10 Incredibly Unique National Park Hotels

10 Incredibly Unique National Park Hotels

Visiting national parks, whether you're road tripping to several or heading to just one, is always an incredible getaway. 

Unless you’re fortunate enough to live very close to one, though, a national parks trip comes with lots of logistics. One of the biggest — in terms of both importance and cost — is accommodations. 

Some parks have several lodging options and others have just one or two, but regardless, all national park hotels are not created equal. 

In order to save you time and make sure your next adventure is as memorable as possible, we’ve done the legwork. Here are our top picks for the best national park hotels in the country!

1. Curry Village, Yosemite 

Tents at Curry Village in Yosemite, one of the most unique national park hotels

Curry Village (or Camp Curry, as it’s often called) is centrally located in Yosemite Valley, about as convenient as it gets. In fact, it’s directly below Half Dome and Glacier Point! It also happens to be one of the more unique national park hotels. 

There are 420 rustic-chic “tent cabins,” or wall tents, and shared bathrooms and showers. This is glamping at its finest, with lighting and real locking doors. Some tents even have heating. Bear-proof storage lockers are provided and using them is actually required.

Linens are provided, but that’s where the “glamorous” aspect of glamping ends.

There’s no electricity besides the light, so pack a power bank to charge your devices. A headlamp is a good idea, too, as Curry Village is extremely dark at night (which means stargazing is amazing right outside your door!). 

Other amenities that make Curry Village one of the best national park hotels include bike rentals, several dining options (must-try: Pizza Patio and a beer from 1899 Bar), wi-fi at Curry Village Lounge, and a general store.

2. Ross Lake Resort, North Cascades

Even among the most unique national park hotels, Ross Lake Resort stands out. There aren’t many floating resorts in the world, after all. 

Yes, we said floating resort. Each of Ross Lake Resort’s 15 cabins is “lakefront,” since the entire property floats on Ross Lake. You can very literally sit outside your door and dip your feet in the water.

Getting here is half the fun, as the resort is inaccessible to vehicles. There are two options: Hike two miles through the woods or hike one mile, then take a ferry across the lake. 

Both options require you to tote your belongings, including food and drinks for your entire stay. You see, the resort doesn’t have an onsite restaurant or even a camp store. 

Sounds like a ton of work, right? It is, but the seclusion and out-of-this-world views are unparalleled. Ross Lake Resort invites you to truly unplug and connect with nature. 

While you’re here, rent a kayak or motorboat and fishing gear. Each cabin has a full kitchen plus propane grill on the deck, so if you’re lucky, you can cook up the day’s catch.

Cabins at Ross Lake Resort are extremely difficult to score (remember, there are only 15!), so plan far ahead.

3. ROAM Beyond, Glacier

A roaming cabin and hammock surrounded by trees at sunset at ROAM Beyond, one of the best national park hotels

Admittedly, it’s a bit of a stretch to call ROAM Beyond a national park hotel. Memorable (and Instagrammable!) accommodations, yes. Upscale, sustainable, off-grid glamping, yes. Unbeatable location close to Glacier National Park, yes. 

But traditional hotel? No. In fact, nothing about ROAM Beyond is traditional. And that’s why it’s one of our favorite national park hotels. Er, accommodations.

All the “roaming cabins” are off-grid, powered by solar. The views are outstanding, the beds are some of the most comfortable on Earth, and each cabin has a private bathroom and shower. 

Outside, each cabin has a fire pit and outdoor kitchen. Head to the Barn for game night and take advantage of free wi-fi in the School House. 

ROAM Beyond is open year-round, unlike most other hotels near Glacier National Park. Montana winters are extreme, yes, but braving it means enjoying the park largely to yourself, more opportunities to spot snow-loving wildlife like moose, and potentially catching the Northern Lights.

4. Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel, Yellowstone

It’s not often you can sleep in an authentic tipi — much less in hotels near national parks. But Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel allows you to do just that, with an unbeatable location on the Yellowstone River just five miles from the park’s north entrance in Gardiner, Montana. 

Each of the luxurious 22-foot tipis is uniquely decorated and features top-of-the-line memory foam mattresses and linens, heaters, and private fire pits outside. There’s a community bathhouse with private bathrooms, each with heated floors and a rainfall showerhead.

Speaking of showers, all the water used at Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel comes from a local mountain spring and is UV-treated. In other words, it’s some of the cleanest, freshest water you can get!

Meet other glampers at the nightly community bonfire/happy hour with complimentary s’mores, beer, and wine. Then, in the mornings, indulge in complimentary breakfast to fuel your adventures in the park. 

Dreamcatcher also has wi-fi and a camp store with souvenirs including (of course!) handmade dreamcatchers crafted by Native American women.

5. Airstreams at Zion Stays, Zion

Ever dreamt of trying out #airstreamlife? With the tricked-out Airstreams at Zion Stays in Orderville, Utah, you can make that dream a reality. 

Orderville is on the east side of Zion National Park, less than 30 minutes from the entrance. Based on the view of the Elkhart mountains from the Airstreams, though, you’ll feel like you’re in the heart of the park. 

The Airstreams are luxurious, with full kitchens and bathrooms featuring full-size showers and flushing toilets. To keep you comfortable year-round, there’s also A/C and heat. 

What really ranks the Airstreams at Zion Stays among the best hotels near national parks — hands-down — are the incredible outdoor living areas. Each Airstream has a massive private deck with multiple seating areas, a fire pit, BBQ grill, and even a hot tub. 

