8 Most Beautiful Lodges Just Outside U.S. National Parks

Because staying outside the park is totally in.

With more than 2,000 rooms, you'd think nabbing a place to stay inside Yellowstone National Park wouldn't be an issue, and it isn't — if you book a year in advance. Of course, "no vacancy" signs aren't just a Yellowstone problem: As America's national parks bust at the seams with visitors, in-park accommodations are harder to come by, and overcrowded facilities feel that much further from Mother Nature.

Luckily, more and more incredible hotels are swinging open their doors just beyond park boundaries, offering that in-park feel with the serenity of smaller crowds. If you're planning a trip to any of the U.S. national parks below, put these incredible next-door options on your itinerary.

Terramor Outdoor Resort, Acadia National Park, Maine

View of exterior back end of Terramore lodge resort at night with outdoor lights
Taylor Watts/Terramor Outdoor Resort

Under 10 minutes from the wild nature of Acadia National Park, Terramor Outdoor Resort proves Kampgrounds of America (KOA) knows how to get gussied up. The first luxury "glampground" from the well-known brand, Terramor and its 64 luxury tents sit hidden away across 45 forested acres, offering its visitors serene luxury in nature.

Highlighting your accommodations, expect Frette linens, Pendleton blankets, screened-in porches, upscale bathrooms, pour-over coffee, Wi-Fi, and private fire pits, alongside complimentary yoga sessions, stargazing telescopes, craft-beer tastings, and live music for winding down after Acadia's adventures.

Zapata Ranch, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

A bison walks across a road at Zapata Ranch near Great Sand Dunes National Park
Courtesy of Ranchlands

A petite, 17-room lodge on 50,000 wild acres overlooking Great Sand Dunes National Park, Zapata Ranch, a once-working ranch built in the 1870s, has found new purpose. Now managed and preserved by Ranchlands and The Nature Conservancy, this national park neighbor shows its visitors the value of these lands through exceptional outdoor experiences.

Take in the ranch's golden landscapes on a horseback ride, bison tour, painting workshop, or simply while wandering along the quiet trails, watching the park's dunes change colors in the fading sun. Be back in time for the night's five-course dinner, a world-class experience featuring dishes like bison pho and house-made banana cream pie on the lodge's vista-rich patio.

Clear Sky Resorts, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Clear Sky Resorts domes
Courtesy of Clear Sky Resorts

Just 20 minutes away from Grand Canyon's South Rim, Clear Sky Resorts offers arguably the region's most unique lodging: geodesic domes. Forty-five glamping bubbles — temperature-controlled with private decks, modern bathrooms, and even in-room telescopes — light up the high desert like a mirage, floor-to-ceiling windows offering views across the Arizona horizon.

The innovative resort is well-suited for families, with each dome quirkily themed, from Space Galaxy to '80s Video Game. After a day of exploring the Grand Canyon, come back to the resort for yard games, fire pits, astronomy, movie nights, and more. There's even a glow-in-the-dark frisbee course.

Château du Sureau, Yosemite National Park, California

Château du Sureau in California near Yosemite National Park
Courtesy of Château du Sureau

A taste of European sophistication alongside some of America's most stunning views — that's what's on offer at Château du Sureau, a nine-acre "country house resort" resting in the Sierra Nevada foothills. With only 10 guest rooms and the exquisite Villa du Sureau, accommodations here can also be a task to come by.

If you're lucky enough to nab a reservation, expect wood-burning fireplaces, canopy beds, private balconies, and mixed, Provençal-style decor. The on-site Elderberry House restaurant offers local, seasonal, and organic tasting menus alongside a wine list that's 800 labels strong.

One&Only Moonlight Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Montana

One&Only Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana
Courtesy of One&Only Resorts

Though One&Only Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Montana, may be an hour from Yellowstone National Park, guests will find plenty of incredible nature worth exploring right here. Opening in 2024, the lodge sits quite literally between Lone Peak and the Spanish Peaks, rugged mountains so close that the floor-to-ceiling windows feel like a portal to their summits.

The 73-room property — plus 11 villas and 62 private residences — will be connected by gondola to Big Sky's ski slopes, providing visitors the chance to chase world-class powder between days spent in the world's first national park.

Under Canvas, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Under Canvas luxury camping tent in Bryce Canyon
Bailey Made

Just 15 minutes from the wild hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park, Under Canvas is certainly a humble description for how you'll sleep: The solar-powered, safari-style lodgings come with West Elm furnishings, king-size beds, and en suite bathrooms. At 7,600 feet, wilderness lies just outside (and above) your proverbial doorstep, with antelope grazing nearby and stars lighting up Utah's impressively dark skies. Stick around come nightfall for on-site dining, campfire s'mores, and more.

Sanctuary Treehouse Resort, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Exterior and Interior of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort near Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Courtesy of Sanctuary Treehouse Resort

As one of the most biodiverse spots in the country, rich in both flora and fauna, Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes a fitting home for the world's largest tree house resort. Sanctuary Treehouse Resort — opening in summer 2022 — is set to have 130 tree houses sprung up among 140 forested acres of East Tennessee, an idyllic spot for kids and adults alike.

With the country's most-visited national park in view, guests won't just sleep among the trees; they'll play in the tree houses via spiral slides, climbing ropes, and other fun challenges. Though the resort taps into a childlike spirit, it remains a serene escape, with access only via golf cart, walking trails, Adirondack chairs for easy viewing, and lit forests for timelessly romantic evenings.

Spirit, Zion National Park, Utah

Aerial of Spirit, a Transformative Wilderness Retreat in Zion
Courtesy of Spirit, a Transformative Wilderness Retreat

While Zion's in-park lodging is top-notch, Spirit — a "transformative wilderness retreat" — aims to offer the Zion experience from 100 years ago, when guests could commune with Mother Nature privately and deeply. Only this time, they can do it in the lap of luxury.

Sitting just a mile from the park's edge, Spirit's 40 suites and homesteads rest across 1,000 acres of the Clear Creek Mountains. Each offers more than 6,000 square feet of space, panoramic windows, wraparound terraces, sunken fire pits, and access to 35 miles of uncrowded trails. Guests don't even have to leave their accommodations for views of the Checkerboard Mesa, the East Temple, the West Temple, and more of the park's iconic sites. Who said staying outside the park wasn't ideal?

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles