My Review of The Getaway House: A Tiny Cabin For Urban Dwellers
It’s easy to pound the pavement day in and day out when you live in a busy, bustling city (anyone else live in Los Angeles?). Life can feel so exciting and purposeful when your calendar is stacked, inbox is buzzing, and notifications are flying at you left and right. In my experience, I find this stuff addicting.
But at some point, something’s gotta give. Hours stretch into days which stretch into weeks which stretch into months and months on end until the next thing you know, you’ve forgotten the last time you allowed yourself to take a break. A real break. Not a scheduled brunch or a weekend binge of Netflix’s latest series.
That’s where The Getaway House comes in.
Whether you’re the kind of person who loves camping and being outdoors, or who can’t stand the thought of sleeping on the ground, The Getaway House has somehow managed to balance the best of both worlds, providing a comfy escape surrounded by the most relaxing views.
When I arrived at The Getaway House in Big Bear, California, it was like finally exhaling after weeks and weeks of going nonstop. I kid you not, I really did feel like I could finally shrug the stress of work and to-do lists off my shoulders, even if just for a little while.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Read on for my full review of The Getaway House – what it is, where you can find one, and everything else you need to know about these tiny cabin escapes so you can see whether Getaway is right for you.
What is The Getaway House?
The Getaway House is actually a series of many houses, or rather, tiny cabins in locations just outside of some of the biggest cities in the USA. Essentially, you can think of this as a simplified, streamlined glamping experience. No pitching a tent or crawling into a sleeping bag required. Designed to be an escape for city folk who are always on the go, The Getaway House promises to help give always-on guests the “permission to be off.”
What does that mean? Well, you get a tiny cabin to yourself, in near-total privacy and seclusion from anyone else. Each of the cabins are spread 50 - 150 feet apart from one another, scattered amongst wooded areas spanning acres and acres. The cabins are self-catering, allowing you to check yourself in and out via pin code, and they come with a good amount of essential necessities (like toilet paper, towels, and cooking supplies. Scroll down for a full list of what you’ll find in each cabin!) so you have everything you need, and nothing that you don’t. If you need anything during your stay, reinforcements are just a text or call away.
What this also means is that the cabins do not come equipped with WiFi. No time to waste away on your laptop or streaming that show you’re in the middle of watching back home. Here, your only obligation should be to completely disconnect and enjoy. And, since we’re all SO glued to our devices, each cabin comes with a Cellphone Lockbox, encouraging guests to stow their tech away and be present.
Because I wanted to take photos and document our experience, I had my phone on me for some of our stay, but putting my phone in airplane mode was just as effective for keeping me from getting lost in a cyclone of notifications, which would’ve defeated the point!
Cabin prices vary by location, day of the week, and seasonality, but expect rates to generally fall between ~$129-$299/night.
Getaway House Locations
The Getaway House has only been around since 2015, but since then, they’ve expanded into locations outside of 15 major cities across the US. Currently, you can get away from:
San Antonio, TX
Los Angeles, CA (where I went!)
New York, NY
Each location was specifically picked so that you can reach a Getaway within just a couple hours by car, making it easy to break away even if you only have one or two free nights to spare. See all locations here.
I visited the Getaway Outpost located near Los Angeles, just outside of Big Bear. This location is nestled high up in the San Bernardino Mountains and surrounded by giant pine trees everywhere you look. If you take a look at The Getaway House’s social media, you get the sense that all of their locations were carefully pinpointed to offer a similar atmosphere of cozy, wooded terrain, regardless of which Outpost you end up at. It’s no 5-star hotel, but honestly, that’s what makes it so refreshing.
What’s In the Cabin
What I love about the cabins is that despite their tiny size (just 140-200 square feet!) and minimalist aesthetic, they are incredibly utilitarian.
Here is everything you can expect to find in your cabin:
Queen Bed (the most cozy bed ever, in my opinion), or two lofted queen beds if you opt for a cabin for 4
Storage space for your bags
A small mirror
Mini fridge, sink (with drinkable water), stove
Basic cooking and dining essentials (plates, pots, cups, cutting board, etc.)
Paper towels, foil, soap
Bottle openers, lighters
Complimentary olive oil, salt, pepper, cream, and sugar
Small selection of food for purchase (coffee, tea, oatmeal, cookies, jerky, etc)
Small dining table with sufficient seating for 2
Full ensuite bathroom with a toilet, hot shower, towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and a first aid kit (which includes tampons!)
A radio, books, and games (vary by location)
Fire pit, grilling grate, picnic table, and chairs
Wood and fire starter is also available at each cabin for purchase
What’s Not in the Cabin (I.e. What to Pack!)
