McKinley Chalet Resort
240 George Parks Highway
Photo by Ann Shields
McKinley Chalet ResortI like hotels in general, but there’s a special place in my heart for national park lodges. The range of accommodations usually encompasses several levels of vacation budgets (Yay for patriotic inclusiveness!) and there’s nothing better than waking up surrounded by the very sights and sounds you’ve traveled to see. Denali National Park doesn’t have any NPS-owned lodges, but you can get pretty danged close in terms of atmosphere and location (the park is right on the other side of the roaring Nenana River) by staying at this sprawling Holland America-run resort. Recently renovated accommodations include deluxe rooms and suites in buildings strategically placed along the river and deluxe rooms in the Canyon Lodge building. All buildings are served by a shuttle service and linked by paths. Decorated with historic photographs and rustic-chic touches, my suite room was a dreamy blend of civilization and wild surroundings. Falling asleep to the soundtrack of a rushing river just feet from my window was perfect way to end a day spent in the park. [This photo is a view from my window just before midnight in late June. Midnight!]
Ann Shields traveled to Alaska and the Yukon with Holland America Line as part of AFAR’s partnership with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more on Ann’s journey, visit the USTOA blog.