Is owning a cabin part of your Minnesota dream?

It’s summer in Minnesota, which means that people who have lake cabins are there, headed there or just back from there. Today’s Question: Is owning a cabin part of your Minnesota dream?

  • Dennis

    Absolutely NOT part of my MN dream. People who own lake cabins in MN should be considered wealthy and blessed.

  • Janet

    Since I was a little girl I dreamed of owning a cabin. It became a reality in my 50’s, but was not the heaven I had dreamed all those years. It consumed weekends, leaving my ‘city’ home neglected, practically eliminated travel to any other areas and became a money pit. No more lazy weekends, but crazy weekends of packing and unpacking, driving thru creeping traffic heading ‘up north’ and exhausted Monday mornings. Sure, there were good times and some great memories, but our family decided to sell the cabin and discover those good times all over the state in resorts, state parks and even some lazy weekends at home exploring our fabulous city.

  • Ron

    Good Lord, no. Friends and families with cabins “Up North” are slaves to them.

    In addition to additional insurance, maintenance and the actual cabin costs, they spend their summers with twice the yard work and cleaning – not to mention spending a weekend opening the cabin each spring and closing it each fall. Plus, they use four to eight hours of valuable summer each week driving up and back.

    Life is far too short and time far too valuable for that.

  • Alison

    No. It is a lot cheaper to rent a cabin for a few days to get away and that allows you visit different places. Besides, I’d prefer that everyone have one home before I have two. It’s related to yesterday’s question, if you can afford a second home you are rich.

  • Gary F


    But I already have one lawn to mow, one kitchen clean, one house to fix.

    If I had the time to spend enough time there, that would be great. But I don’t.

    I spend enough time in the car during the week, I don’t need to spend my time in traffic Friday and Sunday nights.

    I pay enough taxes on my house, so I don’t need a cabin and get soaked because it’s not homesteaded.

    So, maybe when I get closer to retirement. I’m only 45, there will probably be a bunch of boomers selling out in 25 years. But for now, no.


    Invite me fishing, invite me to your lake place. I’ll drive, buy all the gas, groceries, bait, and beer, and I’ll clean up. YOU CAN DO ALL THE REST OF THE YEAR. You can store the boat, tune up the motor, fix the roof, put in the dock, rake the weeds, cut the tall brush, etc……

  • CC&H

    Judging from the comments so far, I’m the exception. We have a year round cabin “home” that we purchased last year but it’s not only our vacation and weekend spot, it’s a retirement home 6 years from now. It’s north of Hayward, 2 acres of woods right next to the most beautiful lake in the world and in every way, it’s our dream home. Sure, it’s a 3 hour drive, but we haven’t missed a weekend or a week’s vacation yet.

    And when we come home Sunday we are completely refreshed, relaxed, de-stressed and ready to face the rat race that is living and working in Minneapolis.

  • Chris

    I like the IDEA of owing a lake cabin. But, like all other real estate, it is way over priced right now. I probably don’t have time for it either. Maybe if they come down in price a little I could do it. For now my dream is just hunting land up north. Maybe in 5, 10, 20, 30 years or so…

  • Steve

    Owning a cabin is a luxury that many people cannot afford. It is nice to get away maybe once in awhile, but i own a house with alot responsibilities and 2 kids (1 in k-12 system)

    (1 starting college) which taxing enough much

    less doubling the load and expenses with a cabin!

  • Lawrence

    Owning a cabin isn’t part of my dream. However, like “cabin dreamers” I have a similar goal, which is traveling the United States in an RV/Camper or a semi-truck with one of those extended sleeper cabs. For me, seeing nature and experiencing life in another part of America or the world for that matter is a once in a life time opportunity.

  • Wade

    After owning several I can tell you this. While they are nice, they are also a pain in the butt. You need to care for two properties instead of one. You are constantly packing and unpacking. You are limited to one place, or at least feel obligated to go there.

    I’m glad to have sold all but one of them. Last one is for sale as well. The in-laws and parents have cabins as well. We can still use theirs.

  • Rex Hamann

    No, it is not, but it IS part of my dream to spend a week or two at a cabin on a lake, one without TV or any electrical, only an outhouse, a hand pump and handful of candles.

  • Danny

    Our cabin is a 35 foot sailboat on Lake Superior and it is our dream. We are not wealthy but we are blessed not to be a slave to a lawn mower when we get to our boat. There is plenty of room for our family of four plus our dog. We have a new view with each new anchorage and a sailboat quells my desire for adventure and exploration.

  • Greg

    Although I think that my wife and I could afford a cabin financially, we have decided to forgo the cabin experience in favor of:

    golfing, bike riding, hiking the state parks, sculpture gardens, town festivals, out of state vacations, home BBQ, cabin rental, boat rental on the St. Croix, swimming at friends, softball, air-conditioned billiards at times, cooking parties, roller blading around the Mpls lakes, and sometimes even watching a movie at home.

