Author Topic: National Parks "In Comfort"  (Read 7386 times)

Mgmny

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National Parks "In Comfort"
« on: May 02, 2017, 02:11:36 PM »
Hey gang!

I really enjoy going on trips/vacations that include immaculate scenery - so the US's National Parks system is excellent for this, however, the accommodations are generally seen as "uncomfortable."

My wife and I are really not fans of camping (especially when there isn't showers), and it seems like all the hotels near the cool national parks are motel-style hotels, which we are not fans of either. We have a TON of Marriott points and chase points, and generally can find good deals on nice hotels, but not near the national parks!

We've looked into things like RV rental, but that's incredibly expensive, and my wife gets free gas from her company car, so it seems so stupid for us to rent something when we can get around for free.

Some national parks have "glamping" campgrounds, but again, $100++ a night for a tent seems so dumb to me.

Do we just need to bite the bullet and camp and/or stay in motels along the way, or do you have any suggestions? Obviously some National Parks are closer to cities with nice accommodations than others, but the cool ones driveably near us (We're in Minneapolis - so a drive to colorado/montana is "do-able") are not.

Any suggestions?

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 02:52:53 PM »
whats expensive to you.  I've found great prices on RVs in different areas. 

Some using this site

https://www.outdoorsy.co/list-your-rv?kclickID=03a0281d-d328-4087-b1d0-f3bc32ab65be&utm_kclickID=03a0281d-d328-4087-b1d0-f3bc32ab65be&gclid=CjwKEAjw3KDIBRCz0KvZlJ7k4TgSJABDqOK75m-Cbp3yUKLFiDhbo1ZGeBmY2GXKRq-gAQpDMgEb0hoCluHw_wcB

Going in shoulder season helps too.

We also did escape campervans out of vegas on our Utah nation park trip my favorite vacation and I'd consider myself not a fan of camping but that trip is my favorite trip i've been on and i've been on ALOT. 

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 03:03:03 PM »
https://www.outdoorsy.co/rv-rental/show/4566?from=2017-10-17&to=2017-10-24

here's a really good one up by the seattle parks.

Mgmny

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 05:36:00 PM »
That site is cool - thank you!!!

G-dog

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 06:06:06 PM »
Many of the parks have non-camping lodging within the park.
Yellowstone has cabins and lodges in several locations (Yellowstone lake; old faithful; and Mammoth Hot Springs; and many more)
Grand Canyon (north and south rims) have cabins and lodges
Mesa Verde has a lodge
Rocky Mountain National Park - some cabins via YMCA, but there is a LOT of lodging in Estes Park and along all the highways to RMNP.

Likely true of many other parks - but these come to mind immediately.

Not Marriotts - but you don't have to hike in 5 miles with back packs and tents.

warehouse

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 06:08:29 PM »
We also did escape campervans out of vegas on our Utah nation park trip my favorite vacation and I'd consider myself not a fan of camping but that trip is my favorite trip i've been on and i've been on ALOT.

I'm visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon in a few weeks. What were your favorite things you did on your trip?? We are flying in and out of Vegas.

Re: park accomodations.. bite the bullet. In my experience it's better to have best proximity to park, preferably inside park, than deal commute from nicer accomodations. That means camping or motel like rooms.


SingleMomDebt

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 06:16:31 PM »
Agree with G-Dog. Most of the NPs have pretty sweet lodges if you want to spend the money.

Eric

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 06:19:16 PM »
You can stay right in luxury in the middle of Yosemite Valley for only ~$400/night depending on the season.

http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/the-majestic-yosemite-hotel/

A tent with a nice air mattress is a helluva lot better deal though.

SingleMomDebt

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2017, 06:23:20 PM »
OOooh, I just checked out that Outdoorsy site and found a potential trailer rental for my summer camping in Mammoth. Why didn't I think of building a site like that? Doh!

Mgmny

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2017, 06:59:21 PM »
You can stay right in luxury in the middle of Yosemite Valley for only ~$400/night depending on the season.

http://www.travelyosemite.com/lodging/the-majestic-yosemite-hotel/

A tent with a nice air mattress is a helluva lot better deal though.

