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Location, location, location. Whether you’re traveling as a couple or a family, what better way is there to enjoy a national park than at your own cozy vacation rental? You have space to spread out, cook as much as you like, become part of the neighborhood — and even save money over a hotel stay.
Of course, the cost of a getaway depends on the property, when you go and how long you stay, but here are eight vacation homes under $220 per night located just a short distance from some of the most popular parks in the country.
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Elk Crossing, near Yellowstone National Park West Entrance, Montana
3 beds, 2 baths, 6 guests
Rates average about $220 per night year-round
This classic mountain lodge is just 8 miles from Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance. Set in a quiet, woodsy neighborhood, the home boasts a stone fireplace, open floor plan, soaring cathedral ceiling and massive picture windows that showcase stunning views of Lionhead Mountain and other snowy peaks. Sit on the deck and keep your eyes peeled for elk, moose and maybe even a bear in this scenic wild area.
While you’re here: In summer, go hiking and mountain biking right out the door, fishing on world-class streams, boating on Hebgen Lake and, of course, day tripping in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) to gape at 10,000 geothermal wonders. The large back deck is perfect for morning coffee or dinner with a sunset view of the mountains. Two chaise lounges are there for when you want to just do nothing. For snowmobilers, there’s a two-car garage for parking your rigs.
Bear Cub Cabin, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
2 beds, 3.5 baths, 5 guests
Rates average around $210 per night (prices increase May-October)
Located in Smoky Mountain Village, this three-level A-frame cabin is all about the views through generous picture windows of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ober Mountain ski resort, Mount LeConte and the twinkling lights of Gatlinburg. You can even see the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway ascend up the mountain while skiers traverse down in winter. Furnished in rustic Appalachian style with a bear theme, the wood-paneled chalet features a stone fireplace, game room with a pool table, and spacious back deck with hot tub. During the warmer months, cabin guests can use the Chalet Village Resort pool and tennis courts.
While you’re here: Explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park, just minutes away. Hike miles of trails or drive along the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road to view wildlife and tour 19th-century homesites. After an energetic day, enjoy brews and live bluegrass, country or rock music in downtown Gatlinburg.
Poet’s Cabin, near Acadia National Park, Maine
1 bed, 1 bath, 3 guests
Rates average around $199 per night (prices increase May-October)
What could be cozier than an intimate cedar-shingled A-frame cabin in the woods on the “quiet side” of Mount Desert Island? This secluded property is in one of the most beautiful waterfront towns in Maine and located right in the heart of Acadia National Park, 20 minutes from tony Bar Harbor. Enjoy leisurely stargazing from the Adirondack chairs on the front deck.
While you’re here: Sample the rocky beaches, world-class trails and endless verdant forests of coastal Acadia National Park, one of the nation’s prettiest. The sunrise views from atop 1,530-foot Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, are worth the trip. Near the cabin, watch gorgeous sunrises or sunsets over intimate harbors, kayak on a tree-lined lake and dine at a classic Maine lobster shack. Just be sure to leave room for blueberry pie.