NATIONAL PARKS YOUR GUIDE TO
VACATION, TRAVEL & TIPS,
LODGING & ACTIVITES, TOP ATTRACTIONS,
CAMPING, & TOURS
National Parks is for National Park vacations, resorts, tour, cabin rentals, and lodging at Yosemite, Sequoia, Glacier, Olympia, , with adventure, mountain retreats,dining, camping, boating, fishing, wildlife tours, hiking, bicycling,backpacking, etc. For the last eighty years, national parks have helped city dwellers to exchange their urban ways for wilderness vacations, escapes and rustic pleasures. Park visitors have savored the romantic solitude, dramatic scenery, woodsy vistas, and hardy outdoorsmanship and recreation.
Today, the natural beauty of a national park prompts visitors to rest, reflect, and re-connect like those before them. Many visitors return home with happy memories of a family gathering or romantic interlude.
Henry David Thoreau wrote: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
For non-campers, there is a great variety of accommodations that will attract you grandly. Most have lodges, cabins, and hotels that are in places far removed from the peak pressures of the cities. These parks are for your pleasure, relaxation, and spirit. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.”
The United States National Parks have a “passport” program that encourages visitors to get stamps at each site they visit. Some vacationers have decided that visiting all of the parks and monuments is a possibility. There are 390 National Parks and Monuments, which include presidential homes and birthplaces and Civil War sites. Japan National Parks have a Ranger Program for kids that teaches them about nature and the environment.
Some of the enchantment of parks has to do with history and the desire to keep learning. Visiting these parks is a way to keep learning.
Most of these parks offer wildlife observation, hiking, backpacking, camping, fishing, skiing, and many other adventures and outdoor recreation.
Use some of the ideas below to help find family, romantic, outdoor recreation, or retreat and relaxation destinations that will incorporate as many of your individual likes and individual style as possible.
The U.S. Forest Service has recently closed 21 campgrouinds and recreation sites in Colorado and Wyoming for the summer. The closure is due to the savage beating that old 60 foot trees have suffered from bark beetles. Seventeen other sites will open late, after dangerous trees are removed. The trees that have been killed could be toppled by winds or other causes and thus must be removed.
Dead trees are always a safety issue for hikers, backpackers, and campers. Bark beetles have also ravaged trees in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona.
To make sure your trip, hike or camping is not affected it might be a good idea to contact the Forest Service in the state you are planning to visit or go to their web site.
Denali National Park is home to Mount McKinley, North America’s highest mountain(20,320 feet) of all its national parks, plus 156 species of birds, glaciers, and mammals such as bears, wolves, caribou, Dall sheep, and moose.
Discover Deanali’s scenic, natural, and historic wonders and partake in a Ranger/Naturalist program. Learn about the geological forces that forged its landscape. Enjoy its activities such biking, birding, bus tours, camping, driving tours, fishing, hiking, photography, ranger led activities, and wildlife watching.
Trees grow to giants everywhere in the two national parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Could it be that their secret to success comes from their immense mountain surroundings and huge elevation ranges of 1,500’ to 14,1491’. Because of their large elevation range they have stunningly diverse habitats.
Lodging: Sequoia has the following national park lodging:
- John Muir Lodge has 36 rooms each with mountain interiors, two queen beds, and private baths. Catered meals and conference rooms are available.
- Wuksachi Village and lodge is a cluster of buildings built on an elevation of 7,200 feet on the Central Sierra, The Wuksachi Lodge features a large restaurant, lounge with upscale interiors, and rooms for meetings.
- Grant Grove Cabins – has 9 rustic national park cabins with private baths, 24 rustic cabins with central baths, and 19 rustic tents with central baths. It also has a restaurant.
- Stoney Creek Lodge features 11 national park motel rooms with private bath. Its main lodge has a fireplace and restaurant.
The Generals Highway climbs over 5000 feet from chaparral and oak-studded foothills to the awe-inspiring sequoia groves. From there, trails lead to the high-alpine wilderness which makes up most of these parks. Beneath its surface lies 200 fascinating caverns.
In this verdant northwest region, recreational opportunities are plentiful. Highest visitation is in July and August. Note, it can be difficult to get a camping site at popular campgrounds in the summer on Saturdays. The two main entrances to these parks are on highways 198 and 180. Check with Park Management to check if there are other any winter closures than shown below. In general, the main entrances are open daily.
Winter Closures: The Mineral King area in Sequoia Park & the Cedar Grove area in Kings Canyon Park.
Mineral King is open late May through October 31. Cedar Grove is open mid-April to mid-November. Crystal Cave, some campgrounds and several side roads close for the winter. The main road may close between Lodgepole & Grant Grove during and after storms for plowing.
Rocky Mountain National Park is called the “The roof of the Rockies.” It is one of the highest national parks and because of this it offers visitors an unusual vacation. Wildlife viewing is unusually plentiful so keep your eyes, binoculars,and camera peeled for moose, elk, and bears. Wildlife are known to stroll into town around Grand Lake.
Lodging: Accommodations take on a touch of romance
and serenity at the Park with lodging nestled in the mountains with scenic lake and mountain river views in Grand Lake, Columbine Lake, Shadow Mountain Lake, and Lake Granby. See also Grand Lake Inn, Grand Lake luxurious home or condo rentals, Rapids Lodge and Restaurant, Rapids Cabins, Asper & Fox Glenn cottages, & River View condominiums.
Park Trails:Families can find hiking with kids trails near park lakes such as: Bear Lake, Blue Lake, Fern Lake, Kreutzer Nature Trail, Lake Agnes Loop Trail, Lily Pad Lake and other hiking trails designated for kids.
Park Lakes with Trails: Ancient glacier activity has created park valley after park valley with glacial park lakes that occur one after the other like pearls on a string. The following park lakes also have park trails: Bear Lake, Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, Timber Lake, plus many more.
Camping Park:Camping is available at five campgrounds: Aspenglen, Glacier Basin, Moraine Park, Loop Peak,Timber Creek, plus Backcountry campgrounds.
Wood fires are allowed only in fire grates in campgrounds and picnic areas. Gathering wood is strictly against the law. Fire bundles must be purchased at the campgrounds.
Summer Park Activities: include backpacking, bicycling, boating, camping guide, canoeing, hiking, fishing, golfing, sightseeing, history and culture, and courses on geology, wildflowers and wild life.
Fall activities: include wildlife viewing.