Haha this is what i mean!!! The lodges and hotels nearby that i find are all $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. I'll have to do some more digging, i guess.

Mgmny

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2017, 07:00:46 PM »
Many of the parks have non-camping lodging within the park.
Yellowstone has cabins and lodges in several locations (Yellowstone lake; old faithful; and Mammoth Hot Springs; and many more)
Grand Canyon (north and south rims) have cabins and lodges
Mesa Verde has a lodge
Rocky Mountain National Park - some cabins via YMCA, but there is a LOT of lodging in Estes Park and along all the highways to RMNP.

Likely true of many other parks - but these come to mind immediately.

Cool thanks! I'll have to check out the pricing!

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2017, 07:14:44 PM »
We also did escape campervans out of vegas on our Utah nation park trip my favorite vacation and I'd consider myself not a fan of camping but that trip is my favorite trip i've been on and i've been on ALOT.

I'm visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon in a few weeks. What were your favorite things you did on your trip?? We are flying in and out of Vegas.

Re: park accomodations.. bite the bullet. In my experience it's better to have best proximity to park, preferably inside park, than deal commute from nicer accomodations. That means camping or motel like rooms.

Angels landing hike is awesome. Wish we'd had more time in Bryce didn't see as much as we wanted.  You should go to antelope canyon on your way to the grand canyon. It's amazing. Also hit up horseshoe bend by lake Powell. Horseshoe bend and antelope canyon were highlites around there.  Moab is probably my favorite place in Utah. With arches canyonlands and the Colorado. 

jmwagner5

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2017, 07:17:30 PM »
Depending on the time of year and spaciousness of your vehicle.. Camping out in one's car can be pretty fun! You can even find inflatable air mattresses that fill up the backseat of a number of different vehicles so that your back is functional the next day.  Otherwise I have seen some people use a hammock setup to do the same thing within their car or van as well. 

Having tried this myself I can tell you that it saves you a substantial sum of money and is God awful when it is hot as hell outside but is completely worth it if you have a sun roof in your vehicle with a great view of the stars and park of your choice. 

G-dog

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2017, 07:19:42 PM »
Many of the parks have non-camping lodging within the park.
Yellowstone has cabins and lodges in several locations (Yellowstone lake; old faithful; and Mammoth Hot Springs; and many more)
Grand Canyon (north and south rims) have cabins and lodges
Mesa Verde has a lodge
Rocky Mountain National Park - some cabins via YMCA, but there is a LOT of lodging in Estes Park and along all the highways to RMNP.

Likely true of many other parks - but these come to mind immediately.

Cool thanks! I'll have to check out the pricing!

It's been awhile, but I've found cabins or rooms to typically be a bit less than the surrounding areas. This could have changed. We stayed in a cabin by Old Faithful (our dog was with us), but ate in Old Faithful Lodge - some pretty cool stuff! That was the year after the big fire (sometime in the late 1980's or early 1990's). There's also cafeteria food options.

It can be hard to get a room at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, especially during peak season. The north rim may be easier, it is visited less.

Mesa Verde is one of my favorites. There's a restaurant at the lodge, but also a cafeteria in a center adjacent.

There is no lodging in the park, but Great Sand Dunes is way fun (near Alamosa, CO).

Watch out for the timing of the Sturgis Falls motorcycle rally - that will impact availability for the whole time and days before and after. Several people stay for only part of it. Ugh. That was a nightmare one year when we had not made reservations in advance. Again, a late 1980's or early 1990's experience.

I don't require luxury - but want beds, showers, and flush toilets for overnight.

We've also stayed in nearby towns at motels - there are Best Westerns almost everywhere. Maybe start their rewards program.

G-dog

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2017, 07:21:47 PM »
We also did escape campervans out of vegas on our Utah nation park trip my favorite vacation and I'd consider myself not a fan of camping but that trip is my favorite trip i've been on and i've been on ALOT.

I'm visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon in a few weeks. What were your favorite things you did on your trip?? We are flying in and out of Vegas.

Re: park accomodations.. bite the bullet. In my experience it's better to have best proximity to park, preferably inside park, than deal commute from nicer accomodations. That means camping or motel like rooms.

