The Getaway cabins in Big Bear have been popping up on my social media feeds more and more over the past year, and when I finally had a weekend to breathe, I felt inspired to check it out for myself!
The idea is that Getaway House offers a no-hassle outdoor adventure and a departure from everyday life without all the planning involved.
Essentially, you can pick up and go…which is exactly what I did. If you’re trying to decide whether or not you should take a retreat at the Getaway House in Big Bear (just outside of Los Angeles), here’s everything you need to know.
What are the Getaway Houses?
Getaway House is a collective of small cabins scattered around the United States. Each collective site, known as an Outpost, is located within two hours of driving from a major city.
The getaway cabins are designed specifically to take you away from the stresses of everyday life—like work and technology—while maintaining the modern comforts of home. It’s kinda like glamping, minus the -amping.
According to the folks behind Getaway House, their goal is for people to “experience unscheduled, unstructured, and uninterrupted free time—not just for rest and rejuvenation, but to foster inspiration, creativity, and connection.”
Because CEO Jon Staff has a mission to encourage people to disconnect, none of the tiny cabins have WiFi, and given the remote location of each one, your access to cell networks is pretty much TBD. At the Big Bear outpost, it was almost non-existent.
Each cabin even has a cellphone lockbox, and they encourage you to lock up your phone for the weekend and immerse yourself in nature.
I dig this ethos in a big way, and think the Getaway Houses can be the perfect opportunity (excuse?) for a digital detox.
The Getaway House Locations
Getaway House currently has 19 locations and counting in the United States, and my experience took place in Big Bear, at Getaway House Los Angeles.
It’s actually super impressive that a business like Getaway House has amassed so many small cabins spread out across the country in a very short amount of time. They’ve only been around since 2015.
You’ll find Getaway House locations near most major cities, including New York City, Boston, Seattle, Austin, Houston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh (to name a few). While the locations are varied, Getaway House is completely consistent in everything they do You can expect an awesome experience no matter where you are.
Plus, Getaway House is constantly growing. There are new locations popping up all over the place. Just recently they’ve added a Kansas City Outpost (Getaway Ozark Highlands).
Getaway House’s prices also vary depending on where in the United States you are, and sometimes a minimum night stay is required (usually two). Weekends always have higher prices, and so do holidays.
Every Outpost location is set up near walking trails or easy hikes, which means you won’t need to rely on your car to explore the area. Many of the Outposts are also close to scenic attractions, like lakes or rivers or waterfalls.
Getaway House Big Bear Review
Seeing as how I live in Los Angeles, checking out the Getaway House in Big Bear made a lot of sense.
Although all the getaway cabins across the country are pretty uniform (in other words, they all look almost exactly the same and they all have the same vibe), the rest of this review refers specifically to the Big Bear location.
Here’s what you need to know about escaping to the Getaway House Los Angeles.
Getting to Big Bear from Los Angeles
Big Bear Lake in the middle of Southern California is one of my favorite getaways from Los Angeles. It’s an easy drive from the city and it’s an ideal year-round destination: in the winter you can hit up the ski resorts for skiing and snowboarding, and the rest of the year is perfect for camping, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, or just slowing down and taking it all in.
The area is simply beautiful, and it’s part of the San Bernardino National Forest. I love it here because you can get wrapped up in the forest solitude while being treated to the epic views of the San Bernardino Mountains.
It’s about a two hour and 40 minute drive from Los Angeles to Big Bear.
While the cabins are surrounded by the pristine nature of Running Springs, they’re also extremely accessible. You don’t need to be a pro camper to enjoy this, hence the magic of Getaway House and your very own tiny cabin.
Inside the Getaway House Tiny Cabin
The Getaway House’s tiny cabins at Big Bear are pretty small…just as the name suggests. And yet the designers have done a lot with a little space.
Each house comes with a comfy sleeping area (one or two beds), a dining area with a small dining table, and a bathroom complete with a flushing toilet and a really nice shower (with plenty of hot water!). The kitchen is well-equipped for easy meals and potable water, and other than groceries, you don’t really need to bring a whole lot with you.
Each cabin also has a big window facing out into nature so that you have plenty of privacy even if you’re sitting in bed in your undies with a cup of coffee in the morning, taking it all in.
I should point out that, depending on the season and weather, it can get insanely hot in the cabin during the day. If you get an east-facing cabin like I did, you absolutely will wake up at sunrise, drenched in sunlight, covered in sweat. I recommend bringing an eye mask for this reason as well.
That said, the cabins do come fully equipped with heat and A/C, so just make sure your cabin temp is set the night before!
