If sheltering at home is giving you cabin fever, it might be time to get out of the house and drive to an actual cabin. While staying at home remains the safest and most responsible option to contain the spread of COVID-19, the boutique destinations listed below offer a socially distanced getaway with far fewer communal areas and points of contact than traditional hotels. Your best bet for a safe trip is to find a location you can reach without stopping. Only travel with people in your so-called bubble. Limit exposure to strangers—it’s not time to check into a resort and book a spa treatment—and wear a mask in places where you can’t.
Whether you’re booking a mini honeymoon after your Zoom wedding or just enjoying a weekend on the lake, there’s a way to fulfill your summer travel plans with care. It’s just going to be a little different this time around. Let us help you.
Grapevine is known for sprawling hotel-entertainment complexes like Great Wolf Lodge and the Gaylord Texan Resort, but there’s plenty to explore away from those crowds. Aside from the usual boating and fishing every lake offers, Lake Grapevine also has some of the most extensive hiking trails in the area. Take the day to hike the 9.5 mile North Shore Trail from Rockledge Park to Twin Coves Park or browse other trails here. If you’re not feeling adventurous enough for a hike in the wild, stroll down the Grapevine Public Art Trail through Historic Downtown Grapevine. (Cross the street or mask up when you see others.)
- Lake Cottage Decorated in black and white from the inside out with one bedroom and one bath. A front porch and back patio provides a space for enjoying self-cooked meals with a partner or family. From $199/night. 4 guests. Walkable distance from the lake.
- Jolly Cabin Eclectic, antique knickknacks overrun every room in this four bed, four bath cabin, giving it a quirky summer camp feeling. From $575/night. 8 guests. Walkable distance from the lake.
With two nature preserves adjacent to the lake, this area offers a disconnect you may be needing after checking your increasing screen time. For $5 per vehicle, check out the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area’s (LLELA) outdoor activities including fishing, wildlife viewing, and kayaking. With educational features like the Pocket Prairie Pollinator Garden and a log cabin, a trip to LLELA could even count as homeschooling. For more hiking, head to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. Those looking to catch some waves can visit Hydrous Wake Park, which is enforcing social distancing guidelines with a 16-person limit per two-hour session. Wrap up your days with a lakefront picnic at Little Elm Park. Stay the hell away from Party Cove.
- Retreat by the Lake Simple, cozy guesthouse with one bedroom and a sofa bed. From $99/night. 4 guests. Short drive to lake access.
- The Cottage at BonTerra Farms Located on a larger farm, this cottage is tucked into a forested patch of the property next to a creek. The screened porch allows visitors to enjoy nature from the house. From $125/night. 4 guests. Short drive to lake access.
Lake Ray Hubbard
Only a 20-minute drive from Downtown Dallas, Lake Ray Hubbard is close enough to order takeout from your favorite restaurants but surrounded by parks that allow you to enjoy all sorts of outdoor recreation. Try windsurfing at the titular Windsurf Bay Park. Get the family together for a game of volleyball at Lakeside Park. Samuell Farm also offers a paved hiking and biking trail, as well as fishing at its freshwater ponds.
- Sunset Lakehouse Modern home with open kitchen and family room to make hanging out with fellow travelers easy. From $200/night. 6 guests. Lake access right across the street.
In addition to fishing and boating on the water, Lake Texoma’s nearby state and national sites make it worthy of the 90 minute drive. Spot wildlife from the comfort of your car with an audio tour at the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge also serves as a popular destination for fishing and hiking. State parks like Eisenhower State Park are open for day use, so soak up the sun at its swimming cove. Check out Lake Texoma State Park for fishing as well, since fishing licenses are not required when fishing at a Texas state park.
- Rustic Retreat by the Lake Surrounded by a canopy of trees and with a fire pit outside, this cabin offers a glamping experience in its front yard. From $125/night. 8 guests. About a mile from the lake.
- Luxury Tiny Home This tiny home packs rustic luxury into its small square footage. While there are common spaces being developed on the property, there’s plenty of nature to enjoy by yourself. From $109/night. 6 guests. Within walking distance from the lake.
Lake Granbury boasts the closest thing North Texas has to an actual beach. Anybody who is missing the beach but not making a break for the Gulf can head over to Granbury City Beach Park. In addition to its sandy shores, the park also has rentals for paddleboards, kayaks, river tubes and bikes at Beachside Toys and Takeout. Whether you choose to shop at stores or eat at restaurants offering dine-in services, Historic Granbury Square offers a cute location to window shop from a safe distance.
- A-Frame Cabin This A-Frame style house has plenty of windows to help you feel connected to nature. There’s also cornhole games on-site for some away-from-home at-home entertainment. From $109/night. 6 guests. Lake access within less than a mile.
- Luxurious Loft This beautifully decorated loft in the town square offers a sleeker getaway than your typical cabin stay. From $99/night. 4 guests. Short drive to lake access.
Head an hour east of Dallas to Lake Tawakoni for a lakeside escape in the Piney Woods. This lake is home to Lake Tawakoni State Park, so pack your fishing gear and explore its miles of coastline. The park is also filled with easy walking trails, most under a mile, to get your nature fix without breaking much of a sweat. One of the area’s most popular attractions, Canton’s First Monday Trade Days, is currently taking steps to reopen.