Angels landing hike is awesome. Wish we'd had more time in Bryce didn't see as much as we wanted.  You should go to antelope canyon on your way to the grand canyon. It's amazing. Also hit up horseshoe bend by lake Powell. Horseshoe bend and antelope canyon were highlites around there.  Moab is probably my favorite place in Utah. With arches canyonlands and the Colorado.

+1 - and you haven't visited Bryce unless you see Fairyland. No accommodations in Bryce or Zion that I am aware of (other than camping), but I could be wrong.

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2017, 07:57:22 PM »
Zion has a lodge and I think Bryce does but not sure.  Lots of lodging just outside Zion too

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2017, 05:47:15 AM »
yellowstone probably has some of the most affordable in park accomodations out there as far as national parks are concerned.   I've researched it extensively.

also i'd say the most cost effective way to do national parks is after you FIRE with your own RV and tow a small vehicle.  its our plan to do that a few summers with our kids to get them to all the national parks
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 05:49:21 AM by boarder42 »

Mgmny

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2017, 08:59:38 AM »
yellowstone probably has some of the most affordable in park accomodations out there as far as national parks are concerned.   I've researched it extensively.

also i'd say the most cost effective way to do national parks is after you FIRE with your own RV and tow a small vehicle.  its our plan to do that a few summers with our kids to get them to all the national parks

I better keep working towards FIRE then!!

bognish

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2017, 12:23:26 PM »
Zion Park in UT is the National Park that I can think of with the best hotel lodging close to the park. Springdale is right out of the park gate. There is a free shuttle that takes you into the park and free buses in the park. Its actually much nicer than having to drive, deal with parking or driving while looking out the windows and the buses are convenient.

Torrey UT is probably 15 minutes to the entrance of Capital Reef NP. Torrey is a bit smaller than Springdale and the park is more spread out, but it does not require massive amounts of driving to commute from Torrey. There are decent hotel and meal options in town without worrying about NP traffic jams.

Arches & Canyonlands require a but more of a drive from Moab to get into the park. There are more lodging options in Green River. GR is more of a highway rest stop town, but Moab can be a total zoo these days.

The other western parks I can think of have a bit longer of a drive to get into from hotels and the lodging tends towards dated motels: Rocky Mtn NP, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Death Valley.

I tend to skip travel points hacking because most of my vacations head towards places without hotel chains.

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2017, 12:31:06 PM »
Good point on Moab... that is a great city to visit and see the national parks from we did that the first year on a long memorial day.  by june we'd booked our campervan to go back the next memorial day. 

If youre an early riser its pretty easy to get into those parks.  if not you may wait in long lines in busy season. 

We stayed at this BnB the first time.

https://www.visitutah.com/lodging/ezpeletas-bed-amp-breakfast/

looks like their actual website is down.  but it was 120 a night for a travel trailer that was huge with our own private kitchen. and we got fresh cooked breakfasts from their farm every day.  Oh and if you were getting up early a cold breakfast was waiting for you in the fridge in their house to grab and go. - See mesa arch at sunrise its worth it ...
<<<<< its right there.

elaine amj

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2017, 03:06:07 PM »
What about the Rockies in Colorado? The National Park is reasonably accessible to cities like Boulder and some chain accommodations a reasonable driving distance away. What about renting a cabin? There are many beautiful luxurious ones that may not be that expensive. (I only looked for tiny, rustic tent-like spots when I researched Colorado though!)

What about the Smokies? Gorgeous timeshare resorts and vacation rentals all right next to the park for insanely low prices (blew my mind when I looked). And Pigeon Forge has a bunch of chain hotels.

My SIL loves staying in a luxury timeshare in Park City, Utah (some beautiful hotels there too) and then driving 1-3 hours to hike in the fabulous parks. I can get the Hyatt Park City with my Hyatt CC and would LOVE to go there - but so far, flights to Utah have been more expensive than I can stomach, even with my airmiles.

Try looking for a nearby park then search airbnb for vacation rental type places.