Winter activities: abound with cross country skiing in three nearby Nordic Centers, Snowshoeing Festival (Feb.13-16), snowmobiling on the 150 miles of trails in the Arapahoe National Forest (rated the best in North America), ice fishing at Grand Lake, Mountain Lake, Shadow Lake, and Lake Granby(see ice fishing contests).
Alpine skiing is available – 30 minutes from Sol Vista Ski
Resort and – 45 minutes to Winterpark Ski Resort.
Attractions: If you want to soar with eagles at the high elevation of the park (8,000 feet to over 14,000 feet) you need to take time to acclimatize. People with various medical problems should check with their physician before visiting the park.
Trail Ridge Road is an attraction that crosses the Continental Divide and has views of dozens of peaks that soar more than 13,000 feet high. Longs Peak, the highest peak in the park, is 14,255 feet in elevation. Trail Ridge Road has a high point of 12,183 feet. The road is not open from late fall, to the Memorial Day weekend.
It lies between 8,000 feet and 13,000 feet. Trail Ridge Road, was designated as an “All-American Road” in 1996, is one of the great alpine highways in the United States. This great alpine highway crosses the Rocky Mountain Park from east to west, then descends into the Kawuneeche Valley, where the North Fork of the Colorado River flows.
You may think that you have entered the Artic Circle when you drive across the Trail Ridge Road at 12,183 feet. It is usually open from Memorial Day to mid-Oct depending on snowfall. If you are pulling a trailer you will experience reduced power at this high altitude. Take three or four hours for this 50 mile scenic drive, stopping at the overlooks to absorb far-spreading views of Rocky Mountain’s peaks and valleys.
Among all national parks, The Blackfoot Indians named the ecosystem of Glacier Park the “Backbone of the World.”
Glacier National Park features forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, lakes, trails, and wildlife viewing. Lodging: at the Park lets visitors relive the days of old through historic chalets, lodges, transportation, and stories of Native Americans.
Activities: in the Park are plentiful for outdoor recreation lovers. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness, solitude, and retreats. It is good for family vacations as kids can earn Junior Ranger Program badges. Other outdoor pursuits include backpacking, backcountry camping, bicycling, bus tours, cross country skiing, fishing, guided hiking trips, and hiking. Weather conditions in the mountains can change quickly during one day. Temperatures can be sunny and clear in the 90’s then get snow showers and falling temperatures. In 2005, an 8” snowfall in one night sent many backpackers away from the park.
Tours:This Park has boat and bus tours with commentary and interpretation plus a shuttle systems which offer visitors independence and a chance to familiarize themselves with the park before they decide what they want to do most in the park.
- Boat tours can show you around Glacier Park with trips deep into the park at Many Glacier, Two Medicine, Rising Sun, and Lake McDonald. Call(406) 257 2426.
- Glacier Park, Inc. operates a shuttle service to various destinations. Call (406) 892 2525.
- Glacier Park provides an optional point-to-point shuttle system which travels only on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
- Sun Tours offers daily tours throughout the park in a 25 passenger bus with air conditioning. They operate from West Glacier, East Glacier, St. Mary, and Browning.
- Tours are also available throughout the park from Glacier Park Inc. Call (406) 892 2525.
Travel Tip:Size restrictions may prevent some vehicles from traveling over the Going-to-the-Sun Road in the park. Parts of the road may be closed from time to time for repairs. See what alternatives are best for you for travel if this applies to you.
Olympic National Park was named a ”World Heritage Park” by the United Nations in 1981. It was one of 100 national parks in the world to receive that honor. The park and its Olympia Peninsula offer great diversity, geography, and beautiful views of snow capped mountains and the ocean.
Olympic National Park in Washington state is one of several parks undergoing major repairs because of heavy rains, floods, and high winds which caused a lot of damage this winter (2008). Some areas may remain closed. Olympic National Park usually receives 3 million visitors a year.
Attractions include: Elwha Area, Hoh Rain Forest, Hoh River to Queets River, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, North Olympic Coast, Ozette area, Quinault Valley and eastside, Rialto Beach & south, & Sol Duc Hot Springs.
Activities: Fly fishing for salmon & steelhead trout, Audubon-guided bird watching, bicycling, bike trips, boating on the ocean, lakes, rivers for canoes, kayaks, sailing, power boats, and water skiing. There is also golfing, hiking, campfire programs(15 campgrounds) swimming, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, & snowshoeing, plus Dungeness Spit nature walks with a botanist with commentaryin the Hoh Rain Forest.
Camping is at Deer Park, Dosewallings, North Fork – All first come first served except for groups of three, Then, call park for reservations. Food service is available in the park. No showers.
Lodging: Inside the Park:
- Port Angeles, WA Lake Crescent Lodge on US 101 – lodge rooms,
- cottages, & motel type rooms.
- Log Cabin Resort – Lodge rooms, rustic cabins, camping log cabins, & full hook-up RV sites.
- Sol Duc Hot Springs resort – cabins, RV spaces, hot springs and freshwater pools,
Located near major trailheads
- Outside the Park:
- Lake Quinault Lodge, Olympic National Forest, WA – south shore.
- Kalaloch Lodge, Fork, WA – on Us101
- RV Parks and Camping: Port Angeles, WA
- Harrison Beach Campgrounds – Enjoy the scenic Straits de Fuca at Harrison Beach.
- Rainbow’s End RV Park – Faces the snow capped Olympic Mountains.
See other nearby areas for attractions, activities, and lodging of the Park.
Of all the national parks, Arches National Park, Utah contains the world’s largest concentration of natural stone arches. The 73,000 acre region of Arches Park has over 2,000 of these “miracles of nature” in the form of sandstone fins, spires, pinnacles, balanced rock, and arches.
Note: Wall Arch has just recently collapsed. This arch was very popular with visitors who always took photos of it. It is located on Devil’s Garden Trail. Wall Arch was composed of entrada sandstone and destroyed by the forces of gravity and erosion, according to Paul Henderson, the park’s chief commentator.
Attractions:A 40- mile round-trip by car on paved road or bicycling across the park’s scenic drive leads visitors past the uncanny natural features known as: Park Avenue, Three Gossips, Garden of Eden, The Great Wall, Balanced Rock,Fiery Furnace, Double Arch,& Skyline Arch. There are also 1,500 other arches but they are not famous. Note bikers can make shorter trips by turning around or driving a ways before bicycling.
Activities: include camping, backpacking,biking, guided walks into the Fiery Furnace,(reservations are required from the Visitor center), hiking the same sandstone trails as pre historic Native Indians, and campfire programs.
Lodging: in the park consist only of camping at the Devil’s Garden campground. Otherwise the nearest accommodations are in the town of Moab which is in between the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Moab offers a wide assortment of motels, hotels,and resorts.
Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most mezmerizing parks with overlooks that keep you taking photos and staring in wonder for hours. An interesting Indian legend tells why the rocks at Bryce posses such amazing shapes.
Attractions: The main attraction is thousands of delicately carved spires and pinnacles called “Hoodoos” which rise in brilliant color from the series of “amphitheaters” of Bryce Canyon National Park. The “Hoodoos” are eroded rocks that were caused by millions of years of wind, water, and “geological mayhem.”
In fact, Bryce Canyon is not really a canyon but the eroded results of the eastern slope of the Paunsaguant Plateau.
Visitors may take a 37-mile round trip drive to Bryce Canyon’s most famous viewpoints, which are dizzying in scope, including Sunrise, Sunset, Rainbow, Yovimpa, and Inspiration Points. Ebenezer Bryce, an early rancher, described Bryce as “a helluva place to lose a cow.” Other attractions in Southern Utah ( 50 miles away or more)include Heritage/Culture, Performing Arts, Dinosaur,
Museums, and Spa/Retreats.
Activities: In addition to RV Parks and camping, Bryce Canyon National Park offers over a dozen activities such as adventure trips, biking, fishing, hiking, rafting/kayaking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sightseeing, scenic drives, & sightseeing tours. If you are a camper, to start your search for the perfect campground click a point of interest on the map. See also favorite camping areas.
Lodging: There is only one in-park lodging place. It is Bryce Canyon Lodge and offers a 1920’s elegance and is on the National Historic Register. Enjoy a quiet and retreat atmosphere without televisions plus fine dining in the main lodge.
Just outside the Park is:
- Bryce Canyon Resort – featuring renovated motel rooms, cabins, cottages, and Suites, plus Scenic Tours and fine dining.
- Bryce View Lodge on the edge of the pine forest on a plateau that overlooks the Park.
- Bryce Canyon Pines Motel & RV Campground – It is on Highway 12 less than 5 minutes from the Park. It is in a ponderosa forest and offers cottages, motel, full service RV, plus heated pool and spa, and restaurant.
Canyonlands National Park is the largest of the national parks in the state of Utah, and its diversity staggers the imagination. Located in southeast Utah, it is divided into three districts by the Green and Colorado Rivers:
- the Island in the Sky, the Needles, and the Maze.
Named for the most prominent geological characteristics, these districts are quite varied in what they have to offer:
- Island in the Sky sits atop a 1500 foot mesa and gives lofty views for nearly 100 miles.
- The Needles are beautiful sandstone spires that jut out of the ground and offer an amazing diversity of terrain. Arches, canyons, grabens, and beautiful sculptured rock formations await hikers, backpackers, and scenic drive enthusiasts.
- The Maze is definitely considered the wildest district in the Park. The Maze ranks as one of the most remote and inaccessible sections of all the national parks in the United States. There is, in The Maze itself, a perplexing jumble of canyons that has been described as a “30 square mile puzzle in sandstone.” If you crave solitude and are ready for some serious backcountry travel and hiking, The Maze may be just what you are looking for. The Maze should be considered as a muli-day expedition. It might be wise to first choose one of the commercial tour operators located in the Moab.
Lodging:No hotel, cabin, or other lodging exist within the park. The closest lodging is 30 miles away in Moab.
Camping Park:Camping is available at two campgrounds plus Backcountry Camping as follows:
- Willow Flat Campground situated at the Island in the Sky with Green Overlook. There are 12 camp sites which are first come first served priority. They include picnic tables, fire grate, and vault toilets. No water. RV length can be no more than 28 feet. Occupancy is limited to 10 people or less and two vehicles. Vacancies are filled daily from March thru June and September to middle of October.
- Squaw Flat Campground Needles District is convenient as a base camp for day hikers to Chesler Park, Druid Arch, or the Joint Trail. 26 camp sites can be rented on a first come basis. Thet have fire grates, picnic tables, tent pads, and water daily. RV length can be no more than 28 feet. Occupancy is limited to 10 people or less and two vehicles. Vacancies are filled daily from March thru June and September to middle of October.
- Primitive backcountry camping park sites and at-large backpacking zones are located in each district of the Canyonlands Park. They can be reached by foot, 4 wheel drive vehicle, or boat. Permits must be obtained for all trips which are overnight and can be reserved ahead of time.
Biking: One of the most famous mountain biking terrains is the 100 mile White Rim Road on the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands Park. The Maze is a possibility but don’t forget you could get lost and it requires a multi-day commitment. The Needles are no good for biking because of deep sand and water. If you want to camp overnight along the White Rim Road, you need to make reservations and get permits in the second week in July for the coming year. Permits are not required for day rides.
Canoeing, kayaking, and shallow water craft:Are possible above the joining of the Colorado and Green rivers but not below the joining of the rivers. Below it is an exceedingly fast river of water with immense power. Some say it is world class white water. It might be smart to check with the National Park Service before venturing out here.
Photography:It is said that Canyonlands is heaven for photographers because of the changing light against the landscape offers exceptional variety and lighting.
Of all the national parks, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona can be enjoyed from near or from afar. The canyon.com is a virtual treasure trove of up-to-date information on the world’s most famous chasm. Along with amazing Grand Canyon facts and information, thecanyon.com features Grand Canyon Nation…Park hotels and lodging including Grand Canyon bed and breakfast, national park cabins and more; Grand Canyon tours including Grand Canyon helicopter tours, Grand Canyon river rafting tours & float trips, guidedGrand Canyon hiking and van and jeep sightseeing tours; and Grand Canyon restaurants, Grand Canyon real estate and land for sale and Grand Canyon photos.
Big Ben National Park is sometimes considered as “three national parks in One.” Big Ben includes mountain, desert, and river environments. An hour’s drive can take you from the Rio Grande to a mountain basin nearly a mile high. Here you can explore one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States, and experience unmatched sights, sounds, and solitude.
The busiest time of the year is The Spring Break period in mid-March when lodging and campsites are overbooked. Big Ben offers a multitude of backcountry experiences. The Chios Mountains offer a high-altitude retreat from the desert, and open-zone camping offers limitless desert exploration.
