U.S. National Parks are getting ready for their busy season with a selection of great deals and lots of activities for everyone to enjoy, plus there are still several spring specials available to entice you to spend some quality time in our great outdoors.
Next week (April 18 to 26) marks the annual National Park Week with hundreds of free events and tailored programs designed to welcome all visitors to the country's 300 plus park service areas. In particular, many parks are offering activities geared towards children and encouraging a new generation of park users. More than 225 National Park service sites will host youth-oriented events on Saturday, April 25 for the third annual National Junior Ranger Day. Among the many child-friendly activities occurring that day, young visitors can interact with wolves at Petroglyph National Monument; learn nautical skills at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, participate in military re-enactments at Civil War sites, "Live Like a King" at Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, create dinner bells with a blacksmith in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, learn how to "Leave No Trace" at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and make Native American coup sticks at Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. There will also be nature hikes, educational sessions, craft demonstrations and scavenger hunts. For a full list of what's on offer visit www.nps.gov/npweek.
Alaska is celebrating 50 years of statehood in 2009 and there will be a number of special deals available at the state's crowing glory, Denali National Park. Denali Park Resorts (tel. 866/296-0327; www.denaliparkresorts.com) is offering a Sourdough Special with savings of up to 50% off last year's prices. Available the entire season from May 12 through September 20, 2009, travelers can experience a stay at Denali National Park with rates starting from $128 per person. Other discounts include visitors receiving their second nights' stay for only $50. Guests who share this fiftieth birthday with the state can get their second night's accommodation for free (using the coupon code "birthday50" when making a reservation and showing verifying ID on arrival). These specials are available at the McKinley Chalet Resort, Grande Denali Lodge, McKinley Village Lodge, and Denali Bluffs Hotel. Two night packages start at $256 for two people.
Skyland Resort and Big Meadows Lodge at Shenandoah National Park (tel. 800/778-2872; www.visitshenandoah.com) are offering spring early bird specials with savings off up to 30% regular accommodation rates. Stay at Shenandoah Mondays through Thursdays from now until June 25 and pay as little as $104 per room per night, including breakfast for two. Rates even include taxes, utility surcharges and meal gratuities. If you'd prefer to come for the weekend, rates start at $155 for two people for two nights, with each additional person starting from $42 each night (children ages 11-15 cost $14.15).
Lake Quinault Lodge (tel. 866/297-7367; www.visitlakequinault.com) on the Olympic Peninsula at Olympic National Park has a mid-week (Sunday through Thursday) Spring Fling special for non-view or boathouse rooms starting at $79 per night or a view or lakeside room for just $89 a night for two guests, valid until May 15. Taxes are additional.
Far View Lodge at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado (tel. 866/292-8295; www.visitmesaverde.com), the largest archaeological preserve in North America, is re-opening for the spring season with a Spring into Mesa Verde package, priced at $199 for two people. The package includes one night's accommodation at the lodge, a full buffet breakfast for two, and a half-day ranger-guided bus tour for two of Mesa Verde's ancient sites, including the famed Cliff Palace. This spring special is available from April 23 to May 21. Y Explore Yosemite Adventures (tel. 209/532-7014; www.yexplore.com), a socially responsible company offering professionally guided hiking tours and photography workshops in Yosemite National Park, follows Leave No Trace principles to ensure the ecology of the park is not compromised. On May 15, 16, 17, and 18 they will be holding their annual Yosemite Twin Valleys Waterfall workshops and Hetch Hetchy Valley events with specially discounted rates. Tours and educational programs will take place over the four day period commencing with an introductory hike to Yosemite's Inspiration Point led by two renowned naturalists followed by instructional photography tours guided by acclaimed photographers. Costs range from $50 to $300 per person depending on the program.
The in-park lodges at Yellowstone National Park (tel. 866/439-7375; www.travelyellowstone.com) will kick off their peak summer season with a series of special two-night Summer Getaway packages, featuring accommodation, tours (as they become available for the season), two breakfasts per person, a welcome gift and a Summer Fun discount card good for 10% off food, gifts and activities. The packages will be offered at Grant Village, Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and Canyon Lodge. At the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, rates start at $89 per person for a budget cabin or room without bath for guests arriving prior to May 29. From May 29 through June 17 the package will include the Yellowstone in a Day tour with rates starting at $139 per person. At the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, rates start at $179 per person from May 1 through May 21 for a lodge room and from May 22 through June 17 rates will start at $229 per person and include the Circle of Fire tour. At Grant Village, rates start at $179 per person from May 22 to June 17 and include Circle of Fire tour. At the Lake Yellowstone Hotel, rates start at $189 per person from May 15 through May 28 for a backside room and from May 29 through June 17, from $229 per person including the Washburn Expedition tour. At Canyon Lodge, rates start at $179 from May 29 to June 17 for a Western cabin and include the Washburn Expedition tour.