Overall, I agree - every time I have looked up National Park accommodation options, they're usually pretty pricey or simple motels.

slugsworth

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2017, 03:58:42 PM »
At age 26 you can't forgo a little comfort to go somewhere awesome?

Two links for you:
 http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/22/what-is-hedonic-adaptation-and-how-can-it-turn-you-into-a-sukka/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/

and if you want to
enjoy going on trips/vacations that include immaculate scenery

you might even consider backpacking!  If you toughen up those occasional motels near the national parks will seem amazing.

CheapScholar

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2017, 06:00:11 PM »
National Park Freak here.  I'm also going to Zion in 3 weeks (first time there) and I was lucky to get a room at the Zion Lodge last minute.  Although, at $220 it's NOT cheap.  I justify this bc I'm camping at a $20 per night campsite the first 2 nights.  I'm going to Yellowstone in July with my family, and the rates are similar, but I feel a good value compared to private lodging in WY.

I've been to many of the parks and I highly recommend Rocky Mountain National Park because flights to Denver can be very cheap, Estes Park is relatively close to Denver Airport for a national park, and you can usually get great deals on hotels in Estes Park on Hotwire or condo rentals on AirBnB.  Also, RMNP is just stunning.  It can compete with any other park and if you're looking to start experiencing our National Parks, it's a great place to start.

If you're considering Yosemite, I'd suggest Big Trees Lodge.  It's very affordable for official park lodging and the service is great. 

warehouse

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2017, 07:32:26 PM »
We also did escape campervans out of vegas on our Utah nation park trip my favorite vacation and I'd consider myself not a fan of camping but that trip is my favorite trip i've been on and i've been on ALOT.

I'm visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon in a few weeks. What were your favorite things you did on your trip?? We are flying in and out of Vegas.

Re: park accomodations.. bite the bullet. In my experience it's better to have best proximity to park, preferably inside park, than deal commute from nicer accomodations. That means camping or motel like rooms.

Angels landing hike is awesome. Wish we'd had more time in Bryce didn't see as much as we wanted.  You should go to antelope canyon on your way to the grand canyon. It's amazing. Also hit up horseshoe bend by lake Powell. Horseshoe bend and antelope canyon were highlites around there.  Moab is probably my favorite place in Utah. With arches canyonlands and the Colorado.


Thanks! I looked up Angels Landing in Zion, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend and will add them to my itinerary!! I don't think we have enough time to hit Moab on this trip, hopefully next time.

warehouse

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2017, 07:43:04 PM »
We also did escape campervans out of vegas on our Utah nation park trip my favorite vacation and I'd consider myself not a fan of camping but that trip is my favorite trip i've been on and i've been on ALOT.

I'm visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon in a few weeks. What were your favorite things you did on your trip?? We are flying in and out of Vegas.

Re: park accomodations.. bite the bullet. In my experience it's better to have best proximity to park, preferably inside park, than deal commute from nicer accomodations. That means camping or motel like rooms.

Angels landing hike is awesome. Wish we'd had more time in Bryce didn't see as much as we wanted.  You should go to antelope canyon on your way to the grand canyon. It's amazing. Also hit up horseshoe bend by lake Powell. Horseshoe bend and antelope canyon were highlites around there.  Moab is probably my favorite place in Utah. With arches canyonlands and the Colorado.

+1 - and you haven't visited Bryce unless you see Fairyland. No accommodations in Bryce or Zion that I am aware of (other than camping), but I could be wrong.

Fairyland looks amazing, adding that to my itinerary as well!  I did manage to get one night of accommodation at Bryce Canyon Lodge and one night in a little cabin (no private bath) a couple miles down the road at an RV/ campground- it has a hot tub!! The lodge is $225/night and the little cabin is $65. I'm thinking about cancelling the lodge night to save the money. We are renting a mini van and have slept in them in the past. We have sleeping air pads and also packing a memory foam mattress topper.. we can make it pretty comfy in a van with these items. I also like the idea of not having reservations so we can be more flexible with our plans as we make our way through the three parks.

bognish

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2017, 12:32:42 PM »
Memory foam mattress pad seems bulky to pack if you are flying. When we minivan camp we pick up a roll of eggshell foam padding from home depot. Double it up to cover the sleeping area and throw a sheet on top. Cheep & comfy. Bryce canyons elevation is 9,000. Much higher than Zion. It will still be getting cold at night in May & June.