While the isolation of Big Bend Park is a drawing point for many visitors, it also means that your trip must be well prepared and carefully planned. Big Ben Park is located in southwest Texas, hundreds of miles away from the nearest cities and transportation hubs. There is no public transportation in Big Ben Park.
Distances between towns and services can be considerable. Always be sure you have plenty of gas, oil, food and water for your trip. The park has four camper stores, but supply and selection can be limited. There are small stores in the communities outside the park. The last major shopping areas (grocery and hardware stores) are Alpine, Fort Stockton, and Del Rio.
Lodging: Big Ben National Park lodging consists of the Chisos Mountain Lodge which is situated in the Big Ben Chisos Basin at 5,400 feet. It features several lodge rooms plus cottages, and a dining room. Call for reservations.
Camping Park: There are three frontcountry campgrounds that are managed by the National Park Service in Big Ben: Rio Grande Village , the Chisos Basin, and the Cottonwood. Rio Grande has some reservable sites plus a concession operator with full RV hook up. Park camping rservations can be made at recreation.gov or by phoning (877) 444 6777.
Backcountry Camping is available by applying for a permit in person at park visitor centers up to 24 hours in advance.
Overnight camping is limited to 14 days.
Acadia National Park, Maine is a wonderful place for a vacation from spring to fall. At this site you will find links for hotels, restaurants, weather info, activities, artists, airport, lobster, camping, hiking, kayaking, nature watching, and multitude of things to do and a detailed description about the park.
- Lodging:Close to Acadia National Park are cottages, cabins, motels, resorts, luxury lodging, and B&B. Here, you can be close to the sounds of nature, the salt sea air, and ocean waves.
- RV Camping Park:Is available for families, couples, and individuals near Bar Harbor and in Acadia National Park. Choose from hideaway or ocean view (some with swimming pools) for a retreat with solitude and rest.
- Activities:are abundant for individuals, couples, families, reunions, corporate retreats, bus tours, camping, hiking, biking, fishing, golf, whale watching, walking, sightseeing, guided tours, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.
- Park Trails & Biking: There are two types of park trails for biking: 1. Forty five miles of Carriage roads made up of crushed rock with gentle curves that wind thru the soul of the park. Part of this road passes by Eagle Lake, the second biggest lake at the park.
- Twenty seven miles of paved roads.
- Mount Desert Island features a Grand Tour Bike ride around the outer limits with views of the Northwest Harbor plus the eastern shore Somes Sound into Sommersville. You can choose to bike 68 miles, 39 mile, or 27 miles of scenic loops by picking some or all of these paved park trails on Mt. Desert Island.
- Guides, Tours, and Bus Charters:are available for most activities.
- Whale Watching Tours:See Humpback,Finback, and Minke whales.
There are many other romantic reasons to choose Acadia National Park such as: Weddings, honeymoons, getaways, spring wild flower sightseeing, fall foliage, and ocean views.
For national parks, Shenandoah National Park is one of the best for RV & camping park, park lodging, cabins, food services, vacation retreats, guided outdoor programs, and getaway specials and packages such as:
- National Park Lodging
- Skyland Resort: is at the high point of Skyline Drive, thus its name. It is open from April 2 to Nov. 29 even though much of the park is open about every day. It is made up of 36 acres with 28 buildings on 16 of those acres. Choose from cozy cabins, spacious family cabins, or traditional, standard, superior guest rooms, and suites. Handicap accessible rooms are available. Pet friendly rooms are offered. No phones or televisions are furnished. Make reservations a year or two in advance to be sure. Book online. Dine at the Skyland Resort Pollock Dining Room three times a day and enjoy great food and scenic views of the Shenandoah Valley The Skyland Resort is listed on the Virginia Landmark Register and the National Registry of Historic Places.
- Big Meadows Lodge: is on 10 acres and consists of a main lodge, fine cabins, and six multi- unit buildings which are a close walk from the main lodge. Choose from fine cabins, main lodge standard, deluxe, or superior guest rooms, suites, or cozy cabins. Some rooms have satellite TV. Check for handicap accessible rooms. See pet policies and room availability. Three meals a day are served in the main lodge in the Spottswood Dining Room. Big Meadow Lodge is open from around May 22 to Nov. 8.
RV and Camping Park: The National Park Services operate five
campgrounds in the park:
- Matthews Ann (mile 22.1)
- Big Meadows (mile51.2)
- Lewis Mountain (57.5)
- Loft Mountain (79.5 )
- Dundo Group (83.7)
Backcountry camping is available in most of the park but a free permit must be obtained first.
- Waysides: are like get and go stores with groceries, snacks, souvenirs. Some have gasoline, restaurants, and camping supplies. They are located as follows:
- Elkwallow (Mile 24.1)
- Big Meadows
- Lewis Mountain Wayside and Campstore (Mile 57.6)
- Loft Mountain Wayside and Campstore (Mile 79.5)
Park Trails:There are over 500 park trails to explore and hike including about
100 miles of the Appalachian Trail.
Hiking:Hiking can be guided or unguided and directed to wild flowers and waterfalls, twilight hikes, or privately arranged guided hikes.
In 1926 the U.S. Congress established the Shenandoah National Park in Luray,Virginia to preserve and protect over 350,000 acres of eastern deciduous forest andfarms, now a sanctuary for more than 100 variety of trees, 200 species of birds, and 1,100 flowering plants. Today, approximately 1.5 million million visitors come to Shenandoah each year to enjoy this natural wonder. It is hoped that this park, created as a peaceful refuge for nearby urban populations, can continue to offer relaxation, recreation, and inspiration to many generations to come. View special getaway packages for adventure, romance, hiking, explorer,& AAA.
Banff National Park is joined with Canada’s three other Rocky Mountain National Parks to make up a (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. Banff together with Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay National Parks make up 5 million acres of sheer wilderness full of pearl-white peaks, park valleys, and indigo blue park lakes. Altogether, these four parks form a retreat area that extends 900 miles from the Canadian-U.S. border to remote areas of Alaska and the Yukon. Some of the most outstanding scenery in the world can be seen between Banff and Jasper. However, there are more to these parks than just the scenery, there are wilderness worlds and complex ecosystems. Some visitors may spend a day or two in one park and then visit the other parks. Others may be so impressed they will return for a lifetime.
The town of Banff is often referred to as The Capital of the Canadian Rockies. Banff is a hamlet of Lake Louise, in the center of Banff National Park, flanked on all sides by Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. 4.5 million visitors a year are attracted to this grandeur of pristine surroundings, unparalleled recreational opportunities and some of Canada’s finest shopping and dining.
