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Iowa State Parks offer great winter cabin getaways

  • 12/7/2016 10:23:00 AM
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The quiet solitude that makes a perfect winter getaway is waiting for you in beautiful, comfortable year-round cabins at several Iowa state parks. It’s a great time to take advantage of trails for hiking, skiing, snowmobiling and wildlife watching. And many of the parks have great ice fishing lakes.

During the winter, these year-round cabins are available to rent for two-day minimums, starting as low as $35 per day. Visitors will need to bring bedding, towels and some cooking utensils. Some cabins are handicapped-accessible and pet friendly. The number of people each cabin can accommodate ranges between 2 and 10, depending on the type of cabin. 

Cabins can be reserved up to a year in advance, so if you missed out on a fall or winter opportunity, now is the time to look ahead for 2017 reservations.

Year-round cabins are available at these state parks:

Six brand new, fully furnished, modern family cabins at Lake Darling State Park in Washington County are open and waiting for visitors.  Each cabin sleeps six, with two bedrooms, a full kitchen and bathroom, heating and air conditioning. The park is a great place for a winter getaway with a number of hiking trails, including the new ADA-accessible pathway that follows the lakeshore.

Winter is a great time to experience northeast Iowa’s Backbone State Park, with its extensive trail system, including groomed snowmobile trails and beautiful trout stream. The park has 16 year-round cabins, including 4 deluxe cabins that sleep nine, 4 two-bedroom family cabins that sleep six, and 8 one-bedroom cabins that sleep up to 4. Cabins book quickly for the weekends and holidays, but for those who have the flexibility of taking off during the week, choices can be good. Rental prices during the winter season range from $50 to $100 per night. 

Black Hawk State Park, in west-central Iowa’s Sac County, has one deluxe four-bedroom family cabin that can sleep 10 people comfortably for $100 per night.  Likewise, Springbrook State Park’s spacious Sherburne Cabin is ideal for large family gatherings. The cabin sleeps up to 10 and features four bedrooms, a full kitchen, huge living room and large deck. The Sherburne Cabin rents for $200 per night in the winter.

For those willing to rough-it a bit, Honey Creek State Park, in Appanoose County, has two camping cabins available in the winter months. They are each heated and sleep five for $35 per night. Camping cabins are not equipped with running water, modern restrooms or showers inside, however Honey Creek’s camping cabins are located next to the campground’s heated shower/restroom building, and a water hydrant with potable water is located outside each cabin. Kitchen facilities are limited to a small refrigerator and microwave. 

Honey Creek Resort State Park has 28 one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury cottages and may be reserved throughout the year with no minimum-day restrictions. Bedding and TVs are included and the amenities of the resort, including the restaurant and indoor waterpark, can be enjoyed as part of the rental. Details are available and reservations can be made at or by calling 877-677-3344. 

Lake of Three Fires, with its lake and oak/hickory timber, creates a relaxing southern Iowa atmosphere. The eight miles of trails around the lake are snowmobile and equestrian friendly. And the park’s six year-round studio cabins, each accommodating four, are just waiting for the winter visitor. Each cabin rents for $50 per night. 

The two-bedroom, cedar-sided cabin #13 is a designated year-round cabin tucked in the quiet wooded hillsides of Lake Wapello State Park in Davis County. The cabin sleeps six and rents for $85 per night.  The park has plenty of trails to wander during your stay, including seven miles of lake shore trail. With snow on the ground, this park becomes a popular winter spot for cross-country skiing. 

The four cabins at Pine Lake State Park, in Hardin County, are located along the banks of the Iowa River and are perfect for cozy, cold-weather getaways. These classic stone and timber structures, with their wood-burning fireplaces, have a charm that is unmatched. The two studio-sized cabins sleep two to four people for $65 per night, and the two one-bedroom cabins can sleep four comfortably for $75 per night. 

Union Grove State Park, in Tama County, recently completed a major lake renovation and the park’s two new one-bedroom cabins are available to reserve for $75 per night. Hiking, snowmobiling and wildlife watching are popular outdoor activities – but with the cabin’s luxury accommodations, you might not want to leave. 

Waubonsie State Park, about as far southwest as you can get in Iowa, has two cabins that sleep up to 10 and six for $85 per night. Both have stone, wood-burning fireplaces to warm up beside after of day exploring this nearly 2,000-acre park. Waubonsie has one of the most rare and beautiful vistas of the unique Loess Hills landform, and is part of the National Lewis and Clark Historic Trail. 

Two camping cabins are also available year-round at Waubonsie. Both have stone, wood-burning fireplaces and one is a two-bedroom cabin that can accommodate up to 10 people for $50 per night, the other is $35 per night. Please note, however, there is no nearby heated shower/restroom, only an outside pit latrine. Waubonsie’s camping cabins may appeal to only the hardiest individuals. 

For more details about each park, cabin amenities and availability, visit the Iowa state park reservation system at or call 1-877-427-2757.