I lay on my softer-than-air sheets with the sound of gentle rain on the roof of my cozy cottage, a gas log stove in the corner providing atmosphere and warmth for the chilly evening. The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls was the perfect choice for my visit to the state parks in Southeast Ohio, however there are several options and things to consider when it comes to finding the right Hocking Hills lodging. Accommodations range from primitive campsites to luxury cabins that house up to 24.[Please see the related story: From Rappelling to Rafting: Things to Do in Hocking Hills, Ohio]
Things to Consider When Booking Your Hocking Hills Lodging
To make the most of your visit, take some time to do a bit of research and find the place best suited to your needs. Be sure to read the entire description of a property, not just how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has. For example, one of the luxury accommodations mentioned below is difficult to access in the winter and it is suggested you have a four-wheel drive vehicle if you’re booking during that time of year. You don’t want to try to get your Mazda Miata up a icy, snow-covered hill.
Consider all these factors before making a decision.
- What is your budget?
Decide how much you want to spend prior to booking your stay. Maybe it’s a special occasion and you’re willing to splurge a bit or you need to stick to a strict budget. I know I’m happier and less stressed when I have an idea of the cost of a vacation up front and feel comfortable with it.
- Does everyone have a suitable bed?
The number of bedrooms may seem obvious, but sometimes you need to dig a bit to see what is included. A four-bedroom place may say it sleeps 10, but that may mean a trundle bed or a loft space that has a bathroom on a separate floor. Look at floor plans or ask for more information if you aren’t sure everyone has a suitable bed. If you’re a family planning a stay in a hotel, does it have rollaways or cribs?
- Do you need a kitchen?
We like to eat breakfast in and if our stay is long enough, will also pick up groceries for the option to enjoy lunch and sometimes dinner where we are staying. We usually opt for lodging with kitchens, even if the only thing in our large refrigerator is local beer, havarti cheese and lemon-ginger sparkling water.
My cottage at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls had a microwave, coffee maker and small fridge, perfect for my needs for a three-night stay, especially as a delicious made-to-order breakfast was included with our stay.
- What kind of view would you like?
My husband and I once booked a cabin in a state park in Georgia after looking at photos of the interior. We got there and were disappointed to see that our cabin had a view of the parking lot, not the wooded area we had envisioned. Since then I always pay attention to the view of any place we book.
- How much privacy would you like?
You know how much privacy to expect if you book a hotel room. But what about a cabin in the woods or a campsite? Will you be close to one another, which is a good option for large group travel, or does it feel completely private, which may be what you are looking for.
Our cottages at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls were a short walk from each other but far enough away to feel private. If the description or photos of the place you’re looking at doesn’t answer that question, call and ask.
- Do you want easy access to the state parks?
The Inn & Falls at Cedar Falls were named for the Cedar Falls Trail a short distance away and we didn’t have to spend too much time in the car to get to the hiking trails. Some campsites and hotels are a bit further away but may be closer to some other things you’d like to do.
- Are there other amenities that are important to you?
When I first stepped inside my cottage I was delighted to spot a large Jacuzzi tub close to my bed. I love taking a warm bath at the end of a long day spent outside or doing a lot of sightseeing. Sadly, bathtubs are disappearing from many renovated hotels. [See the results of The Travel 100 poll: Bathtub, coffee pot, closet – what can you live without?]
Maybe you’ve got your heart set on a fireplace for a stay in the woods, or a fire pit for your family to sit around in the evening. Do you want easy access to a store, breakfast included in the morning or daily housekeeping? Do you want access to a place to swim or fish on the property? Decide what you’d like before you go to make sure you get what you need.
- How far out are your booking?
Popular accommodations book up fast so book early for the best choices. But maybe you’ve decided on a last-minute getaway. Same yourself a lot of time and heartache by using the Hocking Hills Availability Search. It’s no fun to find the perfect spot and then find it’s booked when you want it.
Hocking Hills Luxury Accommodations
Maybe luxury travel is always your style (no low thread-count sheets for you!), or perhaps you’re treating yourself for a special occasion.
Whatever the reason, there is no shortage of high-end places to stay in Hocking Hills, and several luxury cabins are in the cabin section below. In addition to those, here are a few more options.
The Box Hop. Constructed of three shipping containers, this home is decorated in a contemporary style with a focus on sustainability. It is set on 18.5 acres, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, gas fireplace, rooftop patio, washer and dryer and hot tub. It even has a table that can seat eight for dinner.
The eight cabins at Cherry Ridge Retreats are situated a mile from the road for privacy on 140 private acres of private forested land with plenty of trails for hiking, several ponds for fishing and waterside gazebos. The private hot tubs seat up to six people.
Travel tip: Make sure your hot tub is truly private before disrobing and enjoying. A certain travel writer may have once enjoyed a soak in an assumed-to-be-private hot tub in a cabin in Chimney Rock, North Carolina as it was in the woods surrounded by a high fence. However, the next day she looked outside and noticed a road winding through the woods way above the cabin, where drivers would have a clear view down into the enclosed area.
Bourbon Ridge Retreat has a seven-bedroom lodge that sleeps up to 24, two other lodges and two cabins on 202 acres. It has five miles of hiking trails and an outdoor pool open seasonally.