Activities:Enjoy deep powder skiing or snowboarding at Sunshine Village Ski Resort and Norquay plus some of the world’s largest ski and snowboard events. The national park itself offers opportunities for backpaking,kayaking,hiking excursions, mountain climbing, wildlife viewing, and mountain viewing.
Less strenuous activities are available also such as: Lake cruises, gondola rides, and “snowcoach” tours to the Columbia Icefield. Such tours travel the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93N) and stop to let you not only view a glacier but walk on it. The tour also passes through beautiful green mountain park valleys, park lakes and forests as it travels through the biggest icefields in North America. Tours are available into September but end in October because of heavy snow.
From park hiking trails, mountain peaks, hotels, cabins, and the Trans-Canada Highway you can see lush displays of wildlife. You can also see panoramic views of endless mountains which were formed more than 600 million years ago on a monumental scale.
Banff offers great bird-watching. 260 species of birds have been recorded such as the Varied Thrush and Townsend’s Warbler. Try birding at the Banff Town site, at the foot of Tunnel Mountain, upstream of the Bow River bridge, Vermillion Lakes, or Johnston’s Canyon.
Banff has also built a reputation as a popular weekend retreat, destination during the warm summer months. Lake Louise has been identified as the ultimate getaway and has been often visited by international royalty and celebrities.
Lodging: in Banff National Park is available in many ways such as:
- Backcountry Lodges: Consist of either cozy wooden lodges or private national park cabins. You don’t have to bring tents, cooking gear, lamps, etc, because they provide for a good night’s sleep, a home cooked supper at the end of the day, and a stout breakfast.
- There are three backcountry lodges available:
- Brewster’s Shadow Lake Lodge – Located near glacier peaks and alpine meadows, it can be reached by hiking or cross-country skiing.
- Skoki Lodge – located in high alpine meadows can be reached only by hiking or skiing.
- Sundown Lodge – is open during the summer and can be reached by hiking or horseback on a journey of 16 km.
- Chalets and Condo’s:
- Castle Mountain Chalets –with 22 chalets is a mountain retreat in the middle of Banff National Park next to Castle Mountain and 20 minutes to Banff and Lake Louise.
- Douglas Fir Resort is an alpine resort that is great for family vacations. It is on Tunnel Mountain 4 minutes from downtown Banff.
- Hidden Ridge Resort – is on Tunnel Mountain and has some of the best views of the Rockies. It offers two bedroom lofts, one bedroom apartments, and chalets.
- Lake Louise Inn is a full service 3 ½ star mountain resort with 247 guest rooms in a scenic setting on the Pipestone River. The styles and prices of rooms varies from Economic Twin to Executive Queen or King, to Bighorn Loft, to Executive Suites. It is a four season resort and also offers a health and lifestyle mountain retreat for women with outdoor exercise, yoga, walks, wellness, and great looks at the Valley of the Ten Peaks, The Bow River, and Paradise Valley. Dine at the Inn’s The Legend Restaurant or the Pizza and Pasta Cafe.
- Arrow Motel – is a few steps to downtown Banff and offers price conscious visitors private park lodging.
- Banff International Hotel – is located in the heart of Banff. Its rooms are spacious and elegant with luxurious appointments. It features a buffet breakfast, dining room, lounge, sauna, whirlpool, steam bath, and fitness room.
- Fairmont Banff Springs –is a world class resort, hotel, and spa with 768 elegantly furnished guest accommodations and personal attention in guest service. It has a castle architecture, spacious rooms, and superb mountain views. Guests have a choice of 6 restaurants to dine in plus additional pubs and two lounges.
Spa lovers will savor all that is excellent in the Willow Spa which has:
32 meter lap pool
20 meter outdoor heated pool(open all year round)
Fully Equipped Fitness Center
Whirlpool, sauna, & steam rooms
Willow Spa Awards include:
Mobil Travel- Mobil 4 Star Award
Spa Finder Magazine – Silver Sage Award
UK Public Snow Award – Best Alpine Spa Hotel in the World
- Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa – is a spectacular mountain lodge with hand hewn logs architecture and a large stone fireplace in the lobby. It features 195 well-appointed rooms and 6 superb loft suites. Guest rooms are available as Standard Room with king or queen configuration, Superior room with king or queen configuration, or Deluxe Loft Suites. For added value, rooms are appointed with Mountain Luxury beds. Dine at the lodge restaurant, The Keg Steakhouse and Bar.
The Lodge provides extra value for your stay with a free heated underground parking (so that you don’t have to move your car after check in), an exercise room with a 35 person Jacuzzi hot tub, and free internet access in each guest room. It is a ten minute walk from downtown but guests can obtain complimentary passes at the front desk for the length of their stay for the Roam Bus which can also take them downtown. For additional activities, the Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa is also adjacent to The Banff Rotary Children’s Playground and Picnic Area.
Jasper National Park of Alberta,Canada is one of Canada’s largest Rocky Mountain National Parks and one of North America’s largest – spanning 4,200 square miles of awe-inspiring scenic splendor. Jasper Park in the Canadian Rockies is a World Heritage Site. Jasper is Internationally recognized as a four season destination. View accommodations, camping, services, facilities, activities, and visitor attractions.
View Canadian and USA national parks including Ontario, Nova Scotia, Canada Olympic Park, & US National Monuments network.
ENGLAND, WALES, & SCOTLAND
The National Parks in England, Wales, and Scotland is home to some of the most spectacular and valued landscapes in Britain.
Millions of visitors enjoy the peace and tranquility of these unique areas. Many of these regions have been shaped over thousands of years by those who have lived and worked there.
- Hartsop Archaeology Walk
- Lake District – North East
- Mossdale Bay Lakeside Stroll
- Lake District North – East
- Lakeland Scenes and Activities
- Lakeland District – North West
Ireland National Park, Garden, & Historic Attractions
Ireland is rich in its national parks, gardens, historic sites with abbeys,
cathedrals, castles, and heritage. The following is a highlight of some of
- Wicklow Mountains National
- The John F. Kennedy Arboretum (Wexford)
- The Wexford Waterfowl Reserve (Wexford)
- Kilmacurragh (Wicklow)
- Glenveagh National (Donegal)
- Connemara National (Galway)
- Ilnacullin (Garnish Island) (Cork)
- Dublin Area
- National Botanical Gardens (Dublin)
- St Stephens Green (Dublin)
Garden of Rememberance (Dublin)
Some of these areas feature tours, teas, and classes on nature conservation
Japan has 29 National Parks, 56 Quasi-National, plus 47 Prefectures in their national park system. 80% of Japan is mountainous and scenic with many vacation spots for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, hot springs, history, culture, relaxation, and sightseeing. Japan has 2,000 hot springs which attract over 1 billion bathers a year. Japan has over 600 ski and snowboard resorts, the largest number in the world for a country. See some of the top famous World Heritage Park Sites. See the Top 10 Japan National Parks.
