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Where to Park It: 8 Smart Stays
The best cottages, rental houses, and lodges at national parks across the country.
Bryce Canyon, Utah
Dating to the 1920s, the 40 pine cabins at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon have private porches and cathedral ceilings, plus modern niceties like private bathrooms and gas fireplaces—all a stone's throw from the canyon rim. brycecanyonforever.com, cabins from $175 for two adults, kids 16 and under free.
North Cascades, Wash.
Why settle for waterfront when you can get even closer? A dozen cabins at Ross Lake Resort sit serenely atop floating logs—some more than three feet in diameter—on 22-mile-long Ross Lake. Each cabin provides electricity, a woodstove, and access to barbecue grills. rosslakeresort.com, cabins from $135 for two people.
Four miles from the nearest road, 1914 Granite Park Chalet is a backpacker's landmark. Guests cook meals in a communal kitchen, and there's a BYO water policy. The dozen rooms come with bunk beds, decks, and (of course) unsurpassed glacier views. graniteparkchalet.com, $85 first person, $73 each additional person.
Grand Canyon, Ariz.
After hoofing it 7.3 miles to the bottom of the canyon, there's a reason to linger. Phantom Ranch, the sole place to stay beneath the rim, is a 1922 lodge situated along Bright Angel Creek. Sleep in one of 10 stone-and-wood cabins, or in one of four 10-bunk single-sex hiker dorms. grandcanyonlodges.com, $42 per person.
Rocky Mountain, Colo.
Just outside the park, the YMCA of the Rockies leases two- to five-bedroom cabins, some near Estes Park, others close to Winter Park. All are equipped with cooking supplies, and you can bring the whole family: Even dogs are welcome. ymcarockies.org, five-bedroom cabin $329 per night, pets $10 per night.
South of Yosemite Valley, in the Sierra National Forest, Four Seasons Vacation Rentals leases quiet getaways. Choose from studios to three- or four-bedroom spreads with TVs and pool tables, or even stay in a multistory tree house. yosemitelodging.com, three-bedroom houses from $241 per night.
Steps from the world's most famous geyser, the 1904 Old Faithful Inn is equally awe-inspiring: Its main lobby showcases a 500-ton stone fireplace and a ceiling that soars to 65 feet. yellowstonenationalparklodges.com, doubles from $96 with shared bath, $122 with private bath.
The 25-room, stone-and-timber Big Meadows Lodge takes in some of the best valley views. Right off Skyline Drive, it has a rocker-filled great room and easy access to a few major hiking trails. visitshenandoah.com, doubles from $106.