Your Guide to Relaxing Outdoors at the Cabin

For lots of people, the cabin is a place to relax and enjoy nature.  But sometimes that’s not easy to do.

Some people like to invite guests to accompany them to their cabin.  And while bringing friends along can add to the fun, it can certainly detract from the relaxation.  On top of that, if you have young kids at the cabin, it can be difficult to take some time to get away and relax.  The key to good relaxation at the cabin is to have enjoyable, safe activities for everyone there.  You need to have enough for people to do, or enough places for them to be, that you don’t have to constantly worry about being the host.  Let’s talk a bit about how to do that.

Relaxing at the Cabin with Kids

Kids are amazing.  I have four of my own and I love them all more than I ever thought possible.

Having young kids, I know what it’s like when you want to have just 10 minutes of quiet time to yourself and can’t seem to get it.  Kids tend to have a lot of energy and constantly want something to stimulate their minds.

The easiest way to keep them occupied and engaged is to give them things to do.  I’m not recommend mind-numbing activities.  At the cabin in particular, I’m not a huge fan of video games.  I think the cabin is a place to get outdoors and connect with nature.

If you can create a safe area around the cabin where your kids can roam without any serious danger, then let them roam.  If you can set limits on how far they go and they’ll obey, then let them explore a bit.

For really young kids, an enclosed safe area by the cabin is a good idea.  It’s easy to lose track of a child in a short time if they tend to wander.  If you don’t have a space like that, then come up with some indoor activities that they can do and where they’ll be safe unsupervised for a little while.

That said, some small children just want your constant attention.  My daughter is that way.  And I have just accepted that this is a season of life where I won’t quite get the relaxation I want.  The beauty of it, though, is that I get to spend a lot of quality time with my little girl who just loves being with her daddy.  So invite your small child to relax with you.  Pulling a little kid into your hammock with you might not be the ideal relaxation scenario, but it can be a tender moment and can give you at least some of the relaxation you desire.

Maybe all your kids like to relax a bit.  Even better.  Setup hammocks or chairs outdoors for everyone so they can all enjoy some moments of peace in nature.

Cabin Relaxation when you bring Visitors

Sometimes worse than kids when it comes to relaxing at the cabin are visitors.

When you bring friends or other family members with you to the cabin you can feel like you’re constantly on duty.  Host duty is one of the worst deterrents to peaceful relaxation.  So how do you get past that?

The first thing is to manage your own expectations.  If you invite really high-maintenance friends, then you’re probably going to have to deal with host duty to at least some extent and you need to plan for that.  But for most guests, you don’t have to go all-out as the host for them to have a good time.  Don’t set that expectation for yourself.  And don’t set it for them either.

Next you need to manage your guests’ expectations.  This doesn’t require a verbal speech where you explain that they need to look after themselves.  In fact, it will be better received and more effective if you treat it as an invitation.  Invite them in every way to make themselves at home.  Make sure the house rules are clear.  If you take off your shoes when you go inside, let them know that that’s the expectation.  Give them their space.  Let them know which room is theirs, or which corner of a room is theirs in some cases so they can have an area where they’re comfortable.

When you’re a guest at someone’s home or cabin, it can feel uncomfortable to do things for yourself.  Even going outside and walking around can feel awkward if you don’t know how your host wants things done.  So as a host, make your expectations clear to your guest.  Again, don’t be rude or strict about it.  Just be clear about how things are at your cabin and make it known that they’re free to enjoy the cabin and the area.  And then, let them be.

Third, give them space to relax themselves.  If you feel like you have to constantly wait on your guests, they’ll also feel like they have to be constantly waited on.  They’ll feel like they need permission to do anything.  If you make your expectations known and then go take care of what you want or need to take care of, then they’ll feel at home to take care of themselves.  If you hover over them, they won’t.

If you give them space to relax and enjoy themselves, then you’ll also have space to do the same.

Now that we know how to handle our family and guests at the cabin, let’s talk about setting yourself up for a relaxing stay at the cabin.

Get some Hammocks

The best relaxation at the cabin, in my opinion, is often done outdoors.  Laying back and feeling the warmth of the summer breeze while the sounds of nature surround you is one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done.

But laying back when you’re outdoors requires the right tool.  Laying out on the ground doesn’t often work since most cabins don’t have great lawns.  You need somewhere comfortable and clean to lay.

My favorite way to lay out at the cabin is in a hammock.  They’re inexpensive, comfortable, and fun.

