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There's not really a wrong way to experience America's National Parks, whether you drive through during a road trip or camp out for a week. And while rustic cabins and tents are great, many of our 62 parks offer more luxurious alternatives within their established boundaries. National park hotels feature the best of both worlds, with king-sized beds and air conditioning (usually) set among some of the country's most beautiful landscapes. Check out 13 of the most amazing options to plan your next trip around, with picks in Yellowstone, Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, and more.
Old Faithful Inn, Wyoming Located in: Yellowstone National Park
Kicking off the list of beautiful national park hotels is Yellowstone's Old Faithful Inn. Opened in 1904, the property is considered one of the first examples of “parkitecture”—so designed to help park structures (like information centers or hotels) blend harmoniously with their surroundings. In addition to being the world’s largest log hotel, it also features an enormous, 85-foot-tall stone fireplace that dominates the lobby. Its best feature is undoubtedly its proximity to the Old Faithful Geyser, which you can see from the east-facing windows. (Note: The Inn is only open from May through October; if you're looking to visit Yellowstone in the winter, the adjacent Old Faithful Snow Lodge is your best option.)
Zion Lodge, Utah Located in: Zion National Park
People have slept beneath the shadow of the towering sandstone cliffs in Zion National Park for over 8,000 years. You can easily follow in their footsteps—but in accommodations that are a far cry from roughing it in the wilderness. Zion Lodge (the only lodge actually located with the park boundaries) has standard hotel rooms, plus 40 cabins with private porches, suites with sitting rooms, and flat-screen TVs. But when you're surrounded by animal life and 3,800-foot sandstone cliffs, we're hoping you won't dare reach for that remote.
La Quinta Resort & Club, California Located in: Joshua Tree National Park
While La Quinta Resort & Club is technically located about 30 miles outside of Joshua Tree National Park, the Waldorf Astoria property has a new package that allows visitors to set up camp (literally) within the park boundaries: Camp'd Out Joshua Tree Experience. In partnership with Camp'd Out Tents, the three-day package includes luxury tent accommodations (including Waldorf Astoria bedding), overnight butler service, and transportation in and out of the park. If you can pull yourself away from the comfy bed and s'mores station, you'll be awarded with some of the best night sky views in the entire country.
Volcano House, Hawai'i Located in: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
If you’ve ever wanted to stay at the summit of a volcano, here’s your chance: This storied hotel is situated near the Big Island's Halema'uma'u Crater, itself close to the summit of Kilauea. Aside from the obvious perk of overlooking a volcano, the hotel also has daily tours and bike rentals, a restaurant serving Hawai'ian cuisine, and historic rooms with caldera views.
The Oasis at Death Valley, California Located in: Death Valley National Park
It may be the driest and hottest place on earth, but Death Valley happens to have one of the most luxurious hotels in southern California. The appropriately named Oasis of Death Valley—which comprises two hotels, The Inn at Death Valley and Ranch at Death Valley—is a sprawling complex complete with spring-fed pools, golf course, spa, and views of the park's rock formations and epic sunsets. To best explore the desert surroundings, book one of the resort's tours and activities, including mountain bike rides out Skidoo Road and jeep drives to ghost towns.
El Tovar, Arizona Located in: Grand Canyon National Park
Daredevil types will get a kick out of El Tovar, located just 20 feet from the Grand Canyon's plunging Southern Rim (pop-culture fiends, meanwhile, may recognize it from National Lampoon’s Vacation). Built in 1905, the Swiss-chalet-like building incorporates Native American motifs, hand-built furniture, plus original drawings from its architect, Charles Whittlesey. The hotel was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, and has hosted such guests as Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paul McCartney (who allegedly had to be told to keep his piano playing down during his stay).
Blackberry Mountain, Tennessee Located in: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
You certainly won't be roughing it during your stay at Blackberry Mountain, the much-anticipated follow-up to Blackberry Farm that opened in early 2019. The nature-centric luxury lodge is like summer camp for grown-ups, complete with 36 freestanding log cabins—four of which have a second bedroom and outdoor spa, all of which have views of the Smokies. Plush amenities include Egyptian cotton bedding, Bose smart speakers, and soaking tubs. It's a far cry from sleeping bags and a tent, to be sure. Make sure to get your fill at the in-house restaurants (breakfast and dinner are included in the room rates) and book a sound bath session in the yoga loft.
Many Glacier Hotel, Montana Located in: Glacier National Park
While a lack of TVs, air conditioning, and internet isn't typically a plus when booking a room, the technology-deficient Many Glacier Hotel is a notable exception, thanks to its location in the incredibly scenic Glacier National Park. Right on the edge of Swiftcurrent Lake in the northeastern area of the park (dubbed the “Switzerland of North America” due to its high mountains and crystal-clear waters), the five-story chalet offers both suites and standard rooms, plus activities like boat cruises, horseback riding, and tours in one of the park's famous Red Buses.
Crater Lake Lodge, Oregon Located in: Crater Lake National Park
As the only accommodation within Crater Lake National Park, this hotel offers unparalleled views of the eponymous blue body of water. It certainly looks the part of a rustic cabin, with wooden beams criss-crossing the lobby and a massive stone fireplace that’s a popular gathering spot for visitors. After a day of hiking, swimming, or fishing in/around the lake, enjoy a meal at the lodge's dining room before settling down in your cozy guest room (try to book one with lake views, of course). Note, like many other national park hotels, Crater Lake Lodge is only open from May to October.
The Ahwahnee, California Located in: Yosemite National Park
Built in 1927, The Ahwahnee is a National Historical Landmark made up of 5,000 tons of stone, 1,000 tons of steel, and 30,000 feet of lumber, all carted through the mountains during the park's early years. A mix of Art Deco and Native American architecture (just check out those turquoise shutters), the hotel offers views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, and Glacier Point. The best part? The lodge is open year-round, meaning you can experience Yosemite during the season of your choice.
Paradise Inn, Washington Located in: Mount Rainier National Park
Those looking for a more rustic experience would do well to book a room at this lodging, within the “Paradise” section of the national park. You can expect smaller-than-average guest rooms with no TVs, phone, or internet access; and if you book a standard room (as opposed to an annex room), you'll have to share a bathroom with the rest of the rooms on your hall. If you can bear such a lack of modern luxury, you'll be rewarded with cozy log furniture and stone fireplaces, miles of hiking trails just outside the door, and unparalleled views of Mount Rainier.
Jackson Lake Lodge, Wyoming Located in: Grand Tetons National Park
Come for the park, stay for the views. Thanks to 60-foot panoramic lobby windows, an outdoor patio, and the occasional moose wandering through the property, this Grand Teton National Park spot is perfect for those looking for an upscale, rustic experience. Jackson Lake Lodge has several restaurants, adventure outfitters, and a heated outdoor swimming pool, and is open from May to September.
Cavallo Point Lodge, California Located in: Golden Gate National Park
While many of the lodges on this list offer swanky amenities you wouldn’t necessarily expect at a national park, Cavallo Point takes it a step further: There’s an on-site spa, Lexus cars for guests to borrow, and culinary sessions at its cooking school (like I said, swanky). The hotel offers both contemporary digs (with gas fireplaces, sleek furniture, and pet-friendly options), as well as historic rooms in the former officers’ residences at Fort Baker, with the addition of modern furnishings and Golden Gate Bridge views.
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