While the cabins come equipped with a lot of the goods already, there are a couple of things I recommend bringing with you! Most of these things I successfully thought of and brought with me, but there were a few things that I wish I had thought of. I’ll call those out below!
Hammock (not essential, but having this was so nice for being able to curl up with a good book both inside and outside the cabin!)
Grill pan (you can grill directly on the grilling grate provided at your cabin, but grill pans make it easier to transfer food from the kitchen to the fire, they’re better for more delicate foods like veggies and kabobs, and they’re a bit more hygienic)
Portable speaker (you have a radio in your cabin, but if you want music outside or while hiking, you’ll need another speaker)
Headlamp (there’s a light outside each cabin, but a headlamp still comes in handy for walking in the dark, adding logs to the fire, and keeping track of your s’mores)
Bug spray and sunscreen, if you’re going in the warmer months
Eye mask (the cabins have curtains in case you don’t want to sleep with the window open, but they aren’t blackout curtains. So, if you’re sensitive to light when you sleep, you might want to have an eye mask handy just in case)
Wine / champagne / beer glasses (the cabins come with cups and mugs, which are honestly fine, but if you’re planning on celebrating something special and/or just want to make a nice meal with a visually appealing drink, you might want to bring glasses with you. We brought aluminum wine glasses with us which came in handy!)
Books, games, journals, creative projects…. Anything you want to do to keep yourself entertained during your stay!
Groceries (any food, drinks, and snacks you want to have with you during your stay, you should prep and bring with you in advance. There are usually grocery stores nearby, but if you can save yourself the trip by planning ahead, do it).
Safety, Security, & Other Good Stuff
Each cabin has a secure digital lock on the front door. On the day of your check-in, you are texted your unique cabin’s name (each of the cabins are named after the grandparent of a staff member. Ours was named Sultan!) and lock code to get in and out of your cabin. You’re able to lock your door at night and also lock your stuff inside during the day while you’re out adventuring, so there’s nothing to worry about here.
In terms of cleanliness, the cabins are each naturally socially distant, being at least 50-150 feet apart from one another. In between stays, the cabins are thoroughly cleaned by Outpost employees donning PPE (personal protective equipment). And, if you need anything during your stay, you can text or call the staff for assistance. For a full run-down of what The Getaway House is doing to ensure safety and cleanliness right now for guests, you can see their checklist here.
Last but not least, for every booking, The Getaway House makes a donation to Feeding America. They have also reported making donations to organizations that support racial justice and equality, such as Color of Change and the Black Visions Collective.
Things to Do Near Your Getaway Outpost
Before you arrive, you’ll receive a welcome email from The Getaway House with a link to an article all about what’s in the area near your specific Outpost, whether it’s near Los Angeles, Portland, New York, or any of their other locations. This is an example of what you’ll receive, with tips on local hiking trails, grocery stores, and restaurants.
At every Outpost, you’ll find at least one scenic nature trail, a short, easy hike on Getaway property in case you want to go for a quick stroll without hopping in your car to drive to a trailhead.
In addition to hiking, several Outposts are also close to lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. After we checked out of our cabin, we visited Lake Gregory by our Los Angeles Outpost, which was easy to get to and park at. From there, we took a stroll around the entire lake (it’s tiny!) in about 45 minutes before hopping back in our car to head back to the city.
If you’re traveling with a significant other or best friend, this getaway is a great opportunity to talk. I mean really talk. About your hopes, fears, how you’ve been feeling lately, what you need more or less of. Some of the best conversations I have ever had with my boyfriend have been had on long camping trips, with a bottle of wine and the campfire stirring just out of reach.
Last but not least, something you can do at every Outpost in the country is: absolutely nothing. That’s right! So what if you spend your entire day curled up in bed, gazing out these giant, gorgeous cabin windows, with a good book in hand? Nothing sounds more perfect to me.
Is This Experience For Me?
I’m the kind of person who is just as happy in a tent sleeping on the ground in the middle of the woods as I am in a luxury resort. So to me, The Getaway House was a nice little happy medium with just the right amount of amenities provided, while still remaining authentically rustic and detached. But, while tiny homes and glamping are incredibly trendy and popular, they aren’t for everyone.
I would say this experience might not be the right match if you want a lively getaway with a large group of 5 or more people. The maximum occupancy for each cabin is 4 people in 2 queen-sized beds. It also might not be a good fit if you don’t like the outdoors, or if you don’t like spending extended amounts of time without devices.
But, for an escape with 4 or less – with your family, best friends, significant other, your pup, or even by yourself (!) – it’s an ideal way to unplug, exhale, and get away from the grind of everyday life, even if only for a little while.