Drakesbad Guest Ranch, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Plumas County
Drakesbad, a 19th century ranch in the shadow of Mt. Lassen, is a summer place -- and an adventure in time travel. The lodge was electrified only in the 1990s, and its six guest rooms still feature kerosene lamps. (Bungalows, cabins, an annex and a duplex add up to 19 total units.) After a day of hiking, fishing or horseback riding amid the park's tall trees, hissing hydrothermal vents and scenic seasonal lakes, guests circle chairs around the outdoor fire ring under stars that hang low and bright. (Altitude: 6,200 feet.) No room keys. All meals family style. Soda and beer in buckets on the covered porch. Some nights, sitting in the spring-fed pool and peering through the steam across the meadow, you catch deer peering back. The 2007 rates were $140 to $209 per adult per day, meals included. Children are free with paying adult.