The inside of the Getaway Houses are compact, functional and aesthetically pleasing. The beds are incredibly comfortable and you have literally every amenity you might need for a weekend away. I thought I might be left for wanting at some point during my weekend, but I never was. I had everything I needed, and then some (hello sleepytime tea, s’mores, bluetooth speaker, cooking utensils, pourover coffee!).
Outside the Getaway Cabin
Outside the cabin, you have your own little “campsite” all to yourself, complete with epic views and a private fire pit with a grilling grate. If you want to keep things simple, pack up some steaks or burgers to toss on the grill and pack a few barbecue items to pair it all with. There’s a picnic table and chairs for enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Bring some cold beer, watch the sunset and enjoy the campfire—for me, nothing beats a peaceful evening under the night sky. Each cabin also has a small box outside with firewood and fire starter. Take what you need when you need it and you’ll be charged for it after your stay.
It should go without saying that when there’s a fire ban in place, you absolutely cannot start a fire under any circumstance. If you can recall the forest fire madness of the past several years in California, you’ll understand why this is so important. Keep this in mind if you’re planning on barbecuing on your grilling gate as well.
Side note: if you reserve a Getaway House and then a fire ban falls into place, you won’t be able to get refunded if you cancel. That’s just their policy. However, their support team communicates if there is a fire ban in place during stays, so you never have to question whether or not you can start a fire.
I must admit that I was a bit surprised to realize that this particular outpost felt a bit like an RV park in certain areas, specifically along the inner loop that doesn’t have forest views. You’re really not that far from other other cabins, and although it felt secluded, just knowing that other people were camping nearby detracted from the magic of feeling completely isolated.
On the other hand, if you’re nervous about camping alone, this might actually appeal to you more. Either way, because of the layout and the direction that each cabin is facing, you still get plenty of privacy in your cabin.
I was surprised to see that each getaway cabin actually has a tow hitch and is literally on wheels. It’s basically just a custom tiny trailer. From a business perspective, this is brilliant—the company can literally mass produce these things and tow them where they please. From the outside, it didn’t feel as “boutique” as I thought it would, but you still get the experience of a tiny cabin in the forest.
What’s Included with the Getaway House Big Bear?
Getaway House has all of the most important amenities that I look for when I’m on the road—a great shower, delicious coffee, and a comfy bed.
Other than that, inside you’ll find:
- The infamous cell phone lockbox, which I mentioned earlier
- Shampoo, conditioner, body wash
- Mini fridge
- Basic condiments/spices for your meals like olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Dishes, pots, and pans (and cutting board)
- Dish soap
- Two burner stove
- A sink
- Drinkable water
- Complimentary s’mores kit
- Tea, coffee, hot chocolate and snacks
- Deck of cards
- Bluetooth speaker
- Two dog bowls, a leash, and even a snack!
Really, all you need to bring is your own food, but bear in mind that the mini fridge isn’t large enough to hold a lot of stuff.
I loved that, when you arrive, they have card games and a “things to do” pamphlet, which is actually more like a coloring book for adults, with a list of ways to disconnect (for example, put your phone in the provided lockbox for the weekend, do a puzzle, read a book, do some madlibs, or go for a walk in nature).
The whole point of the Getaway House cabins is to disconnect, and if you’re booking a cabin like this, it really is the perfect opportunity to do so. I love the idea of setting that intention for the weekend for a true getaway.
What Isn’t Included with the Getaway House
Getaway House really covered all their bases for urban dwellers who might be used to a well stocked hotel mini bar and all the frills of modern life when they travel.
One important thing to remember: there’s no WiFi at the cabin, and cell phone service is spotty. So let your fam know where you are ahead of time.
One thing I really like about the Getaway House experience is the fact that each tiny house comes with a provisions basket where several items are provided at an additional cost (as a regular hotel will sometimes do). Just use what you need (like firewood), and then they’ll send you your tab after you leave.
The provisions basket also includes things like hot chocolate, fire starter, coffee, tea, insect repellant, and a s’mores kit. I have to admit it kind of bugs me that coffee isn’t included in your stay, but you could bring your own coffee rig up if you’re a true caffeine snob.
You can also purchase a sustenance box for $30 if you tore out of town in a mad panic and didn’t pack enough food to get you through the day. It comes with granola, pasta, pasta sauce, jerkies, candy, cookies, and a few other things. You probably won’t be feeding America with that amount, but at least you won’t go hungry.
There’s not much else you need, to be honest. But if your cabin faces east and you plan on sleeping in, definitely bring your eye mask.
Safety at the Getaway House
You’re never too far away from your neighbors if an emergency should happen. Almost all of the cabins were booked up during my stay, and there’s some comfort in knowing you’re not all alone in the middle of nowhere.
