There’s a lot to consider when considering lots. What goes into determining the right site for your cabin? Readers of Country’s Best Log Homes chose such priorities as proximity to the primary home, access to activities such as hiking, fishing, or skiing, and negotiating a parcel price that fits the budget.
For the 2008 24 great places to build, we culled input from cabin dealers and producers, realtors, and local chambers of commerce. The areas had to be cabin-friendly; have ample land, lakes, or developments for vacation homes; and plenty of natural resources for outdoor enjoyment. All the submissions for this year’s locations were steeped in history and had a story to tell.
As always, we don’t rank them 1-24. Instead, we’ll list them alphabetically by state. We’ve split the list by searching across six regions of the country, picking four from each area. We list the top
Big Bear Lake, California
Big Bear Lake is Southern California’s premier recreational lake. It has approximately 22 miles of shoreline and is seven miles long. Outdoor sports opportunities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, off-roading, golfing, boating, waterskiing, parasailing, and fishing. In the winter, activities change to downhill and cross country skiing, snowboarding, and moonlight snowshoeing.
Vacation home price: $115,000 (444 square feet)
Vacation property: $74,900 (sloped lot)
Silverthorne, located about an hour’s drive from Denver, offers four world-class ski resorts nearby, and a 62,000-square-foot recreation center offers plenty of indoor recreation for your time off the slopes. During the summer, Dillon Lake and Peninsula Park offers fishing and boating, while the mountains offer 47 trails for mountain biking and miles of hiking.
Vacation home price: $689,900 (3,204 square feet)
Vacation property: $299,000 (.33 acre)
Blue Ridge, Georgia
The town of Blue Ridge was once considered a health resort because of its pure mineral waters. Today, tourists can still ride the train and take a leisurely walk along Main Street, enjoying the antique and specialty shops, galleries, and restaurants. Residents can enjoy hiking to nearby waterfalls, horseback riding on forested trails, or whitewater rafting on the Middle Ocoee River. Vacation home price: $259,900 (975 square feet)
Vacation property: $69,000 (1.33 acre)
A great option for Chicago, Minneapolis, or Madison residents. Rolling hills and valleys afford an abundance of outdoor activities. In the summer, the nearby Mississippi River and its backwaters offers fishing and boating. In the winter, the county’s rugged landscape is perfect for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Nearby state parks include Apple Valley Canyon, Palisades or Schurmeier Forest. Local outfitters offer equipment for sale or rent.
Vacation home price: $440,000 (3,361 square feet)
Vacation property: $12,000 (wooded lot)
Nestled on a 600-foot bluff overlooking Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world, Duluth covers winter and summer activities: hiking, skiing, golfing, sailing, kayaking, biking, rock-climbing, and other outdoor adventures. The city is also home to several museums, a zoo and a fresh-water aquarium.
Vacation home w/18 acres price: $269,900 (1,344 square footage)
Vacation property: $61,000 (20 acres w/river front)
Nye, located in the Stillwater River Valley, was originally a copper mining camp. If wilderness is what you’re looking for, Nye features the splendor of the Beartooth Range, hundreds of stocked lakes and streams, and plentiful elk and deer populations. It’s near Yellowstone National Park, has easy access to great ski hills, and is an hour away from Billings, Montana’s largest city.
Vacation home: $259,000 (950 square feet)
Vacation property: $39,900 (Wooded hillside)
Angel Fire, New Mexico
Angel Fire is a tranquil resort town located in a high New Mexico mountain valley near the Wheeler Peak range. The area provides great outdoor family activities such as hiking, biking, fly fishing, golf, tennis, and skiing.
Vacation home: $299,900 (2,550 square feet)
Vacation property: $74,500 (Wooded lot w/amenities)
Highlands, North Carolina
Highlands has been a mountain retreat for over a century and features several spas, waterfalls, hiking trails, and other outdoor activities from llama treks to all-terrain vehicle tours through the forests. Several outfitters provide equipment for whitewater rafting, rock climbing, rappelling, and horseback riding. For those less adventurous, there is golf, tennis, swimming, and canoeing.
Vacation home: $249,000 (1,250 square feet)
Vacation property: $86,500 (Wooded 1.5 acre)
Pike County, Ohio
Pike County in southeast Ohio features plenty of horseback riding and bridal trails. The Appalachian Adventure Trail, a large geo-tourism trail that features beautiful landscapes and stops at some of the finest Appalachian arts and crafts museums, galleries, and shops, combines the outdoors with local communities.
Vacation home: $165,000 (1,120 square feet)
$75,000 (Wooded hilltop .89 acres)
Klamath County, Oregon
The home of Crater Lake National Park, Klamath County also features access to more than 82 lakes and streams, nature trails, and a downtown walking tour through downtown Klamath Falls. The OCE&E Woods Line State Trail, a 100-mile rails-to-trails conversion is paved from Klamath Falls to the small rural community of Olene providing a scenic mixture of ranch lands, rivers and forested buttes.
Vacation home: $184,000 (3,000 square feet)
Vacation property: $12,000 (Wooded 4.11 acres)
Killington Resort is one of the largest ski areas in the world: 95 miles of skiing and snowboarding terrain, many of which also support mountain biking and hiking when the snows are gone. The Appalachian and Long Trails transverse these mountains, as do snowmobile and cross-country ski statewide trails. Killington is ideally located in the center of the state.
Vacation home: $340,900 (1,500 square feet)
Vacation property: $150,000 (3 wooded acres)
Floyd is home to live music, artists and craftsmen, and is a popular stop along the Blue Ridge parkway, a drive that meanders 469 miles between Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The Mabry Mill complex is a national landmark that features a black smithy, wheelwright’s shop, whiskey still, and grist mill. Floyd is also home to some great wineries.
