The most historic and noteworthy inns, hotels, lodges, and more in America’s national parks.
Even if you’ve explored a particular park before, until you stay overnight you won’t really get the whole picture—the quirky historical details and scenic angles day-trippers miss. One lodge, for instance, inspired that creepy hotel in The Shining, while another’s now-magnificent Great Hall was once so unstable it verged on collapse. Here are the hotels and lodges in national parks around the country that offer the most eye candy and have the most personality.
Big Meadows Lodge
One big reason to stay at this lodge is the convenient access to mile 51 on Skyline Drive, a grassy expanse that’s considered a prime stargazing spot in Shenandoah National Park. More than 500 miles of hiking trails and 75 scenic overlooks are also accessible from the roadway, a National Scenic Byway. Back at the Lodge, cozy rooms have wood-paneled walls made from native chestnut when the property was built in 1939, and there are also small cabins with wood-burning fireplaces. Wherever you sleep, you shouldn’t miss the stunning views across the Shenandoah Valley from the restaurant’s stone terrace.
Jenny Lake Lodge
East Coast “dudes” began this homestead in 1922, back when there were just two cabins. Hiking trails accessible from the grounds offer views of Grand Teton and Mt. Moran, and guests can ride horses and cruiser-style bikes around the grounds.
The Oasis at Death Valley
This 1927 Spanish Mission–style inn underwent renovations and reopened in 2018 with luxurious new casitas around the historic Oasis Gardens. Explore the winding trails of Mosaic Canyon by day and take a moonlit carriage ride at night.
Visitors began staying at the timber-frame inn here in 1917, and it hasn’t changed much since then. A restaurant complete with park views and a cozy fireplace serves appropriately hearty fare like buffalo meatloaf.
Ross Lake Resort
Hike or take a ferry to this secluded resort. Cabins sit along the lake’s shore overlooking the Pacific Northwest landscape of blue water and rolling evergreen Cascades. Guests must bring their own food, but all cabins have full kitchens.
WHERE: Zion National Park, Utah
The only place to stay inside the park, this 1920s-era lodge is framed by lofty sandstone cliffs, with trailheads leading directly from the property. Rustic cabins offer porches with incredible views and stone fireplaces.
INSIDER TIPAt night, you can watch deer grazing on the lawn in the moonlight.
The Majestic Yosemite Hotel
Built in 1927 as the Ahwahnee Hotel, this property blends Art Deco and Native American design elements—some of which inspired the fictional Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Stay in a main lodge room for classic decor, or a cozy cottage with a fireplace elsewhere on the grounds.
El Tovar Hotel
It’s all about location at El Tovar Hotel, situated a short stroll from the edge of the Grand Canyon’s famed South Rim. The canyon empties of tourists after sunset, so you’ll have the place all to yourself—try contemplating Teddy Roosevelt’s two visits here, in 1911 and 1913, several years after he’d advised against building in the park.
Old Faithful Inn
The lobby of Old Faithful Inn, built in 1904 and flaked by gigantic stone fireplaces, is one of the biggest log structures in the world. In the 1950s, a printing press in the basement supplied nightly dinner menus. Here, comfortably-furnished rooms face the famous geyser.
Many Glacier Hotel
Glacial peaks provide a grand backdrop for this rustic lodge beside Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park’s northeastern section. The series of Swiss chalet–style buildings house modestly-decorated guest rooms.
Come to this serene oceanfront setting to explore rainforests, glaciers, and protected coastline. Spend a day at Ruby Beach or Lake Crescent, before enjoying sustainable seafood and Washington State wines at Creekside Restaurant back at the lodge.
Crater Lake Lodge
Gaze upon the deepest lake in the U.S. from this rustic lodge perched on the southwest rim of the caldera. The vivid blue water is due to the lake’s depth—nearly 2,000 feet—and the surrounding volcanic peaks only add to the dramatic beauty.
Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Electricity at this ranch is scarce, so guests use kerosene lamps, and showers are in a shared bathhouse. A hot spring pool turns into a giant hot tub at night. Free meals are provided.
Volcano House Hotel
Recent eruptions notwithstanding (the property will be closed through at least September 15th for safety reasons), there are plenty of reasons to stay at this hotel on the Kilauea caldera rim. For one, you’ll have easy access to the sort of volcanic landscapes—lava flows and Native Hawaiians’ fossilized footprints—that bring the past to life. The hotel itself is the oldest in Hawaii and has humble beginnings as a grass hut in 1846. Now it offers rooms overlooking Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, as well as rustic one-room cabins and campsites in a eucalyptus grove perched 4,000 feet above sea level.