  • Sue de Nim

    Things don’t make people happy. Friends & family do. Whenever I ask cabin owners what they like about their cabins, they invariably tell me about wonderful gatherings of family and friends. No one I know is infatuated with the cabin itself. Our family doesn’t see the need for a cabin. We have two or three favorite resorts we go to for our gatherings, and it’s a lot cheaper overall.

  • Khatti

    I have a thought for everyone else: making your main home about the size of a cabin. My dream house is essentially a small house: say something single story of between 700 and 1100 sq. ft. (and probably closer to the 700 sq. ft. than the 1100 sq. ft.). I don’t need anymore than that. I have no family to house, and the smaller and simpler my house is the less time I spend taking care of it. While I live in Southern Minnesota, my farm is on a lake. I don’t need to buy lake property anywhere else.

  • JC

    Not my dream–earning enough for one mortgage & property tax bill is a nightmare itself!

    Anybody who can afford a cabin should be paying their full share. Drop the mortgage interest deduction. Raise taxes on cabins to repair rural roads and make up for all the pollution in the lakes, that would save forests and prime farmland from the bulldozer!

  • justacoolcat

    Yes. Currently we rent a cabin for a week every summer and usually spend a few weekends at a friend’s cabin, but my wife and I would love to own one.

    She is a teacher and has her summers off and I’d love it if my children could grow up on the lake all summer. Additionally, we both have large families that would use the cabin and keep us company over the summer and when we retire we’d make it our home.

    That said, I fear prices are too high for even the most simple cabins.

  • Philip

    Yes – and getting away from as many people as I can when I vacation. I love people, but when I vacation I need to recharge my batteries without a lot of fool idiocy.

  • Brian

    Say goodbye to travel, money and weekends if you have a cabin. I don’t know anyone who ever gets to enjoy it they are so busy working on it. Its just a big expense and headache I am glad I do not have to be burdened with.

    By traveling we get to see other countries and parts of this country, we get to eat out at interesting and entertaining restaurants and lastly are not in traffic every Friday and Sunday.

  • Jared

    Do I desire two houses to maintain and look after; no. But I dream of retiring to a home on the lake

  • Adam

    I’m going to disagree with a few of the commenters on here. Cabins aren’t a luxury exclusive to the rich. My aunt and uncle have had a cottage on a lake for over 40 years. They are probably the furthest from being “rich.” Now, because of class-warfare folks like some of commenters on this board, their property taxes are forcing them off the lake. Are they paying their fair share? Is that your Minnesota, forcing retired folks off the lakes they spent their summers on? They have 50 feet of shore, their taxes are approaching $2,000. They simply cannot afford it anymore on their retirement incomes. Yes, many wealthy people own cabins, but please understand there are also people that have been enjoying cabins on those lakes for years. Is it fair that because of some folks’ animosity toward the stereotypical cabin owner, that we force everyone off the lake except for the very rich? Thats antithetical to my “dream” of Minnesota.

  • Chris Johnson

    Yes! My parents own a cabin, and my wife and I would LOVE to own one on the same lake. Does it make financial sense to buy when we have an open invitation to stay at theirs anytime. No! But we want one anyway.



  • Kathy

    It’s my dream — but it won’t be a reality. If I want to see the world, I can’t buy a cabin.

  • Keith

    No. If I wanted to live on a lake, I would buy a house on a lake. Why waste money on a second home you barely use anyway?

  • Tony

    It used to be that a cabin was just that, a cabin, not a second home that’s bigger other people’s regular homes. I look forward to a 20x20ft or so cabin in the middle of the woods next to a lake. No other people around, no lawn to worry about, and perhaps the most sophisticated thing in the entire cabin being the windows. I do want an actual cabin someday, not a second house for vacation.

  • CC&H

    Adam – Thank you!

  • Sean

    Not really. I LOVE going to other people’s cabins, but I also like going to Florida and Wisconsin and lots of other places. I think the cost of the place and the lack of other options makes it less desirable for me.

    I want to explore lots of places, not just get tied to one area.

  • Shelley

    As the previous comments show, everyone’s needs are different.

    I never had a “cabin dream,” but married into a family that has shared a lake cabin through five generations (so far).

    It has given us much more extended-family get togethers than we would have otherwise, and our kids are learning life skills while enjoying activities away from television. We all work together so the upkeep is not too burdensome on any one family member.

    We count our blessings daily (except when in traffic!), and are happy to pay for this benefit in our lives.

  • Lydia

    I’m not interested in doing the work involved with owning a cabin although I love sitting by a lake as much as any other MN native – but not the same lake every summer weekend. I just signed over a part-ownership in a family cabin to the siblings who do want and use it. I think they will let us visit whenever we want as long as we bring some food and drink. We’ll send postcards from our travels around the country.

  • Carrie

    It’s a nice “dream” but I think the reality is usually much different.

  • Bill A

    Heck, NO. besides some of these so called “cabins” are just realy second homes.

  • Kinzie

    My dream is to spend weekends at a friend or family member’s cabin — more fun, less work!