A few other tips. Fill up water jugs when you can. Inbetween parks or town in southern UT there is really nothing.

Alcohol will be cheaper to buy with more selection in Nevada. Cold beer in grocery stores & gas stations in 3.2% alcohol (about the same for a bud lite, but lower than a normal IPA).

Moab & Springdale will be open, but lots of stores & restaurants in UT close on Sunday's. It helps to have back up snacks in the car is you are planning to stop for food at a little town along the way.

Not sure when you are traveling, but Memorial Day is a total shit show at the UT national parks. get up early and pack patience.

warehouse

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2017, 03:18:08 PM »
Memory foam mattress pad seems bulky to pack if you are flying. When we minivan camp we pick up a roll of eggshell foam padding from home depot. Double it up to cover the sleeping area and throw a sheet on top. Cheep & comfy. Bryce canyons elevation is 9,000. Much higher than Zion. It will still be getting cold at night in May & June.

A few other tips. Fill up water jugs when you can. Inbetween parks or town in southern UT there is really nothing.

Alcohol will be cheaper to buy with more selection in Nevada. Cold beer in grocery stores & gas stations in 3.2% alcohol (about the same for a bud lite, but lower than a normal IPA).

Moab & Springdale will be open, but lots of stores & restaurants in UT close on Sunday's. It helps to have back up snacks in the car is you are planning to stop for food at a little town along the way.

Not sure when you are traveling, but Memorial Day is a total shit show at the UT national parks. get up early and pack patience.

Good tips- thank you! I thought the memory foam thing would be bulky too, until my dad showed up with it on a trip rolled up into a duffel bag and slept on a cloud in his tent.

I did some googling last night and found that sleeping in your car is not allowed at the parks, so I think we'll stick with our booked lodging. We are traveling May 20 through May 28, the Sunday before Memorial Day. We will be leaving the parks and going back to Las Vegas on Saturday before Memorial Day. We tend to go out hiking very early and then spend afternoon resting. A reason we go for the longer strenuous hikes is there is a little less crowding the farther out you go. Last summer while in Yosemite the lower Yosemite Falls path (paved and flat) was an absolute shit show while the Upper Yosemite Falls hike (strenuous with high elevation gains) was populated but very tolerable from a crowd perspective.

Abe Froman

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2017, 04:42:47 PM »
Congrats on that trip. WE just completed last week our first RV trip on our first trip to Grand Canyon and surrounding areas. We landed a 75% off deal through CruiseAmerica with a pickup in Phoenix and a drop off in Henderson, NV. They gave us a week and 1500 miles to play with - so we hit (in this order...)
  • Grand Canyon South Rim - night in the in-Park Camp Ground
  • Mesa Verde, CO - stayed at $30 RV site steps from the entrance
  • Moab / Arches  - Great RV park off Spanish Trail - 2 nights
  • Capitol Reef, UT - great petroglyphs (passed through) on way to ....
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Zion National Park

Although all are great - my favorite by far was Zion NP. Great variety in hiking trails and views, a lot of wildlife around, great walking from in park camping to General Store, Restaurant/Bar.

The great deals my wife got were by monitoring over their websites (RV deal for example they needed to move some of the fleet from one city to another), and calling various campgrounds for last minute cancellations. She had the move of overlapping/double booking to give us travel flexibility if we wanted to stay in one location for a little longer. That worked out well. Be aware that most RV spots will require 48 hrs notice for a cancellation without charge.

kimmarg

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2017, 06:11:00 PM »
I'll make you a deal. I'll find you a nice multi star Marriott hotel near national parks if you can find me a safe clean campground near a major city.

Get the point. Parks are in nature... out from the city. Similarly my quest to camp and not spend money on hotels fails miserably in NYC. either don't go or bite the bullet.


CheapScholar

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2017, 08:49:47 PM »
I'll make you a deal. I'll find you a nice multi star Marriott hotel near national parks if you can find me a safe clean campground near a major city.