WiFi isn’t available at your cabin, and it’s unlikely you’ll have a cell phone signal. But each cabin is equipped with a landline (red phone) so you can call the field team directly if you need to (this is helpful especially if you put your cell phone in the lockbox for the duration of your stay).
In addition, each outpost has people on-site from 8am-8pm and there is also at least one employee that lives on-site or close by in case of emergencies.
Remember, too, that these cabins are embedded in wilderness. Wildlife may be present, so keep your site clean, don’t leave food out, and secure your personal items.
It bears repeating that if there’s a fire ban on, do not light a fire outside your cabin. Wildfire risk in California is no joke!
Pros and Cons of Getaway House Los Angeles
Although I had a great experience with my Getaway House tiny cabin, in this full review I’ll break down both the pros and cons for the entire trip.
There were so many good things about my time at the Getaway Big Bear cabin.
- The entire process was super streamlined and easy. The biggest positive point to my stay at the Getaway cabin was how convenient it was to prepare for a weekend away in nature. All I had to do was book my cabin, pack a small bag, pick up a few groceries, and hit the road. And if I were in a super big hurry, I could forego the groceries and just buy a provisions box at the site.
- You really will feel immersed in nature. Although Getaway House feels a lot like glamping, everything at the campsite guarantees a comfortable stay fully immersed in nature. Spending an evening around the fire pit, enjoying a barbecue dinner at the picnic table with my friend, star-gazing on a warm evening—those are things I truly appreciate from any camping trip. By the time my last night rolled around, I thought, “I could get used to the glamping life.”
- The cabins are dog-friendly. I’m not a dog owner, but I thought it was cool how each cabin comes equipped with items for your pet. It’s those extra touches that make the whole experience nicer, although you do have to pay a surcharge starting from $40.
- All the extra touches made the Getaway House that much more special. I loved all the extra touches, like the card games and coloring books. Upon check-in, you’ll even find a handwritten note welcoming you to your cabin (although apparently this doesn’t happen in every location, I’m told).
While my entire experience at Getaway House was mostly positive, there were definitely some less positive things to the whole experience.
- The cabins aren’t as far off the beaten path as you’d think. Honestly, the location of the entire campsite was a little bizarre to me. I thought it would be way more “off the path,” but it’s quite accessible, off a fairly major road in a really small town 30 minutes away from the very popular Lake Arrowhead/Big Bear area. It’s a woodsy area that’s not too far away from everything. It wasn’t what I expected but was great for what it was.
- Some of the cabins are located really close together. I was surprised at how “on top of each other” the cabins felt, as I had pictured each one being really secluded. That’s not entirely the case, but depending on the cabin you get, you do get different levels of seclusion. It really does feel like an RV park sometimes. If your idea of getting away to nature means total seclusion without anyone else around, then maybe pack up your outdoor gear and head elsewhere.
- Getaway House is overly trendy at times. A lot of people definitely treat Getaway House as a photo opp for their Instagram (not gonna lie, all those white linens and giant picture windows really does make for some excellent photography). Influencer hotspots always feel a disingenuous to me but perhaps that’s not the sort of thing that bothers you.
Things to Do in Big Bear
The whole point of a getaway cabin in Big Bear is to unwind, relax, chill out around your fire pit and picnic table, and let your worries float away.
But if you’re like me and you can’t sit still for too long, there are endless things to see and do around Big Bear and the Running Springs area.
Here are some suggestions.
Go Skiing or Snowboarding
In the winter season, Big Bear Mountain Resort is considered to have some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Southern California.
There are two mountain areas known as Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, but you can get lift tickets for same-day use at both mountains with over 400 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain.
Get Out on the Water
The lake has 22 miles of shoreline that is home to about six marinas. You can rent kayaks, pontoon boats, jet skis, and more to get out and enjoy the water. If you want to do some fishing, there are plenty of charters that run from all of the marinas.
Big Bear has tons of hiking trails for all abilities—including even some gentle paths for strollers or wheelchairs. One of the best hikes is the Pine Knot Trail to Grand View Point, a nearly 7-mile trek with epic views over the mountains and Big Bear Lake. Castle Rock Trail provides a similar experience.
Lake Gregory Trail is a milder route that takes you through wildflower fields and around the lake, while the Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail is a more strenuous trek around Lake Arrowhead.
There’s a really excellent zipline tour here with Action Zipline Tours, where you’ll soar 85 feet above the tree tops with views of the mountains. You can even zipline in the winter months for some special snow-capped scenery, and keep an eye out for the bald eagles that nest here in the cold months.
