286,000-acre stretch of forested land is protected by what’s colloquially known as the “forever wild” law. This means it will be preserved and protected for, well, forever. Pretty epic, right?
Located just a couple hours upstate of New York City along the Hudson River, the rolling Catskills landscape offers no shortage of awesome rental cabins—many of which owned and operated by design-obsessed city dwellers, meaning you'll feel right at home.Tucked away among the deciduous forests are AirBnb rentals a plenty- modern cabins, mid-century A-Frames, cozy cottages, rustic, real log cabins and some that can't quite be described.
And if you're the active type, everything from rock climbing and hiking to fly fishing and mountain biking are all easily within reach, whether you're posted up in Phonecia or channeling your inner artist near Woodstock in the Hudson Valley.
The cat might already be out of the bag, but there’s a lot of reasons to love visiting the Catskills (the legendary Phonecia Diner is reason enough, tbh) and just to be sure, we picked out the nine best Catskills cabin rentals on Airbnb so you barely have to think about it. And if your top picks are booked, spend a night at the Herwood Inn and you will not be disappointed. Who knows? Maybe some of the Catskills' forever wild-ness will rub off on you.
Vibe: Lofty Weekend Goals
Hidden within a thick buffer of pines sits this sculptural modern treehouse that’s characterized by a unique shape with natural light streaming in from all angles. Chill by the wood stove and take in the wide-open views from the living area’s floor-to-ceiling windows and, of course, a nice long soak in the wood-fired hot tub. Just pack lightly, because it’s still a treehouse, ya know?
Vibe: Eco-Friendly Retreat
Dubbed, “The Coolest A-Frame in New York” by the New York Post, this off-grid, solar-powered cabin is hygge to the max. An open-plan kitchen and dining area feels spacious yet cozy, with a clean and modern Scandinavian feel—like a proper A-Frame should. In the living room, gather around a white-painted brick fireplace with a cup of something strong.
Vibe: Contemporary Cabin
From the outside, The Pond House is a stunner of a modern cabin. On the inside, it’s just as cool. The cabin, designed and owned by a Brooklyn-based architect, is defined by corten steel exterior and sleek, largely open interior—which features massive slab dining table and geometric floating shelves crafted from felled sugar maple trees on the cabin’s 19-acre property, among other modern amenities.
Vibe: Forever Wild, Cat
Need a little space? The Wildcat Treetop Cabin is located on 1.5 acres of land with another hundred acres of that forever wild State Forest backing right up against it. Make sure to enjoy the Aztec cone outdoor firepit and lounge chairs out on the stone patio as much as you do the well-furnished renovated rooms that hearken back to its 1940's roots. This is what the Catskills are all about.
Vibe: Your MCM Is My MCM Too
This 1964 restored A-Frame is tastefully outfitted with a retro fireplace, mid-century furniture throughout, a light-filled kitchen and a unique double-spiral staircase. Take in the lakeside and forest views from the various floors of the house or venture into said nature and relax on the spacious patio. Dogs are welcome too, so don’t leave your furry lil friend behind!
Vibe: Urban Outfitters Cranked to 11
Get your barn on in this instagram-friendly, plant filled oasis. Built-in 1845 and recently renovated, this barnhouse/greenhouse maintains that rustic country cottage feel while incorporating elements of mid-century and contemporary design. Highlights include swings, a stony hearth, outdoor hot tub, fireplace and grill, outdoor dining table and many, many indoor plant friends.
Vibe: Rustic, But Make it Chic
For those who want a place that skews more whimsy than modern, escape NYC and book a peaceful weekend at the Pine Knoll Cottage. The wooden paneled walls and large stone fireplace only make this cozy retreat feel warmer. And speaking of retreats, be sure to unroll your mat in the detatched backyard yoga studio, just steps from the cottage. With three bedrooms, this is a good spot to crash with some friends after a ski day at nearby Windham Mountain.
Vibe: Simple and Serene
A perfect combination of good design with a down-to-earth vibe, this tiny home might air on the side of simplicity but it’s clear that every detail was considered. Beautiful wooden beams stretch across the ceiling in nearly every room and white shiplap walls provide a clean and bright aesthetic that effortlessly brings the outside in. Get outside and explore the nearby hiking trails or drive a short ways to meander down the artsy main street of Woodstock, NY.
Despite the no-frills nature of this mountainside tiny house, this cabin adds just the right amount with everything from a plush Queen-sized bed to a full kitchen and a bonafide study—tiny, of course. While the interior offers all the creature comforts you need for a relaxing stay, the property itself is quiet, quaint, and tucked away in the woods.
Vibe: An Elevated Escape
Located on painter Reginald Marsh's historic family estate, this two bedroom cabin is a departure from the traditional cabin aesthetic and design lovers will appreciate the concrete walls and mid-century details woven into the layout of this funky retreat. Appreciate both the mixed materials and the easy access to the river, pond, and sweeping mountain views of the Catskills, too. If this doesn't suit your fancy, book the larger Pond House nearby, on the same property.
Vibe: Wasting Away in Margeretville
Newly renovated, this dog-friendly woodland cabin is tucked away off a long, dirt road between Margaretville and Roxbury. Furnished cozily with mid-centrury pieces with some fun wall accents including some unique wall paper, it’s not gonna be hard to spend a weekend holed up in this tasteful space. With 15 acres to explore, an outdoor fireplace and close to the quaint New York towns and skiing in the winter.
Vibe: Old Meets New
The Watson House is an updated century-old farm house that delivers with its modern style and historic bones. If the bright and airy interior doesn’t boost your mood then some R+R in the hammock or sunroom will certainly do the trick. Keeping in line the country house vibe, an updated carriage house is also available for rent on the property, perfect for the quarantine crew who’d rather have their own space. And best of all, this property is just a short drive from the Peekamouse Mountain trailhead and locally famous Blue Hole swimming spot.
Looking for more cabins to rent around New York? Check out 7 Treehouses and Yurts For Rent in New York's Adirondack Mountains or 6 Unique Cabin Rentals in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains
Katherine Oakes Englishman is a writer, outdoor enthusiast, and yoga instructor based in Portland, Maine.