Yosemite Tent Cabin: Pay the Previous Night’s Low Temp

Bed down in a Curry Village unheated tent and see your stay-over fee freeze over.

DNC Parks & Resorts

EYE ON THE MERCURY: A vacationer can spend his entire holiday without once opening up a newspaper to the weather page or scrolling through his favorite rain-watching app. And when he returns home, and friends ask how the temps were wherever he'd traveled to, he might simply say "oh, it was sunny, maybe in the 70s, maybe low 80s, thereabouts." But there's no thereabouting at Curry Village in Yosemite National Park come the winter months. Keeping a keen eye -- the proverbial eagle eye, really -- on the thermometer, pretty much throughout the night, is a typical element in this particular stay, a stay where people pay the previous night's low temperature for their bed. Of course, that bed is inside an unheated cabin tent, so the challenge takes on a bit of a brrrr factor. And while people do get chilly in the night -- the lows are dipping into the mid-20s a week ahead of Thanksgiving -- some guests do will the mercury a bit lower, all in the spirit of saving a little cash the next night, if a multi-night stay is planned. Because if the low hits 19 degrees, per official data reported by the National Park Service? Yep, that's what guests in the unheated tent cabins will pay the following night: nineteen bucks.

A FEW SHOULD-KNOWS: You'll need to put a bit of money down -- thirty nine dollars -- to reserve your tent cabin, so there is that in advance (though "(r)ates will be adjusted the morning after each night's stay"). Degrees are measured in F, not C. You can, and should, layer up as much as you want to, to ward off the brisk. There are a few dates where this deal is not on, like around Thanksgiving and Valentine's, and certain days of the week are blocked-out, too. And, wait for it, if that ol' mercury slips below the big zero near the bottom, and temperatures samba into the minuses, well, you probably know what is coming: You'll be paid to stay, rather than paying to stay. Surely it is one of the most unusual lodging deals around -- surely -- and it has gained quite the rep as something cold buffs, adventurers, outdoors mavens, and lovers of the offbeat want to try once (or once a winter, for those who get hooked). Need to know more about possibly getting paid to stay in a tent, in a bed, in a national park, if temps really do go that low? Get all you need to snow. Er, know.

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