  • Kevin

    Owning a HOME is part of my dream.

    A extra home?

    More sinning wasteful greed.

  • Paula

    No, we live in northern Minnesota. When we go on vacation we pack up the trailer and head to the Twin Cities.

  • Sharon

    No way! My parents have a cabin and it is too much money and work. My only hope is that they sell it before I inherit it.

  • stu klipper

    Not as such…

    My Minnesota dream is having a load of hospitable friends who own lake (and river) cabins.

  • Damon

    Absolutely not.

    As Fran Lebowitz so aptly put it, “I’m not the type to want to get back to the land. I’m the type who wants to get back to the hotel.”

  • TN

    My dream of “cabin” is going up north to a lake with my 12 ft. fishing boat and set up a tent and do some real camping. To bad I have to go almost as far as the Boundary Waters to find such a lake that has not become all but private property by all the cabin owners. For those rich cabin owners complaining about the taxes, sell your property back to the state so the true lake owners, the people of Minnesota, can use the lakeshore.

  • dick holt

    Nice but would rather spend on travel in-state, US, and international. For our family, having both is not possible.

  • Susan

    My family has had a cabin for over 50 years, and it is getting crowded, too many cabins on a small lake. My husband & I are just having to start to pay toward the upkeep and the taxes, we are 1 part of 6 siblings that share, I have no idea how this will be in the future, but I hope well. Right now we go Resort hopping, we go to Mom & Pop type, cheap places that are further North than our is. My Dad moved to the cabin 15 years ago, after my Mom died, he had it winterized so he can stay all winter, he does sort of hog it in the summer, we call him our fixture. But it is nice for him and for us, he’s always there so we don’t have to worry. It used to be far away, now it seems closer, just because of the more and more people going up.

    I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

  • DNA

    I like to have friends who have cabins on the lake and river and in the forest. I like the idea of sharing personal and communal time with nature. Cabins that are built and maintained with nature in mind and heart are the best.

  • John Gadbois

    I was surprised by all of the very negative comments about cabins and the people that own them or are able to. At least ’til I saw the source of the thread…

    I know a # of people who have them, never heard a complaint. I do understand the extra wok argument though. That is why the cabin I will buy will be kept as low maintenance as possible. No I will not feel guilty that I own two homes. I work hard for my money and pay my fair share too.

  • Jim Ivey

    Not at all. I prefer to spend my time and effort improving my local community, to create a place that has all the benefits of a cabin (quiet, green, access to outdoor recreation, etc.). If everyone put the same amount of money and effort into their local communities, we’d be surrounded by gardens, parks and trails. Why would you want to leave that for a cabin?

  • Annette

    Yes Eric, it is…but I would make it my home, not a place to try to get to on a weekend. I do agree though, the price tags are crazy, it shouldn’t cost $300,000. for a tiny cabin on a lake in northern MN….that’s the sad part. But it is still on my dream list….and I look at postings almost everyday. The bigger step is giving up a better paying (city) job for a simpler one, to be there full time….but we have to sacrifice some things in order to make other things happen…..NOT giving up the dream.

  • Neil

    I own a simple cabin and it has been a dream of mine for a variety of reasons. But I feel compelled to respond to the following posters:


    I am definitely not one of the “wealthy and blessed”. I can afford my cabin because I do not have a family. Some might say that those with a family are the ones who are wealthy (in love) and blessed.


    I do pay my full share in taxes, and more. There is no mortgage interest deduction on a second home.

    Raise taxes to repair rural roads? My neighbors and I have to fight just to have the basic maintenance on our simple gravel road. And there are no street lights, utilities, waste removal, etc. that are covered by our taxes. Most of it goes to the local schools, which do not benefit us “seasonal home” owners as much as the people who live there permanently. I’m glad to know that my taxes are going to help out the community, but I sometimes feel like a cash cow that can be milked for revenue without being able to directly enjoy the benefits.

    Also, in my cabin’s area it is the chemical runoff from farmland that is affecting (polluting) the lake. Waste control and shoreline management are virtually the only things the local officials care about and are strictly enforced for the cabins.

    You may have seen differently, but this is my situation. In short, not all cabin communities are created equal.

  • Jackie

    Frankly I am shocked by most of these postings! I grew up going to “the cabin” When I married my husband we bought our own on the same lake. 39 years of memories and and seven kids later we still love it! We will only work until 10:00 and the rest is play-and that is only after we have been fishing early. We do all of the things the rest of you do with our central point being the cabin. We bike, fish, take pontoon rides at night and gaze at stars, have bon-fires, family meals, swim, tube, pick agates, hike in the woods and visit parks we even go on a trip every other a year. We enjoy our kids and grand-kids so much up there, and love to relax. Rich? heavens no, we don’t drink or smoke, we seldom go out to eat because that isn’t our thing and we enjoy that savings on a cabin. I’m sure it does help that our cabin is an hour away from the Twin Cities.