America’s National Park system contains some of the country’s most spectacular sights: vast sprawling testaments to conservation and recreation, these pions of natural beauty are also some of the best places to spend an unforgettable getaway.
While there are often plenty of places to stay near these popular tourist attractions, there’s something special about lodgings that take guests within the heart of the parks themselves; front-row seats to unparalleled beauty and dramatic vistas that are majestically magical. The following lodges are some of the best National Park stays around: from a chalet-style, alpine dream to a volcano-side, rustic retreat, these four fabulous accommodations show that the timeless beauty of U.S. National Park lodgings will never go out of style—as long as they remain perfectly placed amid some of the most scenic settings around.
Dramatic Volcano Views In Hawaii
Imagine staying in a lush lodging perched 4,000 feet above sea level, on the *literal* edge of an active volcano? All this (and more) is available at the breathtaking Volcano House, a historic retreat situated on the rim of the Kilauea Caldera—one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Surrounded by a unique ecosystem and bordering the UNESCO Heritage Site of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the Volcano Lodge’s vintage lodgings, spectacular views, and exotic surroundings have guests living on the edge—Hawaii-style.
- Where It’s At: 1 Crater Rim Drive, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
- Contact: (808)-756-9625
- Hotel Amenities/Activities: Views of Halema’uma’u crater and Kilauea caldera; lanai; signature bath amenities (available in select Volcano House rooms). Other lodge amenities include free parking, sleep aid packets, room service, buffet breakfast, in-room sound machines, onsite retail shops, and restaurants. Additional accommodations include Namakanipaio Campground’s ten rustic one-room cabins and nearby campsites surrounded by nature and the spectacular views of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
- Room Rates: Volcano House rates vary by season, but weekend rates start at $285 and up/night, and weekday rates start at $80 and up/night.
- Things To Do: Explore Thurston Lava Tube; Hike the Kilauea Iki Crater or Crater Rim Trail; Scenic drive on Chain of Craters Road; Views from Mauna Loa Lookout; Visit Kipuka Puaulu Bird Park.
An Exclusively Private Island Escape
Who wouldn’t want to vacation on their own private island? While this type of dream vacay may seem like the stuff of mythical, tropical getaways, now, at the newly christened New River Gorge National Park, guests can do just that. A secluded seven-acre spot with exclusive access to both beaches and trails, this Coney Island, West Virginia Airbnb gives guests a front-row seat to the stunning New River Gorge—all from the comfort of their own cozy cabin.
- Where It’s At: New River Gorge National Park, Hinton, West Virginia
- Contact: See more details and book here. Guests should note that a watercraft is necessary to get to and from Coney Island.
- Hotel Amenities/Activities: Mountain and river views; bathroom essentials; fully equipped kitchen; patio/balcony; an open backyard with fire pit, grill, and outdoor furniture
- Room Rates: $351/night
- Things To Do: Explore historic Hinton; kayak, fish, or canoe; whitewater rafting; climbing; mountain biking; wildlife spotting; hiking.
A Death Valley Desert Oasis
A lush, upscale oasis smack dab in the middle of one of the world’s most unforgiving landscapes may seem anachronistic—however, after seeing the over three million acres (!) sprawling retreat at The Oasis at Death Valley, vacationers will find a larger than life marvel that’s more than a mirage. Old Hollywood feels meets luxe resort amenities in this renovated Death Valley dream: home to two sites, The Inn at Death Valley and The Ranch at Death Valley, guests will have their choice of sumptuous, mission-style guest rooms, private casitas, and ranch cottages elegantly tucked away amid the arid desert surroundings.
- Where It’s At: Death Valley National Park, Highway 190, Death Valley, California
- Contact: Via the website
- Hotel Amenities/Activities: Spring-fed swimming pool; basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts; 18-hole golf course; palm gardens with natural springs; Stargazers Deck (The Inn); onsite restaurants; in-room massages; sauna and exercise room (The Inn); nearby hiking. Amenities may vary by site and accommodation. Guests should note that the Inn is closed through September 14, 2022.
- Room Rates: The Ranch at Death Valley rates start at $239 and up/night; The Inn at Death Valley rates start at $339 and up/night.
- Things To Do: Visit the scenic viewpoints Dante’s View and Zabriskie Point; Stroll Badwater Basin; Artists Drive; Darwin Falls; Ubehebe Crater and nearby Eureka Dunes; Hike Mosaic Canyon
The (Glacial) Gem Of The West
A remote Rocky Mountain escape tucked away along the scenic edge of Swiftcurrent Lake, Many Glacier Hotel’s chalet-style atmosphere and cozy rooms offer guests stunning alpine views of the dramatic surrounding landscape—a true rural retreat to rival any mountain resort. A historic hotel that’s been wowing visitors since the early 19th century, this rustically upscale lodging is also known as the “Gem of the West,” a well-deserved moniker for such a breathtaking national park-side spot.
- Where It’s At: Glacier National Park, 1147 Rte 3, Browning, Montana
- Contact: (855)-733-4522
- Hotel Amenities/Activities: Onsite restaurants; lakeside accommodations available; Ready Care amenities; eco-friendly in-room features; hotel gift shop; balconies and terraces with beautiful mountain views
- Room Rates: Rates from $593 and up/night
- Things To Do: Glacier National Park Red Bus Tours; Take a guided boat or raft tour; Hike to Grinnell Glacier; Take a Horseback Ride; Rent a kayak or canoe; Bike or Drive Going-to-the-Sun Road; Visit Apiktuni Falls
The grandeur of these national park lodges is only overshadowed by their spectacular settings in some of America’s most scenic and breathtakingly beautiful places. And there’s plenty of history here, too—as national parks began to flourish, so too did their accompanying lodges meant to reflect the natural grandeur of their surroundings. With a visit to one of these spectacular spots, visitors can have once-in-a-lifetime experiences at these lovely lodges that offer front-row seats to some of the country’s most awe-inspiring attractions.