Spring is finally here, flowers are in bloom and for the most part, the weather is inviting throughout the country. What better reason to get back to nature and visit one of the country's spectacular National Parks.

Xanterra (tel. 888/297-2757;, operator of lodges and other services at the South Rim in Grand Canyon National Park, and the Grand Canyon Field Institute (GCFI) are offering "Learning & Lodging" programs in 2007. The popular program combines in-field adventures with naturalist guides from the non-profit institute, accommodations at in-park lodges, some meals and gift shop coupons. The two-day, two-night program includes hiking and exploring along and below the South Rim with an emphasis on the park's geology and ecology. It features accommodations at Yavapai Lodge or Maswik Lodge, in-park transportation, one dinner, two breakfasts, two box lunches, a guide each day, instructional materials, retail coupons and a course completion certificate. Group size is limited to 12 and children aged ten years and older are welcome to participate when accompanied by an adult. Programs begin on Friday and Sunday nights and from now through October 31, 2007 the package is priced from $657 for two adults and $420 single occupancy. Children ten to 16 pay $197, and additional adults sharing the same room cost $256. The program is not offered during holiday periods -- May 25 to 29, August 31 to September 4, November 23 to 27 and December 21, 2007 to January 1, 2008. Taxes are additional. For reservations, telephone 928/638-2525.

Grand Canyon Railway (tel. 800/843-8724; offers two packages with overnight stays inside Grand Canyon National Park. The three-day Canyon Limited trip is priced at $289 per person based on double occupancy from now until October 14, 2007 (the price goes down to $209 from October 15, 2007 to March 14, 2008). It includes round-trip coach class train travel, a motorcoach rim tour with lunch, one-night in Grand Canyon National Park, one-night at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams and one breakfast and dinner per person at Max & Thelma's Restaurant.

The four-day Canyon Limited Plus is priced at $399 until October 14, 2007 or $279 from October 15, 2007 to March 14, 2008. It includes round-trip coach class train travel, a motorcoach rim tour with lunch, one-night in Grand Canyon National Park, two-nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams and two breakfasts and dinners at Max & Thelma's Restaurant. Prices do not include tax or the National Park entry fee. Upgraded train classes may be applied to all packages. The Railway offers five classes of service, including Coach, Club, First, Observation Dome and Parlor Class.

Big Horn Lodge (tel. 800/325-6171; is located in the heart of Canyonlands and just four miles from Arches National Park, in Moab, Utah. Moab is known for many famous off-road bike and ATV trails as well as its proximity to the Colorado River and two of the country's most picturesque National Parks. The Lodge specializes in package deals including white water rafting on the Colorado River, off-road adventures, Hummer tours, jet boat tours, ATV tours, Tom Car excursions, horseback riding, rock climbing, scenic flights, hiking, canyoneering and mountain biking. Their "Jeep and Sleep" package includes two-nights lodging plus two days of jeep rental for $250 plus tax for stays from Sundays to Wednesdays. The current Spring Special gives guests $20 off any regular room rates (except during blackout periods and holidays). Book any adventure package and get 20% off your lodging.

Big Horn Lodge's sister property Red Cliffs Lodge (tel.866/812-2002; has the following special: Book during the month of May and stay in their Creekside Queen/Queen mini suite or River King mini suite from May until the end of October, 2007 and pay only $200 per night plus tax. A River King cabin or River Queen cabin with two bedrooms is $200 per night plus tax. Pets are allowed in designated pet rooms for $20 per night per pet.

Shenandoah National Park ( is located 70 miles west of Washington, D.C. in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Historic Skyline Drive, a National Scenic Byway traverses the top of the mountain through Shenandoah with dozens of overlooks for views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and the Piedmont to the east. You can explore on foot on one of the many scenic hiking trails or take a guided horseback ride. The two-day Hiking Package is priced at $125 and includes one-weeknight's lodging in a traditional room at Skyland Lodge or Big Meadows Lodge, bag lunches for two people and a map. Additional adults pay $27 and children are priced at $8 under ten and $10 for ages 11 to 15. Valid through November 20, 2007 except holidays and September 28 to November 3, 2007. The two-day Weekday Romance Package includes one-night's lodging in a traditional room at Skyland or Big Meadows Lodge, champagne and welcome snack basket upon arrival and a picnic basket for two. The package is priced at $169 for two people with the same validity dates as above. The Weekend Romance Package offers the same amenities but for Friday or Saturday night stays at $199 for two people until November 24, 2007.

The two-day Blue Ridge Package includes one-weeknight's lodging in a traditional room at Skyland or Big Meadows Lodge, dinner for two in the main dining room and breakfast for two for $174. Additional adults are $54.50 for additional adult, children under ten are $11 and kids aged 11 to 15 years are $43. For AAA members, the AAA Getaway Package features two-nights lodging in a traditional room at Skyland or Big Meadows Lodge, two breakfasts for two, two tickets to Luray Caverns and a Virginia gift basket for $283. Additional adults pay $89, children under ten are $16 and those aged between 11 and 15 are $29.Valid for weekday stays until November 20, 2007.

All package prices include taxes plus a small National Parks Foundation donation and utility surcharge.

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