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
Over the years, the Ahwahnee inn has become as much of a Yosemite icon as the landmarks the hotel overlooks. Built in 1927 with views of Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, and Half Dome, the property underwent a renovation in 2010, updating its 99...
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...
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
For one of the skyline's best views, check out the Cavallo Point Lodge, which is set in Fort Baker, a 350-acre national park just below the Golden Gate Bridge. It has 17 colonial renovated buildings that have red roofs and covered porches....
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
Visiting the legendary Fairmont Banff Springs Resort is like walking through a history lesson. Kids will love all the pictures of the hotel’s old days, as well as the castle-like feeling of the stone halls and archways, built over 125 years...
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