05/30/2014 12:08 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2014

These National Park Hotels Are as Pretty as the Parks They're In

by Kristin Conard,

In 1864, with Abe Lincoln's endorsement of the Yosemite Grant, one of the nation's first protected public spaces was established -- and the groundwork was laid for more U.S. national parks. But did you know that many of these American treasures also have luxe lodgings where you can sleep on-site? Check out 10 of the most amazing cabins and hotels within parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.

  • THE AHWAHNEE HOTEL Yosemite Park, CA Not just a hotel, this lodging—the design of which incorporates Art Deco, Native American, and Arts & Crafts influences—is also a National Historic Landmark. The highlight, beyond views of Yosemite’s granite cliffs, is the grand dining room; this year, you can sample a Sesquicentini cocktail in honor of the Yosemite Grant’s 150th anniversary.
  • OLD FAITHFUL INN Yellowstone National Park, WY This lodge, which opened in 1904, is considered one of the first examples of “parkitecture,” so designed to help park structures (like information centers or hotels) blend harmoniously with their surroundings. In addition to being the world’s largest log hotel, it also features an enormous, 85-foot-tall stone fireplace that dominates the lobby. It’s also hosted six U.S. presidents and the Three Stooges.
  • THE INN AT FURNACE CREEK Death Valley National Park, CA This elegant inn, situated within Death Valley National Park, became a historic oasis thanks to borax, of all things. The chemical was mined in the area by the Pacific Coast Borax company until the 1920s, when the land was turned into a tourist destination. The 66-room hotel, inspired by Spanish missions, features a pool fed by the nearby Travertine Springs, palm gardens, and a deck that overlooks the mountains and desert.
  • EL TOVAR Grand Canyon National Park, AZ Daredevil types will get a kick out of this hotel, located on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon; pop-culture fiends, meanwhile, may recognize it from National Lampoon’s Vacation. Built in 1905, El Tovar is currently undergoing renovations to update its lobby, interiors, and more, although you can still book a room. Famous guests include Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Paul McCartney (who allegedly had to be told to keep his piano playing down during his stay).
  • PARADISE INN Mount Rainier National Park, WA Those looking for a more rustic experience would do well to book a room at this lodging, within the Paradise section of the national park. Guests in the Lodge Rooms share communal showers, although there are also suites that offer more privacy. The hotel opened in 1916, and President Harry Truman played the hand-crafted wooden piano in the lobby when he came to visit.
  • CAVALLO POINT: THE LODGE AT THE GOLDEN GATE Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA While many of these lodges offer swank amenities you wouldn’t necessarily expect at a national park, Cavallo Point goes all-out: There’s an on-site spa, Lexus cars for guests to borrow, and culinary sessions at its cooking school. (Like we said, swanky.) The hotel offers both contemporary digs (with gas fireplaces, sleek furniture, and pet-friendly options), as well as historic rooms in the former officers’ residences at Fort Baker—but with modern furnishings and Golden Gate Bridge views.
  • MANY GLACIER HOTEL Glacier National Park, MT Bring books with you if you’re planning a stay at this hotel: There are no TVs or Internet access in the guestrooms, the better to enjoy the incredible nature happening all around you. Located on Swiftcurrent Lake, the Swiss Chalet-themed rooms are simple but offer amazing views of the surrounding body of water.
  • VOLCANO HOUSE Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, HI If you’ve ever wanted to stay at the summit of a volcano, here’s your chance: This storied hotel, which got a multi-million dollar facelift in 2013, is situated near Halema‘uma‘u Crater, itself close to the summit of Kilauea. Aside from the obvious perk of overlooking a volcano, the hotel also has a newly opened restaurant, the Rim, serving Hawaiian cuisine.
  • ZION LODGE Zion National Park, UT People have slept beneath the shadow of the towering sandstone cliffs in Zion National Park for 8,000 years. You can, too, but in accommodations that surely beat camping out in the wilderness: In addition to standard hotel rooms, the lodge has 40 cabins with private porches, as well as suites with sitting rooms and flat-screens TVs.
  • CRATER LAKE LODGE Crater Lake National Park, OR As the only accommodation within Crater Lake National Park, this hotel offers unparalleled views of the massive blue body of water. And it certainly looks the part of a rustic cabin, with wooden beams criss-crossing the lobby, and a massive stone fireplace that’s a popular gathering spot for visitors. More on America’s national parks: National Park Views Not to Be MissedAmerica's National Parks Versus Its Natural ResourcesHer Maj Was Here: Eight Hotels Where the Queen Has Spent the Night

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