Photos: America's national parks

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  1. Acadia

    Acadia National Park in Maine boasts the highest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic Coast and was the first national park east of the Mississippi River. Visitors beware: temperatures can vary 40 degrees -- from 45 degrees to 85 degrees in the summer and from 30 degrees to 70 degrees in the spring and fall. (Gareth Mccormack / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Rocky Mountain

    Bear Lake, with mountainside aspens changing colors in mid-autumn, is one of the popular attractions in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. (Universal Images Group via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Badlands

    The climate in South Dakota's Badlands National Park is extreme. Temperatures range from minus 40 degrees in the dead of winter to 116 degrees in the height of summer. Visitors are drawn to the park's rugged beauty as well as the area's rich fossil beds. (Mark Newman / Lonely Planet Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Yosemite

    One of the nation's first wilderness parks, Yosemite is known for its waterfalls, scenic valleys, meadows and giant sequoias. (Robert Galbraith / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. North Cascades National Park

    The North Cascades National Park complex offers something for everyone: Monstrous peaks, deep valleys, hundreds of glaciers and phenominal waterfalls. The complex includes the park, Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. (David Mcnew / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Zion

    This spectacular corner of southern Utah is a masterpiece of towering cliffs, deep red canyons, mesas, buttes and massive monoliths. (Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Redwood

    Created in 1968, Redwood National Park is located in Northern California. Today, visitors to the national park can enjoy the massive trees as well as an array of wildlife. (David Gotisha / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Joshua Tree

    Joshua Tree National Park is located in southeast California. The area was made a national monument in 1936 and a national park in 1994. Outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Great Smoky Mountains

    Straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina border, Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses more than 800 square miles in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Visitors can expect mild winters and hot, humid summers, though temperatures can differ drastically as the park's elevation ranges from 800 feet to more than 6,600 feet. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Arches

    More than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, many of them recognizable worldwide, are preserved in Utah's Arches National Park. Temperatures can reach triple digits in the summer and can drop to below freezing in the winter. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Grand Teton

    The Snake River flows through Grand Teton National Park, and the jagged Teton Range rises above the sage-covered valley floor. Daytime temperatures during summer months are frequently in the 70s and 80s, and afternoon thunderstorms are common. (Anthony P. Bolante / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Haleakala

    Visitors watch the sun rise at 10,000 feet in Haleakala National Park in Maui, Hawaii. If weather permits, visitors at the top of the mountain can see three other Hawaiian islands. (The Washington Post via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Grand Canyon

    Grand Canyon National Park is perhaps the most recognizable national park. Nearly 5 million visitors view the mile-deep gorge every year, formed in part by erosion from the Colorado River. The North and South rims are separated by a 10-mile-wide canyon. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Yellowstone

    Yellowstone National Park, America's first national park, was established in 1872. The park spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Grizzly bears, wolves, bison and elk live in the park. It is well known for Old Faithful and other geothermal features. (Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Mount Rainier

    Glaciers. Rainforests. Hiking trails. Mount Rainier National Park, located in Washington state, offers incredible scenery and a diverse ecology. The park aims to be carbon neutral by 2016. (National Park Service) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Hawaii Volcanoes

    Two of the world's most active volcanoes can be found within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In 1980, the national park was designated an International Biosphere Reserve; in 1987, it was added as a World Heritage Site. (David Jordan / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Everglades

    Everglades National Park covers the nation's largest subtropical wilderness. It is also a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance. Visitors to the park can camp, boat, hike and find many other ways to enjoy the outdoors. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Glacier

    A view from atop the Grinnell Glacier Overlook trail in Glacier National Park. With more than 700 miles of trails the park is known for its glaciers, forests, alpine meadows and beautiful lakes. (Matt McKnight / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Bryce Canyon

    Located in southwestern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its distinctive geological structures called "hoodoos." (Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Crater Lake

    The brilliant blue Crater Lake, located in southern Oregon, was formed when Mount Mazama, standing at 12,000 feet, collapsed 7,700 years ago after a massive eruption. Crater Lake is one of the world's deepest lakes at 1,943 feet. (David Gotisha / msnbc.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Olympic

    Washington state's Olympic National Park offers visitors beaches on the Pacific Ocean, glacier-capped mountain peaks and everything in between. Keep the weather in mind when visiting, though, as roads and facilities can be affected by wind, rain and snow any time of year. (National Park Service) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Sequoia and Kings Canyon

    A woman stands among a grove of a Giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park in Central California. The trees, which are native to California's Sierra Nevada Mountains, are the world's largest by volume, reaching heights of 275 feet and a ground level girth of 109 feet. The oldest known Giant Sequoia based on its ring count is 3,500 years old. (Mark Ralston / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Denali

    Alaska's Denali National Park spans 6 million acres and includes the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, North America's tallest peak. Many park visitors try to catch a glimpse of the "big five" -- moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves and grizzly bear. (National Park Service) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Kenai Fjords National Park

    The National Park Service considers the 8.2-mile round-trip on Harding Icefield Trail in Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park to be strenuous, saying hikers gain about 1,000 feet of elevation with each mile. (National Park Service via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Death Valley