Vacation home: $239,000 (1,463 square feet)
Vacation property: $105,000 (15 acres w/stream)
Mountain Pine, Arkansas
Located near Hot Springs, Mountain Pine is the gateway to Lake Ouachita State Park. The 40,000-acre lake is known for its scenic beauty and the clarity of its waters. Named one of the cleanest lakes in America, Lake Ouachita is a mecca for swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating and fishing. The lake features 975 miles of shoreline.
Vacation home price: $110,000 (672 square feet)
Vacation property: $112,000 (28 acres)
This quaint town is nestled at an elevation of 6,200 feet between the majestic Tetons and the Big Hole Mountains. The historic business district combines the Old West with new and used bookstores, an Austrian bakery, an historic soda fountain, local artist galleries, pubs, and outdoor gear shops, and more! Local outfitters and guides offer everything from fishing and hunting to mountain biking and skiing to a hot air balloon or glider ride over the valley.
Vacation home price w/5 acres price: $699,000 (1,400 square feet)
Vacation property: $265,000 (on golf course)
Orange County, Indiana
Skiing, golf, and gaming are hot attractions in southern Indiana, where residents can also enjoy a train ride through the rolling hills of the Hoosier National Forest or try a leisurely cruise or fishing on 8,800-acre Patoka Lake, and wrap it up with an evening of entertainment and good food at Wilstem Guest Ranch, a full-service working ranch in a scenic wooded setting. Orange County is home to the Southern Indiana communities of French Lick, Orleans, Paoli, and West Baden, all less than a day’s drive from any Midwest locale.
Vacation home price: $129,900 (1,260 square feet)
Vacation property: $29,900 (7.9 acres)
Located adjacent to Lake Barkley and the “Land Between the Lakes” recreation area, Cadiz features hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. It’s located within a 300-mile radius of major cities including Atlanta, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Memphis. A historic downtown, composed of several quaint antique shops, museum and restaurants, offers plenty to do on a rainy day.
Vacation home price: $150,000 (1,230 square feet)
Vacation property: $160,000 (Waterfront – 2 lots)
Like the water? Muskegon has access to more than 11,400 acres of inland lakes, almost 400 miles of rivers and 27 miles of Lake Michigan waterfront. The city is home to several state parks and golf courses.
Vacation home price: $149,900 (1,318 square feet)
Vacation property: $59,900 (wooded lot)
Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania
Schuylkill (pronounced, "skool – kil") County is located in East Central Pennsylvania just west of the Pocono Mountains. The area is home to America’s oldest brewery and plenty of outdoor beauty, including access to the Appalachian Trail. Schuylkill County is only hours from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
Vacation home: $124,900 (850 square feet)
Vacation property: $29,900 (wooded 11 acres)
Greenwood, South Carolina
Dedicated wildlife management experts and generous landowners that provide land for public hunting make Greenwood and surrounding counties one of the most popular areas in the southeast for hunting and fishing. Rolling hills, undeveloped forests and an abundance of streams spawn a heavy population of deer, wild turkey and other small game. The Lake Greenwood State Park is a beautiful 915-acre pine and hardwood forest with five peninsulas that extend out into the lake. Located on the western shore of Lake Greenwood, the state park offers swimming, picnicking, hiking, camping, and fishing.
Vacation home: $170,000 (650 square feet)
Vacation property: $53,900 (Hardwoods & pond)
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which now have more than nine million visitors each year, has transformed Gatlinburg into a mountain resort destination. Surrounded on three sides by the natural beauty of the National Park, Gatlinburg prides itself in its mountain heritage, and the arts, crafts, and retail shops of the area reflect that heritage. Activities includes fishing, hunting, whitewater rafting, and the only ski hill in Tennessee.
Vacation home: $139,900 (562 square feet)
Vacation property: $27,900 (Wooded .62 acre lot)
Crockett, is among oldest towns in Texas and site of many historic structures. Crockett lies within the Piney Woods region of Texas, which contains thousands of acres of pine and pine-hardwood forests. This area boasts the state’s four national forests and five state forests, including Davy Crockett National Forest, the largest national forest in state. A great variety of fishing opportunities are found at nearby Houston County Lake, Salman Park Lake, Toledo Bend, Lake Sam Rayburn, Lake and Conroe.
Vacation home: $165,000 (1,100 square feet)
Vacation property: $42,000 (14 private acres)
Located in the Ogden Valley, Eden offers a variety of year-round recreational opportunities. Powder Mountain and Wolf Mountain two of the most beautiful backdrops of the Wasatch Mountains. The crown jewel of Eden’s summer recreational offerings is the Wolf Creek Resort golf course, a championship course rated among the 10 most difficult courses in UT. The Pineview Reservoir is the site of many summer water sports – boating, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing and swimming. There is also an abundance of hiking and biking on a variety of paved and unpaved trails.
Vacation home: $439,500 (2,380 square feet)
Vacation property: $329,000 (2.9 mountain acres)
Forests, rocky cliffs, snowy mountains, and ocean, rivers or lakes are just outside. Activities include whitewater rafting, river kayaking, and hiking. Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is located just 13 miles away for fly-fishing, hiking, and wildlife observation. Hunting for grouse, turkey, and white-tailed deer is available.
Vacation home: $489,000 (3152 square feet)
Vacation property: $79,900 (20 wooded acres)
Presque Isle, Wisconsin
Located at the top of Wisconsin, Presque Isle offers fishing, boating, paddling, hiking, biking and relaxing. Surrounded by protected federal and state forestland, the area offers fishing, canoeing, and kayaking with access to more than 1,000 area lakes.
Vacation home: $445,000 (3,152 square feet)
Vacation property: $45,000 (water views)