Peruse the Local Menu
If you’re not up for barbecuing, there are lots of nice dining options in the area as well as cafes for grabbing a quick bite. Hortencia’s at the Cliffhanger serves up delicious Mexican food with a perfect view over the San Bernardino Valley, and there’s always an epic sunset here. You can also grab gourmet pizza at Lou Eddies, or freshly brewed coffee at the quaint Old Country Coffee Shop and Diner.
Ultimately the point of a getaway cabin is to slow down and enjoy soaking up your natural surroundings, or spending time with loved ones, whether it’s around your fire pit or inside your cozy tiny house. So make the most of this time, and do exactly that.
How to Book the Getaway House
When you know where you want to go (aka, where you want to “escape from”), select the destination from the drop-down menu at the top of the website. You’ll be able to select dates, number of people, and the number of beds.
The calendar immediately presents you with prices per night, and they vary depending on the time of year. Looking at mid-May, you’ll pay anywhere from $399 to $419 a night in Los Angeles—and sometimes you’ll have to book a minimum of a two-night stay. Lesser-busy cities like Nashville start from $99 per night.
You’ll also get booking options, depending on where you’re staying. In the case of Big Bear, you’re asked what kind of tiny cabin view you’d like…San Bernardino Mountains, or forest? Both are fantastic, but if you have a cabin on the outer loop of the Outpost, you’ll have more unobstructed views. From there you can book directly. It’s very easy to do.
Once you book, you’ll receive further details like exact location, check-in info and entry key code before you hit the road. You won’t receive all the information all at once—however, you can communicate with the concierge via text message, which is surprisingly efficient.
Big Bear Getaway House FAQs
If you’ve got Getaway House questions, then I’ve got answers.
Is Getaway House expensive?
Your tiny cabin getaway in Big Bear can be up to $499 per night, but in other locations, the price of the cabin is half that amount or even more. The Getaway House location from Kansas City, for example, has prices as low as $99 per night.
Is the Getaway House worth it?
If you’re an inexperienced camper, or if you’re looking for a “glamping” experience in a well-equipped tiny cabin in the middle of the woods, then yes. Getaway House is totally worth it.
Are the Getaway Houses safe?
Yes, Getaway Houses are very safe. Your getaway cabin will be close to plenty of other getaway cabins, so you’re never too far from help if you need it. There is also an emergency phone.
Where is the Los Angeles Getaway House?
The Los Angeles Getaway House is in the Running Springs area of Big Bear Lake, which is about a two-hour and 40 minute drive from the city (depending on where you’re leaving from).
How close are the Getaway cabins to each other?
The cabins are closer to one another than you might think, and there’s 40 of them at the Los Angeles Outpost. This is clearly shown on the website maps, but some of the photos make it seem like you’re a lot more secluded than you actually are.
How big are the Getaway cabins?
The cabins are tiny. Your cabin is basically a custom trailer, so it’s mostly one large open space (plus the private bathroom). The bed is large and comfy, and if you’ve rented a cabin with two beds, they’ll be stacked on each other like bunk beds.
How many locations does Getaway have?
Getaway House has outposts in over 20 other locations all across the United States. So if you live in one of the major US cities, there’s a good chance your next getaway is just a two-hour drive away.
What’s the check-in process like?
You won’t actually receive the exact location of your Outpost until you’ve made the booking. The day before your stay begins, you’ll receive an email with your cabin name and personalized entry code which will also be texted to you. Check in starts at 3 PM.
When is check-out?
Check out is at 11 AM. You’ll never actually have to come face to face with another human if you don’t want to…when you leave, you can simply hit the lock button and then be on your way. Introverts, rejoice!
Is it easy to get in touch with the concierge?
Unlike hotels or even campgrounds that have a check-in area or onsite workers, Getaway House simply provides a 24/7 concierge service…by text. They’ll be in contact with you leading up to your stay, and you’re more than welcome to ask questions directly via text.
Getaway House Promo Code
If you want to save on your next stay at the Getaway House, they’ll give you a promo code to share with your friends. Since I’ve stayed before, you can use my code “TRAVELFREAK” on your next stay and get $25 off when you book directly through the website.
Getaway House Big Bear Review: Final Thoughts
For most urban dwellers, getting out of town occasionally is an absolute must. Even though my getaways are usually in a tent in the backcountry, I really enjoyed my cabin experience at Getaway House Big Bear. It felt like I was camping, but I was also really comfortable!
If you have the luxury of staying awhile, I suggest booking at least three nights if you’d like total immersion. But longer is even better.
My biggest recommendation is to use your cabin and campsite as an opportunity to disconnect and be present.
If you’re looking for a solo trip and you want to spend some alone time in nature without having to go on a hike or sleep in a tent, booking a tiny cabin with Getaway House is a great idea. If you want to have undistracted time with a partner to connect more deeply, hey, that works too.