    California's Death Valley encompasses more than 3.3 million acres of desert wilderness. In 1849, a group of gold rush pioneers entered the Valley, thinking it was a shortcut to California. After barely surviving the trek across the area, they named the spot "Death Valley." In the 1880s, native peoples were pushed out by mining companies who sought the riches of gold, silver, and borax. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Wind Cave

    Bison graze in Wind Cave National Park in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota. Millions of bison were slaughtered by white hunters who pushed them to near-extinction by the late 1800s. Recovery programs have brought the bison numbers up to nearly 250,000. (David McNew / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Canyonlands

    The Lower Basins Zone is outlined by the white rim edge as seen from the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Shenandoah

    Fall colors blanket the Shenandoah National Park, drawing tourists to Skyline Drive to view the scenery. (Karen Bleier / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 6/30/2009 11:15:15 AM ET 2009-06-30T15:15:15

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: September 30

The deal
Get off the grid and into the wild this summer. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel very far for a scenic retreat in the great outdoors. From thunderous waterfalls to picturesque canyons and starry skies, America’s national parks give you a taste of the wilderness, but also offer some great lodges right on the grounds so you don’t necessarily have to rough it. We’ve rounded up five summer specials at rustic cabins and lodges in Shenandoah, Denali, Yosemite, and more from only $128/night. All packages are for summer travel and fill up fast – so book now before you hit the road.

Denali National Park, Alaska: Summer Rates from $128/Night
Denali National Park and Preserve is Alaska’s foremost attraction, home to wondrous alpine scenery and majestic Mount McKinley. Encompassing some 6 million acres, the park is marked by tundra, glaciers, and abundant wildlife like grizzlies, moose, caribou, wolves, Dall sheep, and much more. Consider this summer special from Denali Park Resorts: Book now and save 50 percent off at popular resorts like Grand Denali Lodge, McKinley Chalet Resort, Denali Bluffs Lodge, or McKinley Village Lodge. Rates through mid-September start at just $128/night.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia: Midweek Escape from $129/Night
Tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah is an easy 90-minute drive from Washington, D.C., yet feels remarkably remote. At Big Meadows Lodge, instead of watching TV, guests watch deer and black bears wander through the nearby meadow for which the lodge is named. Close by, the historic Skyland Resort offers traditional wood-furnished guestrooms and a pet-friendly policy.

Beautiful photos of national parksTogether, these lodges tout some 500 miles of hiking trails and scenic backcountry byways. Book online for the affordable Midweek Escape at either property, with rates as low as $129/night through September 24. This special also includes breakfast for two and a $30 gas voucher.

Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming: Mountain Package from $180 
Situated in Western Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton National forest comprises 3.4 million acres of pristine mountain wilderness. With its picturesque location high above Jackson Hole, the Togwotee Mountain Lodge provides unlimited access to this remote and mountainous backcountry region.

National park secretsPlenty of reasonably-priced guided activities are available directly from the lodge, including hot air balloon rides, fishing excursions, and mountain-biking tours. For a great-value summer adventure, we recommend the resort’s Mountain Wanderer’s activity package. Highlights include an 8-mile whitewater rafting trip, 2-hour horseback ride, 2-day fishing pole rental, plus tickets to the Jackson Hole Rodeo from just $180 per person. You’ll have to tack on accommodations, but guests who book the activity package save 20% off lodging. Woodsy-style guestrooms start at $199/night in summer.

Olympic National Park, Washington: Family Package from $199/Night
Just 85 miles northwest of Seattle, this gem of a park includes ocean beaches, forests, valleys, glacier-capped peaks, and a wide variety of animals from elk to grizzlies to playful sea lions. Surrounded by more than 632,000 acres of temperate rainforest and picturesque lowland lakes, the Lake Quinault Lodge is a great place to stay with plenty of opportunities for mountain biking and hiking on 15 well-maintained nature trails. For a memorable summer getaway with your entire clan, consider the resort’s Family Adventure package. Highlights include one nights’ lodging, two 1-hour boat rentals, and enough s’mores for the whole family. Rates start at $199 through September 30, based on a family of four traveling together.

Yosemite National Park, California: Summer Romance from $300/Night
Yosemite is one of the oldest and most popular national parks in the U.S. and it’s easy to see why. This must-see destination for nature lovers has over 800 miles of hiking trails meandering through postcard-perfect sequoia forests, majestic mountain peaks, and surging falls. Situated on the park’s western border, the historic Evergreen Lodge is ideal for a little romance in Yosemite, with secluded mountain cabins surrounded by lush green meadows and snowcapped peaks. Try the resort’s 2-night Summer Romance package, priced at $300/night. It includes a stay in a newly-built traditional cabin with a working fireplace, a welcome basket and bottle of wine, daily breakfast, and a three-course dinner for two, plus packed trail lunches and more. The offer is available through September 10, but be sure to book soon for best availability.

The dollars
Based on double occupancy, unless otherwise noted. Taxes and fees are additional.

The catch
Summer is high-season for U.S. National Parks. Book your lodge stay early for best availability.

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