Lodging: One of the attractive features of Japan is its variety of unique environments and accommodations. Japan’s environment varies with its boundaries which extend as far north as Maine and as far south as Florida. Its northern climate is sub-artic and its southern climate is sub-tropical.
Japan features some of the most luxurious lodging in the world from luxury hotels and traditional Japanese inns (Ryokan), also called guest houses, to capsule hotels. Japanese accommodations abound in all types in most places to satisfy all budgets as follows:
- For those who wish to personally experience the lifestyle, architecture, and culture of Japan, the ryokan or Japanese inn is the accommodation of choice. A ryokan expresses the very essence and intimacy of Japanese tradition and elegance as accommodation. Room rates include two meals per day. For a Ryokan Directory by Prefecture or list of luxury ryokan go to www.ryokan.or.jp or www.e-stay.jp.
- A minshuku is a Japanese bed and breakfast in a family home often located in a resort area with home style cooking. They may have some do-it-yourself requirements. For more information contact www.e-stay.jp.
- Western hotels in Japan are just as good as in Western cultures and offer more English speaking staff and extensive facilities.
- Kokumin Shukusha are moderately priced “people’s lodges” or government hotels located in a national park or resort areas. They are popular with Japanese school groups and families. Facilities are often shared. Some have the best scenic outlooks on hilltops but often can only be visited by car. Room rates include two meals a day and great service which makes them popular. Advanced reservations are advisable.
- Park Resort Villages have been established in National and Quasi areas which are suitable for lodging and recreational activities. The Villages offer lodging which is neat and inexpensive. There are currently 34 Vacation Villages plus non-profit picnic sites, trails, and camping sites. However, the Park also manages for profit hotels, lodges, and ski lifts. Hikers and walkers will enjoy an event called ‘Green Walk” around April 23-26 plus October for “Month for Nature Trail Walking.”
- Campsites are called Kyompu-jo and are located in many beautiful locations in the Japan park system. and some can only be reached by car. Parks in Hokkaido have complementary features such as coin laundries, kitchens, and hot springs.
- Shukubo are moderately priced Buddhist “temple lodgings” with simple rooms. They are all over Japan and offer a traveler peace, tranquility, and participation in a unique setting. For temples with lodging go to www.shukubo.jp. Japan has several temples that are World Heritage Sites.
- Capsule Hotels are usually close to railway stations but are simple accommodations with enough room to sit up, lie down or watch TV.
Attractions and Activities: Japan has scenic mountains, coastlines, and islands. Japan is made up of four main islands surrounded by 4,000 more. The four main islands are:
- Hokkaido (northern island)
- Honshu(main island)
- Shikoku (smallest island)
- Kyushu (southern island)
In addition to its World Heritage Sites, Japan has several “World Famous National Parks”. They are as follows:
Hokkaido North Region
- Akan National Park is home to Mashu Lake one of the world’s cleanest lakes. It offers hiking, fishing, & canoeing.
- Daisetsuzan National Park is rich in a wide range of hot springs, gorges, and mountains.
- Shikotsu-Toya National Park is located in the middle of Hokkaido. It takes its name from its two volcanic lakes, Lake Shikotsu and Lake Toya. Visitors enjoy the epitome of hot spring resorts and spas of the Noboribetsu Onsen, Dai-ichi Takamoto-kan, Hakodate Yunokawa. Skiers and snowboarders enjoy Kogen Sanraiba.
- Hokkaido is Japan’s most northern island. Its sub-artic mountains and lake are the home of the large city of Sapparo which is a great winter vacation destination. There are more than a dozen ski areas that are within a two hour public transportation distance. Great deep powdery snow is plentiful in Hokkaido. Some of the more popular places with skiers and snowboarders are as follows:
- Mt. Moiwa Skiing Grounds
- Sapporo International Ski area.
- The Japanese Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) is held in Sapporo each year in February and large snow and ice statues are made in Odori Park in downtown Sapporo.
- Niseko Skiing Area is made up of three interconnected skiing areas: Niseko Annupure, Niseko Higashiyama, and Niseko Grand Hiratu.
One ski lift ticket gives you access to all 60 runs.
- The Japan Alps National Park is located in the middle of Japan in the Nagano Prefecture on the island of Honshu. The Japan Alps run north-south through central Honshu. This area is often referred to as “the Roof of Japan.” It has three mountain ranges: Northern Alps (Tateyama), Central Alps (Kamikochi), and Southern Alps, with elevations of 2,000 to 3,000 meters. With their great beauty they are an attractive destination for the avid skier or snowboarder which is why the 1998 World Winter Olympics was held here.
Yasuari Kawabata, the Japanese Nobel Laureate, wrote a famous novel called “Snow Country” where the story takes place in Yazawa in the Nigata Prefecture on the western slopes of the Japan Alps. Skiers can use Yazawa as a home base while skiing at 20 nearby resorts like Naeba and Kagura. This area is now home to a variety of famous ski resorts that are easily as attractive, exciting, and inventive as ski resorts in America, Canada, and Europe.
- Shiga Heights Ski Resort in Nagano has 22 different ski grounds inter-connected by trails and lifts. One lift ticket gives you access to all their trails. Visitors can take the Nagano Dentetsu Railway limited to Yudanaka and then switch to bus or taxi to get to the Shiga ski resort. During the heaviest ski season, visitors can take buses from Tokyo to Shiga Resort.
Northern Honshu (Tohoku) Region
- Towada-Hachimantai National Park is made up of Lake Towada, the deepest lake in Japan at 1072 feet, plus scenic high mountains. Towada is in the Aomori Prefecture known for its hot springs and ski resorts. It attracts millions of visitors a year to its winter paradise for skiers and snowboarders.
Attractions and Activities are:
- Towada has scenic alpine scenery, camping, skiing and snowboarding which attracts millions of visitors a year for vacations or getaways.