Get the point. Parks are in nature... out from the city. Similarly my quest to camp and not spend money on hotels fails miserably in NYC. either don't go or bite the bullet.

I got a good laugh out of this, and I tend to agree.  However, it should be noted there really are notable exceptions.  I could camp for a week, but my DW just isn't a camper.  Some NP lodges are downright luxurious.  Already mentioned was the Majestic in Yosemite.  A couple of the lodges at Glacier and Yellowstone are great.  And, some NPs have private lodging with tvs, restaurants, bars and anything else you might want.  The Stanley Hotel near RMNP comes to mind. 

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #30 on: May 05, 2017, 06:06:44 AM »
Congrats on that trip. WE just completed last week our first RV trip on our first trip to Grand Canyon and surrounding areas. We landed a 75% off deal through CruiseAmerica with a pickup in Phoenix and a drop off in Henderson, NV. They gave us a week and 1500 miles to play with - so we hit (in this order...)
  • Grand Canyon South Rim - night in the in-Park Camp Ground
  • Mesa Verde, CO - stayed at $30 RV site steps from the entrance
  • Moab / Arches  - Great RV park off Spanish Trail - 2 nights
  • Capitol Reef, UT - great petroglyphs (passed through) on way to ....
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Zion National Park

Although all are great - my favorite by far was Zion NP. Great variety in hiking trails and views, a lot of wildlife around, great walking from in park camping to General Store, Restaurant/Bar.

The great deals my wife got were by monitoring over their websites (RV deal for example they needed to move some of the fleet from one city to another), and calling various campgrounds for last minute cancellations. She had the move of overlapping/double booking to give us travel flexibility if we wanted to stay in one location for a little longer. That worked out well. Be aware that most RV spots will require 48 hrs notice for a cancellation without charge.

we often thought of doing this when we FIRE ... for shorter NP trips.  need to find a relocate from san fran to vegas that would be awesome hit up yosemite and death valley on the way

some good deals out there right now but you'd have to go this week.

Rolling out of Phoenix 24 bucks a night man i wish i was fired that 24 bucks a night and 2k miles to seattle seems like it'd be great

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DEN - Denver (Federal Heights) , CO Rate Code: ROA6   05/01/2017   05/17/2017   Large          6   1500
DEN - Denver (Federal Heights) , CO Rate Code: ROA6   05/01/2017   05/17/2017   Standard   6   1500
EVT - Seattle (Everett) , WA              Rate Code: ROA7   05/03/2017   05/17/2017   Standard   7   2000
LAX - Los Angeles (Carson) , CA       Rate Code: ROA6   05/04/2017   05/17/2017   Standard   6   1500
SFO - San Francisco (Newark) , CA   Rate Code: ROA6   05/04/2017   05/17/2017   Large          6   1500
SLC - Salt Lake City, UT                    Rate Code: ROA6   05/01/2017   05/17/2017   Standard   6   1500
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 06:12:49 AM by boarder42 »

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #31 on: May 05, 2017, 06:21:03 AM »
man i want to do that trip to san fran. 

could leave the 10th hit up joshua tree and death valley for one or 2 nights each then hit yosemite for 3-4 nights. 

144 for the rental. man thats a deal.

bognish

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #32 on: May 05, 2017, 08:00:04 AM »
Campgrounds near a major city? Kirby Cove Campground is basically underneath Golden Gate Bridge. There are a couple options on Angle Island State Park which is in the middle of the San Francisco Bay a short ferry ride to Alcatraz, Saucalito or Fishermans Wharf. There's 2 near one of the best tourist cities in the US.

bognish

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #33 on: May 05, 2017, 08:12:23 AM »
A popular hike in Zion is the narrows. When we went most people rented shoes and walking sticks at the entrance. I don't quite understand this and wonder how many regretted the choice at the end of the day. This time of year the water will be cold and fast run off. unless you are very determined you probably won't spend much time wading up the narrows. I think a light pair of old running shoes would be fine and dry out by the time you took the bus back to the entrance station. I think my 4 year old and I did it in flip flops, but we did not go very far upstream past the end of the trail and spent more time making sandcastles.

