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Farmington's Whitetail Woods cabins are architectural stunners

Way cooler than your childhood treehouse.

Way cooler than your childhood treehouse.

Kickin' it outdoors is in our DNA. Whether it's 80 degrees and sunny or there's a windchill advisory, something about nature beckons us to come out and play. 

One recent addition to the outdoor experience is now attracting national attention for beauty of another kind.

Since opening in 2014, a trio of rustically stylish cabins in Whitetail Woods Regional Park in Farmington have earned serious design props. This month the Dakota County cabins snagged an American Institute of Architects award for excessive awesomeness in the “specialized housing” category.

Designed by Minneapolis' HGA Architects and Engineers, the cabins are billed as treehouses reimagined, sitting on a hillside atop 14-foot stilts for views between the trees.

Two years ago Whitetail Woods became the first new Dakota County park in 30 years, and the 227-square-foot cottages have quickly become its signature feature.

“They've been really popular,” says spokesperson Mary Beth Schubert. “Our guests tell us they really enjoy the accommodations and the setting.”

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Popular might be an understatement. At a going rate of about $70 a night, the next available weekend isn't until December.

Tucked among 5,000 acres of protected land, the tiny cedar cabins seem tailored for not-quite-roughing-it retreats. While each is rigged with electricity (and more important, heat), bathrooms and showers are in a separate building about 30 feet away.

With a pair of bunks and two day beds, the cabins comfortably sleep four, though there's room for two more sleeping-bags. You're on the hook for your own bedding, however.

Check out more photos below.