- Lake Towada Snow Festival
- Lake Towada Festival (Fireworks)
- Ski Resorts
- Appi Kogen All Season Ski Resort is in the Iwate Prefecture and features golfing, tennis, hot spring, skiing and snowboarding. It offers lodging in its Grand, Tower, and Grand Villa Annex. Visitors can take the bullet train to the Morioka station, then transfer to the JR Hanawa Train Line to the Kogen station in the town of Appi. Appi Kogen Resort is another 10 minutes by bus.
- The Kiroro Ski Resort which is a two hour bus ride from Sapporo/Chitose Airport.
Kansai West Region
- Ise-Shima National Park located in central Honshu which has two main cities, Ise and Hemiji. Ise is famous for its Ise Jingu Shrine which is the largest and most revered shrine in Japan. It is visited by millions of Japanese. The Shrine is really two shrines – Geku or Outer Shrine and Naiku or Inner Shrine. Geku is dedicated to the Shinto goddess of abundant food and housing. Naiku is dedicated to the sun goddess, the guardian of the nation, and protector of the Imperial family. The shrines are next to the Isuzo River and the foot of Mount Kamiji. The Geku Shrine is a brief walk from the Ise Rail Station. The Naiku Shrine is a half hour bus ride from Ise Station or Geku. Each Shrine is a World Heritage Site.
Hemiji with a population of 50,000 is home to the most historic location in Japan, Hemiji Castle of the Shogun Period, and the most famous ocean park in Japan known for the Mikimoto cultured pearl industry. Hemiji Castle is about a mile walk to the bullet train. The Shima coast offers walking on the beach, swimming, and sailing.
- Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park is located on the main island of Honshu. It is made up of Mt. Fuji, the highest peak (3,776m) in Japan, the Fuji Five Lakes at its vast base, Hakone, the Izu Peninsula, and the Izu Islands. Activities include hot springs, historic attractions, visiting Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands, and sightseeing from a tram or cable car. Izu offers great views of the Amagi mountain and seacoast.
- Nikko National Park is the second largest park in Japan. Its main attractions are:
- Toshogu Shrine and Rinnoji Temple World Cultural Heritage Sites. Five structures are appointed as National Treasures of Japan.
- Kegon Falls and Ryuzu Falls. Kegon Falls is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Japan and not very far from Tokyo.
- Lake Chuzenji at the base of sacred Mount Nantai, has several spas, and a hot spring resort called Chuzenji Onsen. Tobu operated buses carry visitors from central Nikko to Chuzenji Onsen. Autumn has heavy traffic and delays.
- Yumuto Onsen town ski resort.
Nikko offers visitors outdoor pursuits such as boating, camping, fishing, hiking, skiing, and skating.
Kyushu South Region
- Unsen-Amakusa National Park is located on Kyushu Island in Kumamoto Prefecture and is made up of Mount Unzen and the Amakusa islands. The Kumamoto Prefecture is called “the true soul of Japan” and is full of the soul inspiring beauty of nature with untouched forests, grasslands, and snow-capped mountain.
Kumamoto city is home to one of the three most important castles in Japan. Part of the Tom Cruise movie, “The Last Samurai” was filmed here. The samurai’s last battle against the Meiji, lasting 55 days, took place here in 1877.
There are several other attractions in the Kyushu South area such as:
- Mt. Aso and Aso National Park which offer hot springs, hiking, skiing and beautiful views of the Kumamoto Plain. Two area hot springs are Aso-Onsen (Uchinomaki) and Yunotani-Onsen.
- Beppo Hot Spring is Japan’s largest spa resort.
- Fukuoka City has its Seaside Momochi, one of Japan’s biggest man-made beaches and beach-side parks.
- Hakata Dontaku is a colorful festival with 12,000 musicians, 16,000 dancers, singers, performers and floats on May 3-4.
- Hakata Gion Yamakasa is a yearly handcrafted doll festival from July 1 to 15 by Kushida Shrine in Fukuoka City. See famous Hakata dolls.
- Imari-Ton-Ten-Ton is a festival held on October 22-24 by Imari Shrine at Imari City. It is a fighting festival of clashing shrines.
Chugoku & Shikoku Southeast Region
- Seto-Naikai (Inland Sea) National Park includes 6oo islands and coastal segments of which Miyajima, in the Hiroshima Bay, is the most famous and home of the Itsukushima Shrine. The Shrine is located in an inlet with the surrounding mountains as a backdrop and is renowned as one of the three-most scenic places in Japan. The other two are Matsashima in Miyagi Prefecture and Ama-no-hashidate in Kyoto Prefecture. Miyajima has been considered a sacred place since ancient times and no agriculture, accommodations, or burials have ever been allowed.
The Shrine in the Hiroshima Prefecture is a World Cultural Heritage Site and is made up of several buildings with connecting roof corridors which are classified as National Treasures because of their architecture and cultural importance. The nearby area is important also as a main waterway and the home of Japan’s greatest port cities, Osaka, Kobe, and Hiroshima.
Travel Tips: Travelers can cross the waters of the Seto Inland Sea by ferries, sailing between Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. For an adventure vacation, bicycle across the Seto Inland Sea via the Shimanami Kaido route which links Honshu with Shikoku.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA, NORTHERN TERRITORY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, QUEENSLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES, VICTORIA
View Australian Tourism Net’s guide to Australian National Parks. They are very old and very grand. Having begun in a long lost time 2,000 million years ago, they were adopted as the world’s largest and greatest park system in the world, covering 24 million hectares, 500km escarpments, the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, the Australian Alps, the Outback, and Aboriginal rock sites. Many have been proclaimed as World Heritage Areas.
Attractions: Australia’a great national park system is located at;
- New South Wales
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Northern Territory
It’s World Heritage listed Parks are: Australian Fossil Mammal Sites, Blue Mountains, Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves, Fraser Island, Great Barrier Reef,Heard and McDonald Islands, Kakadu, Macqaurie Island, Purnululu, Royal Exhibition and Carlton Gardens, Shark Bay, Tasmanian Wilderness, Uluru – Kata Tjuta, Wet Tropics, ans Willandra.
When visiting these areas it is very important to check in initially with the park wardens for safety recommendations, maps and permit requirements, meal scheduling, comfort station locations, and intersection of hiking paths with animal paths. Australian Alps visitors should read John Sizeman’s books “Australian Alps Walking Track” and “Australian Walking Track Map Guide.”
Tours For more details on tours departing the Auckland area go to Auckland and Ayer’s Rock at Specialty Travel at http://www.retreatvacations.com/Specialty-Travel.html. Here you can find tours such as the following:
- A snow weekend at Mount Ruapehv for skiing and snowboarding.
