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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, whether you book with us at Evergreen Dorrington, or not. So, now on to our tips for renting a cabin!

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! 😊

Ask these Seven Basic Questions to your Vacation Rental host before Renting your Next Cabin in the Mountains.

Are you planning your next vacation getaway to beautiful Dorrington or another mountain destination? If so, you’re in for a treat! Dorrington, located in Calaveras County, is a charming destination known for its natural beauty and outdoor adventures. And what better way to experience this picturesque town than by staying in a cozy vacation rental cabin? As the owner-operators of Evergreen Dorrington Chalet and Evergreen Pinecone Cottage, we understand the importance of making your stay as enjoyable as possible. Here are some essential questions you should ask your next vacation rental host before booking your accommodation. Okay, hopefully, they will answer these questions in the listing, but if they don’t, you need to ask.

Are Pets Welcome? Don’t assume that pets are welcome. Although we welcome pets, this is the exception, not the rule. Did you know that only about ¼ of all listings on Airbnb and VRBO allow pets? Knowing the pet policy upfront can save you the hassle of finding alternative accommodations for your beloved pet. Do they charge a pet fee? How many dogs can you bring? Can you bring your cat??

What Supplies and Appliances do you have? Every vacation rental is unique, and the amenities offered can vary widely. It’s essential to ask your host directly or explore our listing materials and website for details about the amenities available in the cabin. This could include information about the kitchen appliances, entertainment options, outdoor features like a barbecue grill or hot tub, and more. This is especially important if you need specific appliances, such as a rice cooker or blender. The kitchens in our cabins are “well-stocked” but we just may not have what you need – don’t hesitate to ask!

What Happens if it Snows? If you’re planning a winter getaway, it’s essential to be prepared for snow. Ask your host directly or check the listing materials and website for information about snow plowing, driveway access during snowy conditions, and the frequency of road closures due to snowfall. Ask if snow chains are typically required. Note: A good host will give you as much information as possible, BUT they can’t predict the weather or conditions. So, please don’t expect perfection!

Also, ask whether they have a professional plow service (we do!) or have a whole house generator (we do!). Being informed about snow-related logistics will ensure a safe and comfortable stay during the winter months.

Check-out Tasks Every place is different! There has been a lot of bad press lately about some hosts asking guests to basically clean the entire house at checkout! Some properties might ask guests to sweep, put away clean dishes, and start laundry, among other things. It’s important to ask your host directly for specific check-out instructions. Sometimes this information isn’t available before check-in, but sending a quick note to the host, especially if it is a large home – is a great idea. At Evergreen Dorrington, we ask very little of our guests to ensure your stay is hassle-free. Knowing the expectations in advance can help you plan your departure accordingly.

Nearby Attractions and Activities While your primary goal might be a relaxing cabin retreat, it’s also essential to know what’s around the area. Ask your host directly or explore our listing materials and website for information about nearby attractions, outdoor activities, dining options, and any local recommendations they have. This information can help you make the most of your stay and explore the beauty of Arnold, Dorrington, or wherever your travels take you! Our guests receive a complete digital guidebook that we created. This offers lots of suggestions for local things to do in the area.

Cancellation Policy Life can be unpredictable and sometimes plans change. It’s a good idea to clarify the cancellation policy with your host directly if they are not clearly spelled out on the listing or property website. Understanding the terms and conditions for cancellations can give you peace of mind in case unforeseen circumstances arise.

Note: Travel insurance can really be helpful here, and can give you added flexibility at a pretty low cost.

Emergency Contact Information While we hope for a trouble-free stay, it’s always a good idea to have emergency contact information readily available. Ask your host for emergency contact details. We give guests our phone numbers and email addresses. We also give them the numbers of our local team on the ground in case anything comes up that needs immediate attention. Also, ask what cell phone providers have coverage in the area – if your carrier doesn’t work there, you’ll want to know that sooner rather than later. We leave our guests to themselves, but we don’t abandon them! We always make ourselves available!

In conclusion, communication with your vacation rental host is key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable getaway. Whether you’re asking these questions directly or finding them in the listing or website, being well-informed will help you create unforgettable memories during your stay at Evergreen Dorrington Chalet and Cottage or wherever you end up visiting!

Happy vacation planning!