Hocking Hills Camping
If camping is your thing, you’ve got plenty of options, whether you’re looking for privacy or a bit more activity.
Hocking Hills Adventures has three campgrounds: Riverside, Canoe Livery and Fun Center. The most popular are at Riverside where there are 80 sites, many overlooking the river. Canoers and kayakers may opt for Canoe Livery for easy access to the river, while the Fun Center features 10 electric sites close to the volleyball nets and with space for activities.
With a name like Hocking Hills Jellystone Park, you know it’s a family-friendly place. There’s a pool, lake for swimming and water sports, wagon rides and a playground. Families can opt for traditional tent camping, a stay in a cabin or bed down at an RV site. The Big Sycamore Family Campground also has a playground and pool.
Hocking Hills KOA is also family-friendly and has primitive and electric tent sites, four cabins, three lodges, heated pool, playground and church service.
Enjoy naturalist programs at Hocking Hills State Park Campground, which has 172 electric and non-electric sites. It’s open year-round and has showers, fishing, basketball, horseshoes, fire ring and volleyball.
Several horse farms have campsites, including Equestrian Ridge Camping, Three Reasons Farm Horse Camp, Spotted Horse Farm Camp and Pine Creek Horseman’s Camp. If you’re traveling by RV you’ll find High Rock Hideaways RV Campground, Lakeview RV Park and Hocking River RV Park.
For more camping options, visit Explore Hocking Hills Camping.
Hocking Hills Cabins and Cottages
If I want to conjure up a cozy happy place, like during a dental procedure, I think of a cozy cabin or cottage in the woods, my first choice for accommodations in the woods or mountains. For a recent birthday, that’s exactly what I wanted to rent. We found a three-bedroom log cabin by a stream less than two hours from our house and it was a perfect celebration.
If you’re looking for a small cabin for a romantic getaway or one big enough to house an extended family or large group, you’ll find your pick in Hocking Hills.
Hocking Hills Premier Cabins has five options for lodging, ranging from the Little Pine Cabin, which sleeps six, up to the High Point Lodge, which can house 26 people. It includes an indoor saltwater pool in a detached pool house.
Cue the B-52s! The Love Shack Cabins are made for romance, with one bedroom, water views and fire ring. But do they have tin roofs, rusted?
Hocking Hills State Park Cabins has 40 air-conditioned, heated cabins that sleep up to six people. They have bathrooms, kitchens, screened porches and gas-burning fireplaces.
Who can resist a place named Restoration Retreat? This darling one-bedroom cottage has a fire ring and grill. Or how about The Merlot, a larger log cabin with room for eight people, a pool table and a wood-burning fireplace.
Irish Ridge Cabins has three to choose from: The Claddagh Cabin (sleeps four, six with bunk beds, Shamrock Cabin, (sleeps six if you use the pull-out queen sleeper sofa) and Duffy’s Lodge (sleeps up to 12 if you include sleeper sofa).
Here’s your chance to stay in a luxury Amish-built log cabin set on 200 acres. You’ll find a stone fireplace, hot tub, kitchen and outdoor fire pit at Trickle Creek at Hocking Hills.
The Way to Go Cabins are on 42 acres and include a six-bedroom lodge with 3.5 bathrooms, kitchen, home theater with 16 seats and private deck with hot tub. Not exactly roughing it in the woods, is it?
You’ll find dozens more options of all types of cabins at Explore Hocking Hills Cabins.
Unusual Accommodations in Hocking Hills
How about a stay in something a bit more unusual? Try a stay in a treehouse, yurt, tipi, Airstream or even an old railroad caboose.
I love staying in treehouses, and Hocking Hills has a few available. Corban Cabin Getaways has added a two-bedroom, one-bath treehouse on five secluded acres. Canopy Ridge Cabins also has a treehouse in addition to two cabins with kitchens, fireplaces and hot tubs. Among the Trees Treehouses has three treehouses: Maple View Treehouse and Buckeye Barn Treehouse each sleep up to for four people while Safari Treehouse sleeps two. The Sidney Nook Treehouse is a two-bedroom treehouse on 2.5 acres and comes with a bathroom, kitchen, grill, firepit and flat screen TV. The Comfort in the Woods treehouse has a wraparound porch and hot tub overlooking a stream and sleeps two.
Or try one of the two tipis at At Boulders Edge Tipi Retreat. Each one sleeps up to 10 people, if you can handle that much togetherness.
The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls has three yurts with king-size or twin beds, bathrooms, gas log stove, microwave and refrigerator and wood decks. We got to take a peek at them during our stay there and marveled how spacious and well-appointed they are.
How about bedding down into an authentic 1950s railroad caboose? The Hocking Hills Caboose Guest Cottage has five sleeping berths and a large deck.
While my husband has slept in a friend’s vintage Airstream at music festivals, I’ve never had the chance. I could get it at Hocking Hills Cozy Retreat where you’ll settle in for the night in a 2017 Flying Cloud Airstream. Relax outside around a fire pit in Adirondack chairs or in a hammock.
For more unusual accommodations visit Explore Hocking Hills Unique Lodging.
Hocking Hills Hotels
You’ll find major chain hotels in Hocking Hills a short distance from the state parks, some with kitchenette suites and pools. Visit Explore Hocking Hills Hotels and Motels for listings.
– Jan Schroder, Editor in chief