It’s hard to believe the Airstreams could get any better, but their location is unbeatable. Not only are they just outside Zion, but Bryce Canyon National Park is less than an hour away and Lake Powell (across the Arizona state line) is also just over an hour away.

6. Triangle X Ranch, Grand Teton

It doesn’t get much more bucket list-worthy than an authentic dude ranch in Wyoming. Horseback riding, fishing from the river, family-style cookout dinners, square dancing, cowboy poetry...the gang’s all here!

There’s really only one thing that could make it any more amazing: if it were in a national park.

Well friends, Triangle X Ranch is inside a national park — Grand Teton. In fact, it has the distinction of being the only guest ranch inside the entire National Park system!

Even more impressive, Triangle X Ranch has been family-owned and operated for a whopping five generations. 

Since the ranch is inside park boundaries, you’re treated to epic head-on Grand Teton views. So not only do you spend your days riding and fishing, but you do it against one of the world’s most iconic backdrops. 

Stays at Triangle X are all-inclusive, so all activities and meals are included. Unique to this ranch, you must stay for one-week increments, from Sunday to Sunday. 

Also unique to Triangle X, the ranch runs a separate river outfit and it’s one of just a few permitted to operate within park boundaries. Take our word for it and book a scenic float or whitewater rafting trip.

7. White Stallion, Saguaro

Triangle X can claim being the only dude ranch in a national park, sure, but White Stallion Ranch comes pretty dang close. Located just north of Tucson, Arizona, White Stallion is adjacent to gorgeous Saguaro National Park. 

Like many authentic western dude ranches, White Stallion offers guests all-inclusive stays with three meals per day and a wide selection of daily activities. Choose from horseback riding, archery, e-biking, shooting, rock climbing, game nights, or just relax by the pool (hey, when in Arizona!). 

Where White Stallion really sets itself apart as one of the most unique dude ranches and certainly hotels near national parks is its level of care and service.

Everything is top-notch at the ranch, from the meticulous desert landscaping to the ultra-comfy beds and the impeccable staff. The mountain ranges in every direction and perpetually cloudless blue sky aren’t bad, either. 

White Stallion is open year-round and even offers riding lessons for beginner riders. The ranch has a reputation for having fantastic horsemanship, so we highly recommend taking advantage of this!

8. Rushmore Shadows Resort, Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and Wind Cave

Situated in the treasure trove known as southwestern South Dakota, Rushmore Shadows Resort is one of the best hotels near national parks. 

In this particular case, we mean “parks” very literally — the resort is conveniently located near Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Plus Custer State Park, the Black Hills National Forest, and Jewel Cave National Monument. Whew!

Rushmore Shadows offers a variety of family-friendly accommodation options, including log cabins, rustic camping cabins, covered Conestoga-style wagons, and RV and tent campsites. 

Regardless of which lodging type you opt for, you’ll have access to a long list of onsite amenities.

There’s a heated pool, playground, mini golf course, sports courts, community fire pit, general store, dog park, complimentary loaner bikes, wi-fi, and laundry. Again, whew!

9. Volcano House, Hawaii Volcanoes

When you think of dreamy national park hotels, it’s hard to top staying on the rim of a volcano. At Volcano House in Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park, that’s exactly the experience you get. 

Side note: if staying near a volcano in Hawaii wasn’t already on your bucket list, we apologize, because we know it is now!

In 1866, Mark Twain wrote of Volcano House, “The surprise of finding a good hotel in such an outlandish spot startled me considerably more than the volcano did.” Indeed, it’s just about the last place on Earth you may expect to find comfortable lodging with a spirit of authentic aloha. 

And yet, here it exists, 4,000 feet above sea level on the rim of the Kilauea caldera. The historic Volcano House features a variety of accommodations, including private cabins, traditional lodge-style rooms, and campsites. 

Whichever you choose, you’ll get welcome mimosas and evening cookie service, complimentary loaner bikes, a lending library with books and board games, and wi-fi.

There’s also a restaurant and bar onsite, and many park tours leave from just outside the lodge.

10. Catherine’s Landing, Hot Springs

Just five minutes from one of the most unique (and technically oldest!) national parks in the country, Arkansas’ Hot Springs, you can stay in a waterfront yurt or cottage (pick a yurt!).

Situated directly on Lake Catherine, the aptly-named Catherine’s Landing has something for every type of national parks traveler. 

In between soaking in the park’s natural hot springs, enjoy as much adventure — or relaxation — as you’d like at the resort. 

Catherine’s Landing has a boat ramp and dock, plus kayak, canoe, paddle board, and pontoon boat rentals. There’s also a seasonal saline pool and splash pad for guests to enjoy. 

When you want to spend some time out of the water, Catherine’s Landing has you covered with bicycle and golf cart rentals, a disc golf course, playground, and a zipline adventure course.

Bring Fido, too, because this national park hotel welcomes dogs and even has a “bark park!”

In addition to the yurts and cottages, Catherine’s Landing has over 200 RV sites, many of them waterfront. Sounds like a road trip may be in order!


Have you stayed in any of these national park hotels, or are any of them on your travel bucket list? We’d love for you to connect with us on social media and let us know!

And as you’re planning (or reminiscing about!) your trip, don’t forget about a way to commemorate it.

Instead of the traditional t-shirt or mug, why not opt for something more in line with an epic national park hotels stay? Something like a Wander chain, for example. 

Not only do we have tokens for ALL the U.S. national parks, but we also have them for famous landmarks, countries, cities, and even custom creations!

1 comment

Dear thewanderclub.com webmaster, Thanks for the informative and well-written post!

Leanne Samson February 18, 2023

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