End of May should be warm in the sun in southern UT, but early morning will be cold at high altitude in Bryce and Grand Canyon. It takes a while before the sun hits the bottom of the canyon at Zion too (and never hits in the narrows). Bring a light jacket and warm hat. Sun block and sun hat for later in the day.

boarder42

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2017, 11:20:05 AM »
100% on the narrows we had hiking sandals but late may is not the time to hike it.  we took a few steps and said we'll be back in warmer months.

warehouse

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2017, 09:47:06 AM »
100% on the narrows we had hiking sandals but late may is not the time to hike it.  we took a few steps and said we'll be back in warmer months.

I did hear the narrows is a great hike but that we will have to catch it another time in a more appropriate season for it.

warehouse

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2017, 09:50:30 AM »
Although all are great - my favorite by far was Zion NP. Great variety in hiking trails and views, a lot of wildlife around, great walking from in park camping to General Store, Restaurant/Bar.

What were some of your favorite hikes in Zion? We are planning the Angels Landing hike but need some more ideas for second day. I know I could simply google search this but I like hearing from this community :)

CheapScholar

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #37 on: May 06, 2017, 10:29:49 AM »
Going to Zion on May 21.  Two nights camping and one night in the lodge.  Any advice appreciated.  I'm planning on Angels Landing, Hidden Canyon and a few others.  Should I not even bother going up near the narrows in May?

Roots&Wings

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2017, 07:43:30 AM »
Following! Great tips here. Planning a Utah parks loop: Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase Escalante, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Canyons of the Ancients, Mesa Verde, Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, The Wave/Coyote Buttes North, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, end in Vegas.

Has anyone successfully gotten a permit for the Wave? Lottery or walk-in? Walk-in sounds logistically challenging since you apparently have to apply at Grand Staircase visitors center, and then visit the Wave the next day.

Sarah Saverdink

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2017, 08:12:20 AM »
We visited Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce a few years ago and absolutely loved it. We flew Southwest, brought our own camping gear (free checked bags), rented a car and cooked most of our meals on a little camping stove. Fantastic trip.

Have you tried looking for bed and breakfast type accommodations? We stayed at one just outside Zion in the middle of our trip (so nice having a real shower and a chance to wash some clothes!) and I believe it was around $125/night, including a hot breakfast in the morning. We've had some great experiences staying at B&Bs over the years and always see what options exist when traveling.

mustachianteacher

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #40 on: May 07, 2017, 03:49:07 PM »
Although all are great - my favorite by far was Zion NP. Great variety in hiking trails and views, a lot of wildlife around, great walking from in park camping to General Store, Restaurant/Bar.

What were some of your favorite hikes in Zion? We are planning the Angels Landing hike but need some more ideas for second day. I know I could simply google search this but I like hearing from this community :)

Check out the hike to Observation Point. You take the shuttle to Weeping Rock (the last stop, I think), and it's 8 miles round trip. I'd say the views are better than Angel's Landing, and there are way fewer people on the trail. At the top, you actually end up looking down on Angel's Landing, which is pretty cool. It's a tough hike, so you need to be in decent shape, but very much worth the effort.

mustachianteacher

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #41 on: May 07, 2017, 03:50:31 PM »
Going to Zion on May 21.  Two nights camping and one night in the lodge.  Any advice appreciated.  I'm planning on Angels Landing, Hidden Canyon and a few others.  Should I not even bother going up near the narrows in May?

I'd skip the Narrows because it will be swift and cold, cold, cold. Check out the hike to Observation Point.

MMMWannaBe

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #42 on: May 07, 2017, 07:35:12 PM »
We did the Grand Loop a few years ago (hitting Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canonyonlands, Capitol Reef, Lake Powell, and Monument Valley.  When in Zion we stayed at Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens.  Not Mustachian by any standard.  It was our favorite lodging of the trip.  The property borders Zion and we could walk to the National Park. 

