Tips for Renting a Cabin in Arnold and Dorrington

February 25, 2023

Tips for Renting a Cabin in Arnold and Dorrington

As the gateway to the Sierra Nevada, Arnold, CA is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and families. If you’re planning a trip to Arnold, Dorrington, or Bear Valley and plan to stay in a vacation rental home, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the rental process. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about vacation rentals in the Arnold area.

What about Hotels?

Maybe you don’t need to accommodate a large family and aren’t looking to settle into a house. Or maybe you like the familiarity of having an onsite concierge or front desk person who can hook you up with all the local knowledge on the spot. Maybe you are not looking to cook at all, and plan to check out all the restaurants and diners, so don’t need a kitchen. If so, the vacation rental home may not be for you.  In the Arnold/Dorrington area, you might consider Arnold Meadowmont Lodge, Arnold Black Bear Inn, or the Timberline Lodge. And in Bear Valley, you might try the hotel right at the resort, Bear Valley Lodge.


Step 1: Determine Your Needs and Budget

The first step in renting a vacation home is to determine your needs and budget. How many people will be staying with you? What amenities are important to you, such as a hot tub, car charger, lake access, etc.? What is your maximum budget for the rental? By answering these questions, you can narrow down your search and find the perfect vacation home for your needs.

Step 2: Start Your Search Early

Vacation homes in the area can book up quickly, especially during peak summer or winter travel times. That’s why it’s important to start your search early. Generally, you will want to book about 6 weeks out if you want a good selection. And if you have a large group, you’ll want to book ever farther out, because of the small number of large homes in the area.

Pro tip: if you use VRBO or Airbnb for your initial search, run a Google search on the property name to see if they have their own direct booking website. It’s almost always cheaper to book directly with the owner!

Also, check out for availability – another way to book direct with local area cabin owners.

Step 3: Read the Rental Agreement Carefully

Before you book a vacation home, make sure you read the rental agreement carefully. This document outlines the terms and conditions of your rental, including the check-in and check-out times, any additional fees or taxes, and the cancellation policy. Be sure you understand and agree to all the terms before you sign on the dotted line.

Step 4: Communicate with the Property Owner or Manager

A good rental listing or property website should cover all of the basics, so you shouldn’t need to reach out to the owner before booking. But, if you are unclear about anything at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. If they don’t respond within a few hours at the most, that could be a warning sign – you want an attentive host.

Among the things you want to be crystal clear about:

  • What is check-in and check-out time?
  • Are there any additional fees that aren’t included in the listing, like pet fees?
  • How will I get the keys or codes to access the property?
  • What happens if I need to cancel? Will I get a refund?
  • Is there wifi or cell service in the home?

The more closely you read the information in the listing/website, the less likely you are to misunderstand something. When in doubt, ask the owner.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Stay!

Once you’ve booked your vacation rental, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your getaway. Take advantage of all the activities the area has to offer, such as wine tasting, skiing, hiking, swimming, kayaking, and fishing.  Renting a vacation home can be a great way to enjoy all the beauty and natural wonder of the Sierra Mountains. By following these tips, you can ensure that your rental experience is a positive one that you’ll remember for years to come.

Step 6: Love is a Two-Way Street- Respect the property

The rental cabins in the Arnold area are usually rented out by people who have put lots of TLC into their homes. Many owners continue to use and enjoy the cabins themselves and have created many memories in them, just as you plan to do.  Please respect the house rules and clean up after yourselves. Yes, you may pay a “cleaning fee” but leaving trash and food all over is not a great way to honor the work that the cleaner has done to make the place ready for you.  All cleaners will thank you! 😊


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