Staying at a national park lodge is an extremely popular option for national park vacations. For that reason, many in-park accommodations book up early in peak season, with visitors often reserving rooms up to a year in advance.
But procrastinators, rejoice: we’ve rounded up 17 national park lodges that still have availability for this summer. (Just don’t wait, as rooms won’t be available much longer!)
1. Skyland Resort – Shenandoah National Park, VA
Shenandoah National Park’s pristine mountains and fern-covered forests are just a few hours from the hustle of Washington, D.C. Motorists can marvel at the scenic views as they meander the two-lane, 105-mile Skyline Drive. The park has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, including Stony Man Trail, an easy 1.6-mile circuit that’s a good bet for families.
Skyland Resort’s accommodations are scattered over a wide area and range from rustic cabins to modern motel-style units, some with balconies and mountain views. Skyland’s Pollock Dining Room serves regional specialties three times each day, with a children’s menu available. The Mountain Taproom presents kid-friendly entertainment nightly. In 2020, the hotel has limited availability dispersed throughout the summer season.
2. Cedar Pass Lodge – Badlands National Park, SD
The beauty of South Dakota’s Badlands paints an otherworldly picture. This rugged landscape of prairie grasslands presents subtle color tones that mingle with dramatic geological formations of eroded buttes, spires and pyramids. Wildlife, including antelope and bison, abounds. The park has minimal light pollution so let the kids stay up late and appreciate the night sky.
Cedar Pass Lodge’s homespun cabins are furnished with handcrafted pine furniture and comfy porch chairs strategically placed to enjoy the spectacular scenery. Cabins are heated and air conditioned, with flat-screen TVs and microwaves. The restaurant bakes their own fresh fry bread and kuchen, South Dakota’s official dessert, daily. The lodge is open from Late April until late October. They have summer availability, particularly in August.
3. Glacier Bay Lodge – Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, AK
Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park’s glaciers, fjords, mountains and rain forest offer plenty of room to roam. It’s a marine and terrestrial sanctuary where visitors may spot harbor seals, humpback whales, sea otters, moose and mountain goats. The park is accessed via plane or boat.
Glacier Bay Lodge is the only lodge within the park’s boundaries. It offers comfortable rooms, a full-service restaurant and a daily boat tour. It’s a true wilderness experience and an excellent jumping-off point to discover the park. The season begins May 22 and runs until September 7. The hotel has limited availability throughout the season.
4. Lake Quinault Lodge – Olympic National Park, WA
Olympic National Park protects a rich temperate rain forest and miles of undeveloped Washington State coastline. Emerald valleys, rolling rivers and musk-covered conifers form a glorious panorama. Hiking, soaking in the natural mineral pools, stargazing and fishing are popular in summer, when the notoriously wet Pacific Northwest climate tends to be drier.
Lake Quinault Lodge is situated on the south shore of picturesque Lake Quinault. A heated indoor swimming pool, game room and sauna add weatherproof fun. There are a variety of room configurations, including some with fireplaces and lake views. Families may want to reserve accommodations in the Boathouse, compromised of eight airy rooms with an encircling veranda. The historic Roosevelt Dining Room features winning water views. Guestrooms are still available for this summer.
5. Lake Yellowstone Hotel and Cabins – Yellowstone National Park, WY
Mother Nature is at her best at Yellowstone. It’s America’s first national park and home to the famed Old Faithful Geyser. A rich and varied landscape of mountains, forests, waterfalls and lakes present a wealth of fresh-air opportunities. The park is home to the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states, including bison, moose, elk, grizzly bears, mountain lions and wolves.
Lake Yellowstone Hotel’s stately white columns and airy sun room paint a pretty picture. Live music most evenings adds a welcome note. Rooms and suites provide upscale amenities, such as fluffy bathrobes. Simple lakeside cabins should appeal to families, and the gracious dining room offers a children’s menu. The hotel is open May 15 to October 12, with limited availability throughout the summer in 2020.
6. Far View Lodge – Mesa Verde National Park, CO
For hundreds of years, Mesa Verde was home to the Ancestral Pueblo people. Today, the park protects thousands of archeological sites, including hundreds of sophisticated, multi-level cliff dwellings. Cliff Palace is the park’s magnificent centerpiece, challenging those who see it to imagine what life was like for the ancient people who called it home.