Here are my notes on what to do at Zion.  As we had young children, we did the Riverside Walk and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Zion:  After looking around at the visitors Center, take the shuttle to the end of the road. You could get off along the way at Court of the Patriarchs, and Weeping Rock. Then take the Riverside trail (same as the Riverside walk) at the last shuttle stop. Back to the lodge/grotto area for lunch. Then try walking up to Scout's lookout. Coming back down that trail take the Kayenta Trail to Emerald Pools Trail; lower is an easy 1/2 mile trail. Take Shuttle on the scenic loop; Inspiration Point, Paria View, or Sunset Point for sunset. 

NinetyFour

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #43 on: May 07, 2017, 07:43:47 PM »
Posting to follow...

pbkmaine

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Re: National Parks &quot;In Comfort&quot;
« Reply #44 on: May 07, 2017, 07:48:24 PM »
Posting to follow...

What? You ENJOY being uncomfortable.

NinetyFour

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Re: National Parks &quot;In Comfort&quot;
« Reply #45 on: May 07, 2017, 07:54:04 PM »
Posting to follow...

What? You ENJOY being uncomfortable.

Ha!

I'm following for the info about hikes, not about the comforts.  :)

kimmarg

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #46 on: May 07, 2017, 08:49:18 PM »
Following! Great tips here. Planning a Utah parks loop: Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase Escalante, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Canyons of the Ancients, Mesa Verde, Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, The Wave/Coyote Buttes North, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, end in Vegas.

Has anyone successfully gotten a permit for the Wave? Lottery or walk-in? Walk-in sounds logistically challenging since you apparently have to apply at Grand Staircase visitors center, and then visit the Wave the next day.

Add Goblin Valley state Park in there between Capitol Reef and Arches!

kimmarg

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2017, 08:51:31 PM »
Campgrounds near a major city? Kirby Cove Campground is basically underneath Golden Gate Bridge. There are a couple options on Angle Island State Park which is in the middle of the San Francisco Bay a short ferry ride to Alcatraz, Saucalito or Fishermans Wharf. There's 2 near one of the best tourist cities in the US.

Neat! Noted for any future trips. I camped in the middle of Long Island a few years back and it was the most ugly and crowded campground I've ever been too. The only thing we left at the site during the day was a folding chair to mark the site as 'taken'... and that was stolen. Hence my skepticism.

bognish

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2017, 02:41:58 PM »
For the Narrows at Zion you start on a paved path walking upstream. Eventually the path ends and you walk up the stream. Even if the water is cold and you can't go far, its still a nice walk up into the canyon. It stay nice and cool since there is lots of shade from the Canyon walls.

For someone else who is heading to Capital Reef, Goblin Valley is a nice state park close by. Just out of Goblin Valley is Little Wildhorse Canyon on BLM land. This is the classic beginner slot canyon. no technical skills needed and you can access it in any rental car.

Don't go anywhere near a canyon, river bed or dirt road if there is any chance of rain.

mistershankly

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Re: National Parks "In Comfort"
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2017, 06:06:01 PM »
We also did escape campervans out of vegas on our Utah nation park trip my favorite vacation and I'd consider myself not a fan of camping but that trip is my favorite trip i've been on and i've been on ALOT.

I'm visiting Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon in a few weeks. What were your favorite things you did on your trip?? We are flying in and out of Vegas.

Re: park accomodations.. bite the bullet. In my experience it's better to have best proximity to park, preferably inside park, than deal commute from nicer accomodations. That means camping or motel like rooms.

Angels landing hike is awesome. Wish we'd had more time in Bryce didn't see as much as we wanted.  You should go to antelope canyon on your way to the grand canyon. It's amazing. Also hit up horseshoe bend by lake Powell. Horseshoe bend and antelope canyon were highlites around there.  Moab is probably my favorite place in Utah. With arches canyonlands and the Colorado.

+1 - and you haven't visited Bryce unless you see Fairyland. No accommodations in Bryce or Zion that I am aware of (other than camping), but I could be wrong.

+1 on all recommendations so far.  While it's not inside the park, there is a beautiful buffalo preserve about 10 miles outside the north entrance to Zion called Zion Mountain Ranch... https://www.zmr.com  I remember the cost being reasonable, and the accommodations were above average.  I would definitely stay there again.