Top 10 National Park Lodges

A visit to one of these lodges can change your vacation from good to unforgettable.

Best new wilderness escape: Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge

Why we love it: Think of Kenai Fjords as the best of Alaska compressed into 1,046 square miles (roughly a quarter of the size of L.A. County). Icy blue fjords? Check. Glaciers? Check. Whales, bears, sea otters? Check, check, and check.

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Best place for comfort food: Wuksachi Lodge, Sequoia

Wuksachi Lodge serves meat loaf and pork tenderloin in the modern/rustic dining room.

Best place for a drink: Farley Bar at Cavallo Point Lodge

Why we love it: Cozy, convivial Farley Bar, in one of Cavallo Point Lodge's old army buildings, knows its way around a negroni. Food runs from ceviche to house-baked breads, and the Golden Gate Bridge view from some window tables will lift your heart.

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Most romantic: Kalaloch Lodge, Olympic

Why we love it: Long beach strolls, skies that veer from sun-splashed to stormy, and tempestuous waves-that's right, Washington's Kalaloch is like a college romance. Except here you can take a break from it all with a (legal) drink at the sweet main lodge. The rustic 1920s Bluff Cabins, where weathered fir abounds, hold heart-stopping views of the Pacific.

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Best lawn party: Wawona Hotel, Yosemite

Have a Saturday afternoon barbecue on the lawn of Yosemite's Wawona Hotel.

Best for families: Roosevelt Lodge, Yellowstone

Why we love it: Tucked away near the park's northern boundary, Roosevelt is what summer camp should be, with Lincoln Log cabins and Wild West activities like horseback and stagecoach rides.

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Best use of mules: Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon

Why we love it: The only way to get to the ranch, an oasis at the bottom of the canyon, is by river raft, a steep 9.6-mile trek, or a mule ride. Mules can also haul your duffel if you hike. Mail? Delivered by mule.

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Best place to have a meal: The Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite

Why we love it: Yes, the Ahwahnee typically books up a year in advance. Too hard to get a room? Fine. But you can still visit the dining room, which, with its lofty beamed ceiling and views of the valley, is one of the most beautiful public spaces in the world.

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Best time warp: Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Georgian architecture, string quartets in the lobby-the Lake Yellowstone Hotel is like Jane Austen in the Rockies.

Biggest pain and gain: Granite Park Chalet, Glacier

Why we love it: You hike six hours along the top of the Rockies to get to this 1914 Montana chalet, but they're awe-inducing hours. Life is simple here: You cook your own food in the kitchen, but you get a private bedroom and can rent linen and blankets if you don't want to lug your sleeping bag.

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