6 Adventurous New Ways to Sleep in the National Parks

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6 Adventurous New Ways to Sleep in the National Parks
It’s nice to have a comfy place to unwind after a long day of travel, especially if you’ve spent that day adventuring through America's national park system. While traditional park-side accommodations typically involve either a sleeping bag or a high-priced luxury lodge, options today are not only varied—they’re downright cool. Here are six unique places to rest your head near some of the country’s most awe-inspiring natural monuments.
By Alina Polishuk, AFAR Contributor
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    Under Canvas’s latest property in the heart of the Grand Canyon allows guests to experience one of nature’s dreamiest creations in style. Opening in June of this year, each luxury tent on the 56-acre property (located at the base of Bill Williams Mountain) has at least one plush, king-sized bed, a wood burning stove, patio furniture, and chic, safari-inspired décor. And even though guests will technically be camping, there are no grimy outhouses here. While the largest tents have en suite bathrooms, other guests have access to a comfortable shared bathroom, complete with hot water, private showers, and eco-friendly products. Eager glampers can also check out Under Canvas's locations in Moab, Yellowstone, and Glacier.

    Photo courtesy of Under Canvas
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    At the western edge of the fairytale-esque forests of Olympic National Park lies Kalaloch Lodge, a seaside retreat that welcomes explorers with simple but comfy amenities. With worn wooden paneling, Pendleton blankets, and views of the ocean from most cabin windows, this place pulls in the best of the Pacific Northwest. There are several lodging options for visitors at Kalaloch, from the larger Bluff Cabins to suites in the Seacrest House. But no matter the room, Kalaloch makes one thing clear: There is no Internet connection or phone use outside of the main lodge, so guests should prepare to disconnect from their screens and immerse themselves in the magic of Olympic.

    Photo courtesy of Kalaloch Lodge
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    With the Puebloan ruins at nearby Mesa Verde National Park serving as inspiration, Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch offers four funky options for those seeking an immersive overnight experience. Their largest option, called the Mokee House, is built pueblo-style, and comes complete with a stone shower, outdoor oven, and Ansazi lookout tower. But don’t let the description fool you. Each property on this sprawling ranch emulates southwestern traditions without compromising on modern amenities: décor is tastefully rustic and kitchens and bathrooms are both functional and beautiful.

    Photo courtesy of Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch
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    There’s no shortage of adventurous things to do in Big Bend National Park, so why stop at night? This complex of rental properties in Terlingua’s Ghost Town (don’t worry, it’s more campy than creepy) offers a diverse range of options for adventure-seeking overnighters. By far the most unique is the WiFi and electricity-equipped tipi, but other great options are a kitschy airstream and a recently renovated 100-year-old casita.

    Photo courtesy of Terlingua Rental Properties
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    WeeCasa’s location just 30 minutes away from Rocky Mountain National Park offers the perfect backdrop for the tiny-house mantra: freedom through simplicity. Why waste space on piles of things, when the world outside is waiting to be explored? Each of the 10 homes at WeeCasa are certified “tiny homes,” meaning that they are less than 250 square feet in size. But despite their spacial limitations, each home not only has at least one queen-sized bed, but also a kitchenette, full bathroom, and an airy, elegant aesthetic.

    Photo courtesy of WeeCasa
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    Set deep inside the lush rainforest of the Big Island, the guest cottages at Hawaii’s Volcano Rainforest Retreat provide an elegant escape for nature-lovers. The locally inspired décor and the vibrant surroundings of the property's four cabins offer respite from some of the area’s big-name hotels and crowded beaches. Start your day with Rainforest Retreat’s homemade breakfast of macadamia-studded granola and Kona coffee before heading off to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, just a five-minute drive away.

    Photo courtesy of Volcano Rainforest Retreat
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    If you can’t seem to choose just one park to visit and one funky place to sleep, perhaps it's time to make every on-the-road adventure a unique one. In honor of the National Parks Centennial Celebration, Airstream teamed up with Oregon-based woolen company, Pendleton, to design a travel trailer that honors the country’s most beautiful natural monuments. True, the $115,000 price tag is not easy to swallow (though Airstream promises that $1,000 of each sale goes towards the preservation of the U.S. National Park system), but the memories will pay for themselves. Oh, and the year-long free pass to all of America’s parks doesn’t hurt either. With hundreds of campsites available all around the country, it’s time to get road-trippin’.

    Photo courtesy of Airstream

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