There’s not a whole lot to a hammock.  If you have lots of trees, I suggest you just hang your hammock between them.  But, if your cabin is lacking a little in the tree department, a hammock stand can do the trick.

I have and use this hammock stand at my house and it works really well, even for me and I’m a big guy.  That link will take you to the product page for the stand with the hammock included.  You can get just the stand too, but it’s only a few dollars cheaper and the hammock that comes with it is nice too.

If you’re just looking for a hammock to hang between trees, you have a lot of options and really, any of them will do.

If you want to go inexpensive but strong, then a hammock like this one on Amazon will work really well.  There are a lot of brands of these and I don’t have one in particular that’s vastly superior to the others.  They’re made of nylon parachute fabric and typically come with straps with loops for wrapping around a tree, and carabiners to connect the hammock to the straps.  My wife and I both have one of these and we like to use them for the cabin and for camping.  They roll up to be really compact and they’re really light.

That said, I also like big hammocks made of heavier material, like the hammock that comes with the hammock stand I mentioned above.  If you don’t need a stand, just a hammock, then you can get a nice, big, heavier hammock like this one on Amazon.  I just find these easier to get in and out of and like laying in them.  The parachute fabric is a bit more slippery which isn’t actually a problem.  It’s just that if I have a choice, I like the texture of these heavier, almost canvas-like materials for hammocks.

And if getting in and out of a hammock doesn’t sound like fun, hammock swings like this one are a lot easier to get in and out of and are extremely comfortable to relax in.

Chairs for Relaxing

Hammocks aren’t for everyone, and it’s not always practical to have hammocks all over around your cabin.  That’s why I recommend that you get some comfortable outdoor chairs.

You don’t actually have to go too fancy here to have something to sit in that’s relaxing and comfortable.  These reclining camp chairs are actually just that.  They’re relaxing and comfortable.  They recline easily but also sit up.  They’re great for sitting around a campfire, visiting with friends and family outdoors, or even just kicking back and enjoying the outdoors.

If you want to be able to enjoy being outside at your cabin, you’re going to want some good chairs.

Furniture Sets for Enjoying the Outdoors

In addition to camp chairs, you might also want some kind of outdoor furniture set for enjoying the outdoors.  Again, you don’t have to go too fancy here.

The main piece of furniture that I recommend is an outdoor table.  Enjoying an outdoor meal with family and/or friends can be relaxing and minimize clean-up in the kitchen and dining area inside.  But you can’t really enjoy an outdoor meal very well if people don’t have a table to sit at.

I actually don’t recommend that you do too fancy here.  Remember that anything you bring to your cabin you’ll want to lock up when you leave.  A nice outdoor furniture set isn’t easy to put away and store.  But, a basic wood picnic table like you would see at a city park can be left out at your cabin.  It’ll be better able to hold up to the elements and less likely to be broken or taken while you’re gone than anything fancier.

Just make sure you coat your table with a good stain or wood finish so it can last you for many years.

These picnic tables can often be bought at home improvement stores, but they’re also not hard to build.  You can find many good designs for free online and if you’re handy and have some basic tools, you’ll be able to put them together.

Grilling adds to the Relaxation

Cooking on the grill is one of the fun parts of staying at the cabin.  In fact, I cook on the grill at home fairly often too.  But why is grilling relaxing?

I find cooking on the grill adds to my relaxation by minimizing the mess and clean-up in the kitchen.

When I cook outdoors on the grill, I don’t use the pots, pans, baking dishes, etc.  I mostly just use the grill.  That means I have way less to clean up after.  Once dinner is cooked, I can enjoy it with my family and friends and not worry about getting to those dishes later.

If you spend much time at your cabin, I highly recommend that you get a grill that you can leave up there.  Even if it’s a really basic on, it’ll add to the fun and help promote better relaxation at your cabin.

Relaxing around the Fire Pit

A good cabin isn’t complete without an outdoor fire pit.  That is, unless your cabin is in a place where outdoor fires aren’t allowed.  Then ignore this section…

Installing a nice fire pit at your cabin, or even using an above-ground one like this one on Amazon really adds to the experience at a cabin.  Even making a fire ring with some stones you find nearby can do the trick.  Outdoor fires are just part of the experience of being in nature.  And kids and adults alike typically enjoy a good marshmallow, roasted over an open fire.

Fires are also fun for sitting around in the evening and visiting, telling stories, singing songs, and so on.  There’s something special and relaxing about sitting around a fire.  So if you want to add to the relaxing experience at your cabin, make sure you can enjoy a good fire outside.

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