Travel Review: Sugar Pine Cabin Vacation Rental (Twain Harte, California)
This post may contain affiliate links. My stay at Sugar Pine Cabin was paid for by myself.
Last November, we were at Yosemite National Park and the most magical thing happened: it started to snow! This park is beautiful in its own right but, when you add snow flurries, it truly becomes something special. At that moment, my husband and I looked at how happy our three kids were playing in the thinnest layer of snow and vowed to find a proper snow experience for them this winter.
We weren’t keen on the drive to Lake Tahoe for just a weekend so we started looked at some of the places in the Western Sierras region which would be a shorter drive (a couple hours) with options for snow play. Using my favorite method of travel planning called “scrolling around Google Maps”, I stumbled upon a cabin rental that was booked directly by the owner. The cabin was in the location we wanted (Twain Harte), had plenty of space (sleeps up to 14) and had an arcade in the basement! We were immediately sold!
When we went: March 2021
Ages of kids at time of travel: 7, 6 and 2
Where we stayed: Sugar Pine Cabin, Twain Harte, California
What To Expect
Twain Harte is located in the Western Sierras along CA-108, easily accessible for the Bay Area and the Central Valley. Most Bay Area residents can expect a 2-3 hour drive in non-peak times of day. From the main road, the cabin is just a few minutes drive and has a dedicated parking spot. To get to dining and recreation, it usually no more than 30 minutes so you have a nice, central home base.
The house is tri-level with the bedrooms spread throughout making this perfect for a larger group or multiple families. As a family of five, it was great! The main level has a half bathroom, large dining room (8 seats), living room with TV, galley style kitchen and then a King bedroom with a full bathroom. In the lower level, you’ll find the awesome arcade, a full bathroom and another bedroom with two Queen kids. There is more sleeping space upstairs including a huge sleeping porch with six twin bed – perfect for the kids if you have a larger group!
Sugar Pine Cabin has that rustic mountain feel but is equipped with all the creature comforts like a gas fireplace, wall heaters, modern kitchen appliances and Comcast Xfinity cable TV. As you’re surrounded by trees, the cabin can feel darker but there are plenty of windows and lots of lights to brighten the space.
My kids absolutely loved the arcade – with multiple games set to free play, air hockey and then the claw game (the only one where you need quarters), there is something for everyone! We love to seek out vacation rentals that offer something unique or different and Sugar Pine Cabin definitely fit the bill!
There is some outdoor space to enjoy as well. As you walk around the neighborhood, you will also be treated to the beautiful, private community lake. The cabin rental includes lake access and a card key can be found inside the cabin. We went in winter so we only walked by. For summer days, there is a small beach, two swimming platforms and parking spaces (if you choose to drive over but, from Sugar Pine Cabin, it is a very short walk).
Things To Keep in Mind
- With the exception of the private lake and one cafe, Alicia’s Sugar Shack (15 min walk), you will need a car to get anywhere.
- The cabin has everything you need: kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies, towels and all bedding.
- There are a few smaller markets nearby but, for a full-service grocer, stop at Safeway in Sonora on your way in.
What Else To Do in the Area
The Western Sierras provide a wealth of recreation and historical sites. There is not a shortage of things to do to fill your time at Sugar Pine Cabin.
To the North:
(Please note that the Sonora Pass is a seasonal road so, in winter, you can only go so far):
- Stanislaus National Forest (hiking, biking, picnics, fishing, lakes)
- Leland High Sierra Snowplay (tubing and snow play areas – pre-booking currently required)
- Dodge Ridge Ski Resort
- Pinecrest Lake Resort
To the South:
- Twain Harte
- Oakdale (stop on your way to or from the cabin) – from mid-February to mid-March, the almond blossoms are in bloom and they are simply gorgeous. Aside from this, it is the “Cowboy Capital of the World”.
What to Pack
For a winter stay, we packed:
- Casual clothes (no need to dress-up) as well as comfy loungewear for the evenings
- Toiletries/personal items (things like shampoo and soap are provided)
- Warm jacket and sturdy, waterproof boots
- Snow gear
- Fun stuff for the snow: snowball makers and sleds (consider bring toys you’d normally bring to the beach to help build ice castles!)
- Snow chains are required if it is snowing. You can buy locally and can pay a little extra to have them put on and removed.
- Quarters if anyone wants to play the Claw game (only game that cannot be set to free play)
In summer, I would recommend adding:
- A light jacket for morning or evenings
- Swimsuit (or two) depending on how frequently you’ll be in the water
- Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for being out on the lake
- Water shoes (like this style)
- Water safety gear for kids (we love this 2-in-1 lifejacket/rash guard for younger kids)
Remote School or Work?
Sugar Pine Cabin has reliable internet so remote school or work is definitely an option. Between the three levels of the home, you can find a suitable spot for calls. Cell service is a bit spotty. A landline for local calls is provided – I used it when I ordered pizza one night as the person on the other line could barely hear me when I called from my cell phone!
How to Book
Book directly with the owner (Eric) on his website, Sugar Pine Cabin.
Looking for more book direct recommendations? Check out Lucky Bend Lookout in Guerneville, California.