There are few finer vacation destinations in the United States than its national parks. The allure of these most treasured natural landscapes draws in visitors from all over the world. Some love to camp under the stars, fully immersed in the ambiance of the outdoors. Others prefer to experience the parks from more luxurious accommodations, bookending wilderness adventures during the day with the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. Travelers in the latter category will find a lot to love in the wide range of rental properties available both in and adjacent to popular national parks. The most stunning rentals in U.S. national parks vary in size, architectural style, and conveniences. However, they all promise high-end amenities, breathtaking views, and a delicious sense of seclusion.
A rare luxury rental located inside the boundaries of California’s Yosemite National Park, the Summit House is truly spectacular. Architecture buffs will appreciate its Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired form, constructed with Western red cedar and river rock, wrapped by three decks, and tucked into the forested edge of historic Wawona. The Merced River flows just two blocks from the house.
The Summit House sleeps up to 13 people with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a game room, a loft, and two fireplaces. Perhaps most enticing are the decks with views of mountain peaks and unrivaled proximity to some major highlights of Yosemite. The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias is just 15 minutes away, and it’s a 35-minute drive down to the awe-inspiring Yosemite Valley.
The Sawtelle Outlook is a striking five-bedroom “cabin” at the base of the Sawtelle Mountain in the tiny town of Island Park, Idaho. It’s just 20 minutes from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park and can also be a viable base for exploring Grand Teton National Park. The home accommodates as many as 20 guests, and it comes with a stocked pantry, two stoves, and two refrigerators in the huge main-floor kitchen. Soaring windows showcase spectacular views of the forests and mountains that surround the property. Meanwhile, the interior décor and custom furnishings bring together mountain lodge grandeur with the coziness of a log cabin.
If you’re traveling with a larger group, there’s perhaps no more welcome luxury than your own private retreat. The Unique Two-House Estate — two striking homes connected by a wraparound patio with access to a private lakefront — promises just that. One house has three bedrooms, and the other has two, and together they sleep up to 18 people. Guests can come together for kayaking and swimming on the placid waters of Lake Quinault or around the fire pit on the patio to take in views of the lake and mountains. The property is at Hawks Landing in the heart of Olympic National Park.
Accommodations are ample near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States. Few are as stunning or as spacious as the Majestic Overlook in Gatlinburg. With a whopping 12 bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, the three-story mansion of glass and wood sleeps up to 26 guests. A few highlights include the two-story-tall rock fireplace in the soaring, light-filled great room, an enormous chef-worthy kitchen, and the game room plus a home movie theater. Another is the wraparound deck with a hot tub, rocking chairs, and mountain views for miles.
Rockridge is a charming rental property in the village of Hall Quarry on Mount Desert Island, a stone’s throw from Acadia National Park. It sleeps up to 12 in three buildings: the main house, a tea house, and a carriage house, as well as private gardens with a gazebo and BBQ grills. The main house features three bedrooms, the tea house is a cozy studio suite, and the carriage house is a one-bedroom apartment. The interior décor adds a touch of whimsy to the property’s vintage New England charm. Guests enjoy a full acre of private, peaceful grounds that are stunning in every season.
Want to pair modern luxury with an ancient landscape? Consider Lafave Luxury Rentals just outside Utah’s Zion National Park. High-end touches here include Bosch stainless steel appliances and quartzite countertops in the full kitchens, European-style glass walk-in showers, and private patios or decks with views of Zion’s red sandstone cliffs. Best of all, the rentals are in the heart of Springdale, just 1 mile from the national park entrance and steps from a Zion shuttle stop.
A grand structure of log and stone, this two-bedroom lodge just 17 miles from Denali National Park in Alaska sleeps up to eight. With an enticing balance of luxury amenities with cozy, rustic decor, the property promises a true Alaska vibe with ample high-end touches. An enormous, covered wrap-around deck with mountain views for miles is a major highlight, as are private balconies off the second floor. The lodge offers a fully finished basement with its own living room, kids’ play area, and two full-size futons to accommodate additional guests.
Just a 3-minute drive from Joshua Tree National Park, On the Rocks! is a stunning three-bedroom house tucked under ancient boulders on five acres of land. Its contemporary design harmoniously connects guests with the California desert surroundings. Take in awe-inspiring views of the unique landscape through full walls of glass, or enjoy time outdoors by the fire pit and barbecue. The sleek, solar-powered home features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a full kitchen with high-end appliances, and a light-filled living room with a fireplace.
The prime location of this stunning lodge — on the edge of Lake Hamilton and just 4.5 miles from Hot Springs National Park — makes it one of the most desirable rental properties in this popular Arkansas vacation destination. With five bedrooms and five bathrooms, the expansive lodge sleeps 16 or more guests in full luxury. Spend time outdoors on one of three covered decks with panoramic lake views, enjoy a barbecue or trek down to the boat dock. A pontoon boat rental is available to guests.
Visitors to Minnesota’s Voyageurs National Park who love lakefront luxury and seclusion should seriously consider this luxurious wilderness log home. It sleeps up to 10 with three bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, a loft game room, dining room, spa, and huge front deck leading to a private boat dock. The property is 2 miles past the end of the road, meaning guests must arrive by boat or snowmobile. The nation’s first boat-access-only national park is just minutes away across pristine waters teeming with fish.