At Far View Lodge, simplicity defines elegance. There are no televisions, so the silence is broken only by birdsong. Rooms, many with unobstructed views that stretch for miles, are decorated with simple, handcrafted furniture and Native American artwork. The dining room features organic produce and dishes with Southwestern flair. The lodge opens April 9 and closes on October 21. There is still excellent availability for this summer.
7. El Tovar – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
Anytime is the right time to marvel at the Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
El Tovar is a historic hotel dramatically perched on the canyon’s South Rim. Long considered the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi River, it opened its doors in 1905, one of a chain of hotels built by the Fred Harvey Company in conjunction with the Santa Fe Railway. In 1987, it was designated a National Historic Landmark. Today, guests can enjoy a fine dining room, concierge services and individually appointed rooms and suites. Rooms are still available throughout the summer.
8. Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
The remote, less crowded North Rim offers guests a more serene Grand Canyon experience, with far fewer facilities than at the South Rim. The North Rim Visitor’s Center is open from mid-May to late October, with a range of seasonal programming.
The Grand Canyon Lodge is the only overnight facility at the park’s North Rim. Located at Bright Angel Point, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Don’t expect televisions, but do expect plenty of retro charm as you settle into either a log cabin or a timbered guestroom. The nightly summertime Chuck Wagon-style dinner features slow-cooked beef brisket, freshly baked biscuits and live entertainment. It’s open from mid-May until mid-October. There is limited availability in both cabins and rooms throughout the summer.
9. Wuksachi Village and Lodge – Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, CA
Everything is bigger in California, especially at these adjoining parks, famed for giant sequoia trees. Whether you hike in the towering forest or horseback ride through a breezy meadow, you’ll share the park with wildlife, including mule deer and black bears. In summer, there’s a full schedule of ranger-led activities.
Wuksachi Village and Lodge is located on a hillside just south of the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park. It’s a quick shuttle ride to the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree by volume on the planet. Rooms are attractively furnished and provide heat and ceiling fans. The dining room has a large stone fireplace and a wall of windows providing excellent vistas. Summer season is booking up fast, but rooms are still available, particularly in August.
10. The Ahwahnee Hotel – Yosemite National Park, CA
Iconic Yosemite attracts millions of visitors annually. It’s a place to admire earthly bounty, whether you’re hiking a trail or viewing El Capitan. From adventurous rock climbers to limited mobility visitors enjoying nature’s eye candy from the tram, there are a multitude of experiences.
The dignified Ahwahnee Hotel (formerly the Majestic Yosemite Hotel), was designed to highlight its natural surroundings, including Yosemite Falls and Glacier Point. The Great Lounge, with its high-beamed ceiling, stained-glass windows and massive stone fireplaces, is the hotel’s focal point. Rooms, suites and quiet cottages are loaded with creature comforts. The dining room serves three meals daily and a popular Sunday brunch. Summer is the high season so expect a big crowd. There’s still availability in July and August.
11. Jackson Lake Lodge – Grand Teton National Park, WY
Grand Teton National Park is a treasure chest of snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes and the fast-flowing Snake River. Abundant wildlife, including moose, bison and elk, roam freely.
Jackson Lake Lodge is located in the heart of the park. It’s a hub of activity with dining options, a swimming pool and exhibits featuring Native American artifacts. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the main lodge provide glimpses of the lake and Teton Range. Most accommodations are cottages, but there are some lodge rooms and suites. Committed to sustainable practices, the hotel allows guests to forgo housekeeping services and receive a small discount. There is still availability this summer.
12. Volcano House – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park displays the results of millions of years of volcanic activity, from lava rockscapes to rainforests. The park is a refuge for the state’s lush native flora.
Volcano House lays claim to being Hawaii’s oldest hotel and the only property inside of the park. Each of the 33 rooms presents colorful island-style décor, some with dramatic crater views. Additionally, there are 10 straightforward cabins located at the campsite a few miles from the hotel. The dining room is committed to serving island-grown produce and locally sourced meats. The hotel has complimentary bicycles to pedal around the park. There is availability all summer.
13. Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins – Glacier National Park, MT
Glacier National Park’s sapphire lakes, misty valleys and kaleidoscope of wildflowers are sublime. Going-to-the-Sun Road, the only road bisecting the park, takes motorists on a journey filled with poetic visuals. Ride a vintage Red Jammer Bus and get an excellent overview of the park.
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins is an economical lodging option. It serves as a trailhead for several popular hikes, making it a favorite with hiking enthusiasts. The cabins and motel-style units are rustic, yet adequate. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The park is extremely popular in summer, with occupancy nearly full throughout the season. Swiftcurrent opens for the season on June 9 and closes on September 13, with the best (but still limited) availability during the first days.
14. The Ranch at Death Valley – Death Valley National Park, CA
Death Valley National Park is a true oasis with ancient waters bubbling up from the seabed below. The Ranch at Death Valley is a family-friendly resort adjacent to the National Park Visitors Center. It enjoys a classic mid-century feel and western atmosphere. Many rooms open onto patios, while others have balconies overlooking the broad lawns.
Yes, Death Valley is very hot in summertime but there are refreshing spring-fed swimming pools, verdant gardens and shady date palm groves. Explore the park in the morning and early evening and relax at the resort during peak heat hours.
Death Valley is the largest dark sky park in the U.S., with billions of twinkling stars at night. As an added bonus, there are practically no bothersome bugs in the bone-dry climate.
There’s availability all summer.
15. Lake Crescent Lodge – Olympic National Park, WA
Historic Lake Crescent Lodge offers a mix of cabins and rooms dispersed among giant fir and hemlock trees along the shores of Crescent Lake. Families should enjoy the roomy Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins, with one or two bedrooms and a cozy fireplace. After a day spent in the fresh air, unwind by the impressive stone fireplace is the lobby or relax on the sun porch and watch the sunset. The Lakefront Olympic Peninsula dining room promotes Pacific Northwest ingredients, including a selection of Washington State wines.
Interpretive pontoon boat tours allow guests to explore the waters of Lake Crescent while learning about the region’s history from a licensed captain. Guided hikes on trails with a canopy of 500-year-old trees begin right at the lodge.
The lodge has room and cabin availability during the peak summer season.
16. Crater Lake Lodge – Crater Lake National Park, OR
Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the purest. Set atop the Cascade Mountain Range, its crystal blue water sparkles like a diamond. Hiking, biking and cruising around the lake are all possible.
Crater Lake Lodge is a rustic seasonal lodge. Simple rooms, some with views of the lake, are free of televisions and phones, offering serenity and encouraging family togetherness. The Great Hall, with its massive fireplace, is a lovely spot to kick-back and reflect on the park’s beauty. The dining room serves three meals each day with a focus on sustainable Oregon ingredients, including smoked salmon and foraged mushrooms.
Guests may participate in the nightly ranger-led programs and guided sunrise walks.
The lodge will reopen for the season on May 15, with decent availability all summer.
17. The Cabins at Mazama Village – Crater Lake National Park, OR
Nestled amidst Ponderosa Pine trees in the southern section of the park, The Cabins at Mazama Village recently completed a renovation. A stay here is a lower-cost alternative to Crater Lake Lodge. The new room décor includes custom-designed hickory wood furnishings and upholstery fabric that was inspired by classic camp blankets. Bedding is topped with plush comforters and hand-painted pillows depicting a forest of pine trees. Hand-woven carpeting completes the transformation.
This is all set against a fresh palette of earth tones, which serves as a backdrop for the indigenous colors that are highlights of an authentic Crater Lake experience. Cabins are still available for this summer.
Allison Tibaldi is a travel writer based in New York City. With her husband and two kids, she has lived in Rome; Tuscany; Melbourne, Australia; Toronto; and Los Angeles. She studied early childhood development in graduate school and believes that travel is an important part of education. She writes for CNN, TravelChannel.com, HGTV, USA TODAY, Time Out New York, am New York, Family Traveller, Family Travel Forum, Travel Weekly, off Metro and numerous other publications. Follow her @gourmetrav.