Looking for a fall nature adventure that lands somewhere between "glamping" and actual camping? Look no further than Douthat State Park. Nestled in the Allegheny mountains of central Virginia, a four-and-a-half hour drive from Washington, DC, the 4,490-acre pet-friendly park offers charming cabins and plentiful hikes for the beginner leaf-peeper.
I cannot stress the "beginner" part enough. When we went last weekend, our party consisted of four couples, each lodging in a cabin outfitted with a full kitchen, working fireplaces, central heat and a/c, and clean simple bathrooms (with phenomenal hot water and pressure). The majority of our pre-hike-planning included a map-scan for the dirtiest sounding trail (our choice, Blue Suck Falls) and a very detailed après-walk drinking plan.
Must-pack necessities for the weekend: boardgames, whiskey, family dog, s'mores ingredients, food for the grill, hiking shoes (maybe).
Cabins range from $75 to $102 per night during this fall season, and include parking and park fees. Our cheapest cabin (#6) featured a queen bed and small communal space, while the more palatial options (#9 and #11) have capacious living rooms to enjoy the hearth. Larger groups should consider renting one of the property's three lodges (where, unfortunately, dogs are not allowed).
Charlotte Savino is Travel + Leisure's Listings Editor.