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Plenty of Reasons for Families to Explore America’s National Parks

by Carley Wade

May 28, 2018

© New Thought Photos

Travel Tips

The centennial of the founding of the U.S. national parks in 2016 was a banner year, with increased attendance and patriotism that put the spotlight not only on the natural beauty but on accommodation and meal options— perhaps with some that could use a few improvements. For anyone pondering a summer break this year to the greatest of America’s outdoor spots, you’re in luck, since there’s plenty of enhancements around the country.


At Sol Duc Hot Springs, a newly renovated lodge premiers with an interior redesign of the main lobby, restaurant and gift shop. New flooring, lighting, granite and stacked stone finishes mean the atmosphere is more relaxing — especially when you hit up the poolside for a hot spring massage.


New private tours at Mesa Verde National Park (Mancos, Colorado) give your family a glimpse into the lives of the ancient Puebloan peoples that inhabited the area circa 600 A.D. You can climb to the highest point in the park to enjoy 360-degree views into all four corner states and explore archeological sites like the Sun Temple.


Foodies can rejoice at Lake Crescent Lodge , where the culinary program now includes more regional flavors with educational presentations from local food and beverage producers, tastings and pairings.


There’s now nightly entertainment in Miner’s Plaza at Denali Park Village (Denali National Park & Preserve, Alaska), opening May 13, plus new guided hiking and rafting excursions with new ways to explore, whitewater rafting tours daily and four-hour guided hikes into the Alaskan wilderness with historical, environmental and scientific insights.


Denali National Park, Alaska

© Cecoffman | Dreamstime.com


Newly built log cabins include two bedrooms, kitchen and living areas, plus patios, natural wood ceilings and furnishings that blend with the iconic architecture of the region at Log Cabin Resort (Olympic National Park, Washington). Lake Crescent’s water activities include paddle boats, paddleboards, canoes, kayaks and boats.


An enhanced culinary program at Lake Quinault Lodge (Olympic National Forest, Washington) and Mesa Verde National Park include a focus on indigenous ingredients like locally sourced elk in the Quinault Shepherd’s Pie, St. Helen’s Angus ribeye and seared local wild salmon, and ancient-grain risotto and steelhead trout, respectively.


The new Base Camp eatery debuts at Yosemite National Park this summer, where rooms at Majestic Yosemite Hotel also renovated. There’s new shuttle service to Mariposa Grove starting in mid-June, where there are more than 500 giant Sequoia trees, some 3,000 years old. The Grand Tour is a six-hour adventure through this grove, Yosemite Valley and Glacier Point.


Want to go glamping? You’re in luck at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Arizona and Utah), where new New Airstream International Signature campers are the latest lodging option for a one-of-a kind experience. There are also new houseboating options, with plenty of amenities and water skiing and tubing options.


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