- Ayers Rock Tour. Tour Uluru(Ayer’s Rock) and see why the red monolith rising out of the desert rock is so sacred to the Australian Aboriginal people.
- Milford Sound,the “Eight Wonder of the World” tour.
- Swim with dolphins in the Bay of Islands tour.
- The unique eco-tour showcasing Auckland’s dramatic scenery, running daily to the lush rainforest in the Waitakere Ranges and onto the beaches.
- Accommodations: Find inside Australian Tourism Net travel accommodations in hotels, bed and breakfast, luxury apartments, resorts, budget backpacker travel, & camper and motorhome rentals.
New Zealand contains 14 national parks which altogether cover in excess of nine million hectares. Collectively, these parks possess every type of landscape imaginable, and many are unique with unspoiled primeval landscapes. Opportunities abound for backpacking,hiking, bicycling, ecotours, skiing vacations, romantic retreats, snowboarding, water sports, land adventure activities, wildlife encounters, walking, trekking, and much more.
Accommodations are available in every form you may wish for.
Some tourist may want to combine different modes of transportation in order to satisfy their adventure vacation desires. Some may want to ride The TranzAlpine excursion, which is rated as one of the great train rides of the world. It takes you from Christchurch through the Canterbury Plains, the alpine foothills, the Waimakariri Gorge, Arthur’s Pass, pristine rainforest, and finishes at Greymouth on the Tasman Sea. Some may also want to take a bus to the Hollyford Track in the Fiordland National Park for hiking in the rainforest, a helicopter to see the glaciers, or drive up the West Coast through Hokitika and Abel Tasman National Park.
national park resorts, national park tours, cabin rentals, hiking and wildlife tours, Yosemite & Sequoia & Olympia & Acadia, & Zion.
Inclusive Vacations at Yellowstone National Park
Contributor By Michelle Sheinin, eHow Contributing Writer
Covering more than 2,219,780 acres, Yellowstone National Park is home to hundreds of animal and plant species, 300 geysers including Old Faithful, 290 waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails. Yellowstone is visited by millions of people every year and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. There are dozens of places to stay outside the park but only a handful of accommodations within the park limits and near its borders.
- Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel
At an elevation of 6,300 feet, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel is a one-of-a-kind winter and summer wonderland within Yellowstone National Park. Open from December through March and May through October, the hotel is a winter playground with snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, ice skating and other winter adventures just steps from its doors. There are a number of vacation packages to choose from, including the Nordic Heaven, which includes daily ski rental, unlimited ice skating and use of one of the private hot tubs. Another available package is the Trail of the Wolf, which includes a guided snowmobile tour from Mammoth to Old Faithful, a wildlife tour of Lamar Valley, free breakfast and unlimited ice skating. The hotel offers a variety of accommodations, including hot tub cabins with a private six-person hot tub, suites with two queen beds and a sitting room, mid-range rooms, budget cabins and rooms without bathrooms.
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel 1 Grand Loop Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 (307) 344 7311www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com
- Parade Rest Guest Ranch
Just 10 miles from the west entrance of Yellowstone, Parade Rest Guest Ranch is a traditional western dude ranch in Montana’s great outdoors, open from May to September. Enjoy miles of mountain hiking, biking and horseback trails in the ranch’s backyard, or go bird watching and fly fishing on the property grounds with this all-inclusive package. The ranch also offers a number of private and group tours throughout Yellowstone. During the summer on Monday and Friday nights, guests are treated to a traditional western cookout in the mountains. There are 14 unique guest cabins on the property, ranging from one to four bedrooms, including the original homestead cabin built in 1912.
Parade Rest Guest Ranch 1279 Grayling Rd. West Yellowstone, MT 59758 (406) 646 7217 paraderestranch.com
- Lake Yellowstone Hotel
Built in 1891, the historic Lake Yellowstone Hotel lies on the banks of Yellowstone Lake, surrounded by the Absaroka Mountains and within the park limits. Resembling a 1920s colonial manor, the secluded yellow lodge is open from May to September and is much less crowded than accommodations near Old Faithful, but it still has easy access to popular park attractions and hiking areas. The property includes the main hotel, a newer wing with modernly furnished rooms and less-expensive standalone cabins. Although the interior decor and rooms are slightly dated, the grand lobby with live piano music, a sun room and a vintage restaurant overlooking the lake capture much of the hotel’s original charm.
Lake Yellowstone Hotel Lake Village Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190 (307) 344 7311www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/lake-yellowstone-hotel-cabins-94.html
Cheap Weekend Getaways in California
Contributor By Dennis Hartman, eHow Contributing Writer
The state of California is the most populous in America and also among the most visited. From its bustling cities to its vast stretches of natural wilderness, California is a diverse and exciting place to visit. However, as with any major tourist destination, California can be expensive. For travelers on a budget, there are several cheap California weekend getaways that are not to be missed.
- Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is one of the most well-known parks in the federal National Parks System. Located in central California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, it is home to untouched natural vistas and wildlife such as the mule deer and American black bear. Most of Yosemite is undeveloped, so the hiking, birdwatching, photography and relaxation opportunities are all free of charge. The National Parks Service operates a free shuttle bus throughout the park, and hotels and motels just outside the park’s boundaries offer economical accommodations within a short distance of all Yosemite has to offer.
- Los Angeles
Despite its status as a center for show business and home to the cultural elite, the city of Los Angeles is full of free and inexpensive activities. If you’re visiting another part of the state, plan a weekend in L.A. without the pricey Hollywood or Beverly Hills shopping tours. Instead, visit sites such as the California Science Center, the Hollywood Bowl Museum and Griffith Observatory, all of which offer free admission. Other free L.A. activities including soaking up the sun at public beaches like Venice and Santa Monica or hiking in Griffith Park near the famous Hollywood sign. Many low-cost dining and hotel options can be found in suburban San Fernando valley, just a few miles from these activities.
- Angeles National Forrest
The Angeles National Forrest is another inexpensive California getaway. Unlike Yosemite, which doesn’t allow guests to stay overnight in the park, the Angeles National Forrest includes several recreation areas and campgrounds, ranging from undeveloped tent sites to privately-managed facilities for RV and trailer camping. The park includes mountain terrain for hiking, ponds and lakes for swimming and diverse wildlife that can’t be found at lower elevations, including bears and deer. The Angeles National Forrest is just northeast of the Los Angeles metro region, making it easily accessible from elsewhere.