- Upscale Cabin With two queen beds and two single beds, this cabin is sizable enough to host the whole family. While it’s a bit further from the lake, there is a pond nearby. From $189/night. 8 guests. Short drive to lake access.
Destinations Beyond DFW
About 3.5 hours from Dallas
‘Glamping’ is an ugly word, but it’s the only way to describe The Collective Hill Country, a luxury yurt resort just outside the charming town of Wimberley. The tents sit perched on wooden decks overlooking the Hill Country. They’re equipped with WiFi, real beds (and 1,500 thread-count linens), bathrooms with hot, running water, and eclectic decor. A complimentary, farm-to-fork breakfast is served in-tent each morning, and the resort also offers safely distanced dining options of open-air dinners (four person maximum) and barbecue picnics. All community events (including the organic farm tour, beer and branding class, and beverage experience) have been postponed, but you can still enjoy hikes around the property, campfire s’mores, horse riding on the ranch, and more.
About 3 hours from Dallas
Vacation rental agency the Above ATX has an extravagant selection of houses in the Austin area. There are some seriously outrageous mansions for rent, like this one. But, if I was planning a relaxing family getaway, I would choose the Landmark Estate, a historic, four-bedroom home that’s been thoroughly updated but still has some vintage charm. The most important modern addition? A sleek pool and a hot tub in the spacious backyard.
About 2 hours from Dallas
Glen Rose is well worth a mini road trip–and the accommodations at Skybox Cabins make it feel much more remote. The 50-acre resort has only three cabins, a “glamping” site, and a campsite, making it the perfect place to maintain distance. My personal pick is The Nest, a romantic bungalow-slash-treehouse fit for two. When you’re not resting in the air-conditioned cabin, you can stargaze from the Instagram-ready cedar observatory. As far as things to do, Glen Rose is home to the Paluxy River, Dinosaur Valley State Park, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, and Squaw Valley Golf Course, all of which have reopened with new safety measures.
About 3 hours from Dallas
If you’re looking for an outdoorsy experience and a cushy vacation wrapped into one, consider heading three hours northeast of Dallas to the woodsy resort town of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. You can go hiking and exploring at Beavers Bend State Park, dip into Broken Bow Lake, or just simply relax with a book in your personal log cabin. Rustic Luxury Cabins has some of the nicest and most modern you’ll find in these parts. This two bedroom cabin with a hot tub would make for a fun getaway with the family or your quarantine pod.
About 3.5 hours from Dallas
While river tubing and rafting businesses are currently closed due to the pandemic, there are still ways to enjoy the Guadalupe River while practicing social distancing. Tiki on the Guad is a complex of five riverfront cabins, and we’d recommend getting the two bedroom, two bathroom Tiki Rio to get as close to the water as possible.
About 2.5 hours from Dallas
Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the best options for nature activities within a short drive of DFW. This Modern Lake House Retreat listed on Vrbo provides a nice, central hub for exploring the lake and adjacent state park. It’s modern, clean, stylish, and includes a dock with a diving board. While you’re in the area, we’d recommend renting a kayak and paddling out to Hells Gate, a scenic rock formation with a pretty view of Devils Island.
About 5 hours from Dallas
Hondo’s Hill Country Tiny Home Retreat is ideal for couples, best friends, and solo travelers because of its cozy size. The one-room tiny house includes a bed, a very tiny kitchenette, a bathroom and not much else. There is, however, a charming porch, fire pit, private pool, and an outdoor shower included in the rental, which sits on a 72-acre ranch an hour outside of San Antonio. Here, you can unplug, go on hikes, and see some wildlife.
About 4.5 hours from Dallas
If you’re considering spending a weekend in the sun and sand, it’s best to avoid crowded hotels and find yourself a beach house to maintain some distance. This Airbnb host has several cute, well-appointed homes on Galveston island, and the Sunday Beachy Retreat is the prettiest. The two bedroom, two bathroom home is bright and airy. It’s located in the historic Silk Stocking District, a short bike ride to the beach and boardwalk (bikes are included). Make sure to check whether the beach is open—the city has shut down access numerous times since the pandemic began to control crowds.
About 4.5 hours from Dallas
Between its vineyards, its historic charm, and its natural beauty, Fredericksburg has long been a favorite getaway among Texans looking to kick back and relax. With this Airbnb, you get a giant, newly renovated historic home with an awesome pool right on Main St. If you’re a wine drinker, make sure to check out the Texas vineyards while you’re in town–we recommend Kuhlman Cellars, William Chris Vineyards, or Das Peach Haus. Get bottles to go or sit outside. Most vineyards are currently unable to sell wine by the glass due to bars being closed, so check the website before you go.
About 8.5 hours from Dallas
Terlingua’s stunning desert landscape and mysterious ghost town make it a great West Texas destination, and Willow House fits in perfectly with its minimal architecture and chic style. The resort has a larger main house with shared communal areas and several small casitas to choose from. It’s situated right between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, so there are tons of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature. Make sure you map out your path ahead of time; you’ll likely have to stop and use a public restroom or two.