The Best Adventure Bases in the National Parks
Collected by Jen Murphy, AFAR Contributor
Sometimes the best adventures are in your own backyard. There are more than 50 national parks throughout the United States, offering activities that range from hiking and biking to fly fishing and scuba diving. Here, we share some of our favorite bases for exploring our country's natural beauty.
2300 Swag Road, Waynesville, NC 28785, USA
Set along the boundary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Swag’s 14 guest rooms feature patchwork quilts, postcard views of North Carolina’s mountains, and in most cases, wood-burning stoves. Personalized hiking sticks come in handy for...
12575 US-2, West Glacier, MT 59936, USA
Situated a quarter mile from the west entrance to Glacier National Park, this recently renovated landmark was built by the Great Northern Railway Company in 1910—the year the park was dedicated by President Taft—to host wealthy passengers from the...
Jenny Lake Road, Moose, WY 83012, USA
Handmade quilts top pine beds in the 37 cabins of this 1920 lodge in Grand Teton National Park. Horseback rides, cycling excursions, and epic views of the Teton Range are all part of the experience; lucky travelers might spot elk, bald eagles, and...
50 West St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, USA
Opened in 2012, the West Street Hotel wholeheartedly embraces its waterfront location. All 85 rooms have views of Frenchman Bay and are decorated in nautical Americana (think navy, red, and cream color schemes and lots of sailboat patterns on the...
1 Ahwahnee Drive, Yosemite Valley, CA 95389, USA
The ambience alone is worth a splurge at the dining room of the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, the stopover of presidents, queens, celebrities, and moguls since it opened in 1927 (and, allegedly, one of Stanley Kubrick’s inspirations for the hotel...
45362 Needle Rock Rd, Crawford, CO 81415, USA
Live out your Western fantasies without roughing it at Smith Fork Ranch. A two-story log house and four cabins accommodate 26 guests on 265 acres. Saddle up to ride into the mountains and meadows along old Ute trails or help to pen cattle along...
North Shore Road, St. John, St John 00831, USVI
Caneel Bay resort arranges day-long charters on sloops through its local partner New Horizons. The boats hop between the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Guests stop to swim in the natural pools at the Baths on Virgin Gorda and have a Painkiller...
2515 Tunnel Rd, Estes Park, CO 80511, USA
There are 200 family cabins for rent at the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center. If you're visiting the Rocky Mountain National Park area and NOT camping, there are plenty of hotels in town, and wonderful B&Bs and big lodges in the mountains,...
601 Murray Cir, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA
Located on the grounds of Fort Baker, a former Army post, Cavallo Point Lodge has taken great pains to preserve its historic roots. Half of the rooms and suites are meticulously restored officers’ residences with views of the hillside...
1 Rte 3, Browning, MT 59417, USA
As we were getting ready to depart for a guided hike from Many Glacier Hotel, we spotted this moose crossing Swiftcurrent Lake. The serene beauty and ability to be a part of nature makes Glacier National Park my favorite of the many U.S. national...
71 Banyan Dr, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Due to land-use requirements, very few hotels operate on the Hilo side of the Big Island. A number of bed and breakfasts, small hotels, and house or condo rentals are typically the best way to find accommodation in the Hilo and Volcano Village...
200 Pipestone Rd, Lake Louise, AB T0L 1E0, Canada
The Post Hotel & Spa is set in the heart of the pristine Banff National Park, surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains and overlooking Lake Louise. The original log-walled lodge—opened in 1942 as the Lake Louise Ski Lodge—has...
405 Spray Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1J4, Canada
Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel was the brainchild of Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway. On arrival at Banff, the tourism visionary made the canny observation, "Since we can’t export the scenery, we'll...
1 Kayenta Rd, Canyon Point, UT 84741, USA
Set within a postcard-perfect corner of southern Utah and surrounded by national parks, the 600-acre Amangiri is tucked away in a protected valley among the canyons, flat-topped mesas, and desert landscapes of the Grand Circle. The resort’s...
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