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8 Affordable Vacation Rentals Near National Parks

Calling all nature lovers: Consider booking one of these properties for proximity and a great price.

spinner image vintage charmer a house available for rent in washington
Susan Hilden

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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spinner image left elk crossing vacation rental in montana right an interior of the cabin
Mountain Home

​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.

spinner image left the exterior of bear cub cabin in tennessee right an interior of the cabin
Mike Sutton

​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.

spinner image left a bedroom right the outside of poets cabin in maine
www.acadiavacationhomes.com

​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.

spinner image left a view of happy elk cabin from the outside right the grounds near happy elk cabin in colorado
Matt Puckett

​Happy Elk Cabin, near Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

2 beds, 1 bath, 6 guests (main house)
Rates average around $200 per night (prices increase May-October)

​Revel in Colorado’s soaring Rocky Mountains in this rural ranch-style home just 2 miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). Inhale the fresh mountain air from the hammock while deer or elk graze in the yard, savor outdoor meals on the covered front deck and roast s’mores in the fire pit while snowy Longs Peak looms in the distance. Planning a family reunion with grandkids? An adjacent studio (additional cost) has two more bedrooms and another bath and — best of all — an enclosed toddler playground where a sandbox, slide, seesaw and little tyke cars will keep the kids entertained. 

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While you’re here: Come for the classic western mountain landscape of RMNP and stay for more than 355 miles of hiking trails, stunning scenic drives through alpine tundra up to 12,000 feet (Old Fall River Road and Trail Ridge Road are best), and opportunities to ogle the megafauna: elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and moose. Keep your camera handy.

spinner image the back porch of a vacation rental called teton shadows in wyoming
Jim Walton

Teton Shadows Shoshone D, near Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

2 beds, 2.5 baths, 6 guests
Rates average around $194 (prices increase May-October)

​This newly remodeled open-concept townhouse is enviably situated between upscale Jackson and Grand Teton National Park— just a 10-minute drive away. Use the home as base camp for neighborhood walks, nearby bike paths and Nordic ski tracks in winter, all in the shadow of the stunning Tetons. House highlights include an updated kitchen, jetted tub, mountain views right from the main bedroom and a spacious wooden deck (with grill) facing a wide green area and golf course, perfect for unwinding after a day of hiking in the park. Let the home’s dramatic animal art inspire your park adventures.

While you’re here: Explore more than 200 miles of hiking trails, float the winding Snake River, and be awed by the incomparable wildlife — including bears, bison, moose, elk and pronghorn — and spectacular beauty of Grand Teton National Park. There’s nothing like encountering a herd of 2,000-pound bison poised against the soaring, snow-tipped Teton Range for a pinch-me moment. Cross-country ski and snowshoe trails beckon in winter. But the best time to visit is early July, when wildlife is on the move and wildflowers are on full display.

spinner image a vacation rental in michigan city indiana
Sheila Moyer

Family Getaway, near Indiana Dunes National Park, Indiana

3 beds, 2 baths, 12 guests
Rates average $170 per night (prices increase May-October)

Calling all families. This comfortable house just steps from a lovely beach on Lake Michigan and near Indiana Dunes National Park is perfect for a family gathering. Sleeping up to 12 (with foldout couches), it’s just up the street from the kid-friendly Washington Park Zoo. Youngsters will also love the home’s air hockey and pool tables, board games and beach toys. Expect modern bathrooms, wood-paneled walls, an outdoor patio for grilling and dining and a fire pit (s’mores, anyone?). 

While you’re here: Indiana Dunes National Park is a year-round destination: Hike more than 50 miles of trails through shifting sand dunes, serene woodlands, sunny prairies and lush marshes. Go fishing and boating in Lake Michigan and visit historic landmarks. Apart from the park, Michigan City’s adult attractions are plentiful: the Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, Blue Chip Casino, Friendship Botanic Gardens, historic Old Lighthouse Museum and Barker Mansion — along with golf, breweries and wineries.

spinner image a couple overlooking a canyon in zion national park in utah
Getty

Historical Home, near Zion National Park, Utah

1 bed, 1 bath, 4 guests
Rates average $165 per night year-round

Located on a quiet street about 20 minutes from Zion National Park, this renovated historical cottage makes a cozy retreat for exploring the park. The decor embraces country charm from the furnishings to the updated open kitchen to the wide-plank wooden floors. Relax on two shaded porches and take in views of a bordering orchard and dramatic rocky outcrops in back. Bonus: There’s plenty of parking for vehicles, ATVs, boats and trailers.

While you’re here: Zion is a photographer’s dream with its massive sandstone cliffs of cream, blush and red, soaring into a brilliant azure sky. Activities are endless: biking on the Pa’rus Trail, hiking in popular Zion Canyon, horseback riding, driving through canyons and more. At night, stick around to see thousands of stars twinkling above the jagged silhouette of the cliffs.

spinner image the interior living room and backyard of vintage charmer a vacation rental in washington
Susan Hilden

Vintage Charmer, near Olympic National Park, Washington 

3 beds, 2 baths, 6 guests
Rates average $200 per night (prices increase May-December)

Blending modern amenities with historic character, this charming 1940s house is just minutes from the Olympic National Park and downtown Port Angeles. Wood-beamed ceilings, two living rooms, an electric fireplace and a light-filled open kitchen enhance its livability. Relax in the beautiful landscaped garden with an outdoor electric fireplace and grill. On rainy days, play table tennis or darts.

While you’re here: Sprawling over nearly a million acres, Olympic National Park protects a dramatic and diverse wilderness from glacier-topped mountains and lush temperate rain forests to more than 70 miles of wild wave-lashed Pacific coastline. You can hike mountain, coastal and forest trails, keeping an eye out for black-tailed deer, Olympic marmots, Roosevelt elk and 300 species of birds. Go boating and fishing on rivers, lakes and coastal waters. Enjoy snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing and snowboarding at Hurricane Ridge. And count stars during the park’s telescope-assisted astronomy program.

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