DALLAS, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As National Park Week approaches, Hotels.com® and The Active Times have teamed up to provide travelers with a guide to where to stay and what to do in some of America's most scenic parks. Travelers will be able to enjoy free entry to all 401 U.S. National Parks – covering more than 84 million acres – from April 22 – 26, 2013.
"National parks are one of America's true treasures, offering visitors unrivaled access to some of the country's most breath-taking views and are a truly unique way to experience the outdoors," said Taylor L. Cole, APR, travel expert for Hotels.com. "Adventure seekers can choose from a myriad of activities that range from mountain biking and rafting to hiking and climbing, but there are also plenty of options for those who just want to relax. Whether you want to rejuvenate at a natural hot spring or eat an exotic meat dish, Hotels.com can help find the perfect lodge or hotel to make your trip a complete success."
Arches National Park (Utah)
Where to Stay? The Inca Inn (4.0 Hotels.com Guest Review rating), a short drive to Arches National Park and located in downtown Moab, has nightly rates starting at $50 and offers complimentary wireless internet, a seasonal outdoor pool and barbecue grills.
What to do? The best-known feature is almost certainly the world-renowned Delicate Arch (the same glorious hunk of red sandstone rock featured on Utah license plates). Carved over the centuries by erosion and weathering that continues even today, the arch may not be around forever, so you best see it while you still can. A fairly easy 3-mile roundtrip hike—go at dawn or dusk to avoid crowds and the heat of the day—gives the postcard-worthy view of Delicate framing the distant La Sal Mountains. Prefer two-wheeled transport? Moab's famous slick-rock trails wind through the desert right outside the park, and are perfect for mountain biking.
Yosemite National Park (California)
Where to Stay? Located inside the park, The Ahwahnee (4.2 guest rating) offers four-star luxury at the foot of Yosemite Village and some of the park's most iconic locations, such as Glacier Point, Half Dome, and Upper Yosemite Falls. The Ahwahnee Dining Room hosts a number of culinary events throughout the year.
What to do? There are two main reasons America's second national park was created in 1890: to protect the pristine views of Yosemite Valley hemmed in by towering granite cliffs; and to keep the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias intact. Take a short, 2.2-mile roundtrip hike into the heart of the Mariposa Grove, where walking among the hundreds of 200-foot-tall sequoias—the biggest living things on earth—reminds us of how small we are in the grand scheme of nature. A bit of extra effort—a six mile roundtrip—will get you to the hushed confines of the upper grove and away from the crowds.
Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve (Alaska)
Where to Stay? Located minutes from the ocean, Gustavus Inn at Glacier Bay (5.0 guest rating), a quaint bed and breakfast, offers complimentary daily breakfast and many guests rave about the locally-sourced, fresh cuisine.
What to do? Sprawling over 3.3 million acres of toothy mountains, temperate rainforest and deep fjords, Glacier Bay is an Alaskan frontier playground. For the casual visitor, though, the most accessible way to get out into Glacier Bay and see the massive tidewater glaciers—rivers of ice that flow down to water's edge from high in the Fairweather Mountains—is to take a day-long boat tour that departs from Bartlett Cove. The boats cruise 130 miles through the park's rich waters, spotting sea lions, puffins and whales, making brief island stops and, at last, getting you close enough to hear the dramatic thundering of building-sized chunks of ice calving from the glaciers and dropping into the ocean. For a true close-up, try a guided kayak trip.
Acadia National Park (Maine)
Where to Stay? Walking distance from Bar Harbor, the Primrose Inn (4.9 guest rating) is in close proximity to Abbe Museum, Bar Harbor Whale Watching, Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain. One Hotels.com guest review raved the hotel goes "out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable – CD explanations of the area, library of guide books, maps galore and ready advice."
What to do? Acadia represents the very best of Maine's rugged coastline its granite peaks and rocky points affording views out into the endless blue of the Atlantic, where humpback whales spout and lobstermen lower their traps. For one of the best views, head up the steep but rewarding Precipice Trail, a hike that incorporates stone steps and iron-rung ladders up a cliff-face to the 1,058-foot summit of Champlain Mountain. The top offers sweeping views of Frenchman's Bay and the Porcupine Islands. For an easygoing visit to a top-secret corner of the park, take a 45-minute ferry ride from Stonington to isolated Isle au Haut, where 18 miles of empty hiking trails await lucky day-trippers.
Glacier National Park (Montana)
Where to Stay? The Lodge at Whitefish Lake (4.7 guest rating), located close to Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort and Glacier National Park, offers a full-service spa, onsite recreation in the winter like snowshoeing and ice skating, and in the summer hiking and biking trails and kayaking.
What to do? Straddling the far northern end of the American Rockies, Glacier is, aptly, home to some of the Lower 48's last remaining glaciers. There are 25 in all, and their meltwaters fill pristine lakes and feed alpine meadows that explode with colorful wildflowers through early summer. For a highlight tour of the park, cyclists can take a quad-burning ride 3,000 feet up Going-to-the-Sun Road to the crown of Logan Pass. Want to go deeper into the park? A day-hike into the rugged-yet-spectacular Granite Park Chalet will introduce you to the local bighorns and take you past gushing waterfalls.
Megan Tyrie – Finn Partners for Hotels.com
Phone: (212) 715-5815
Taylor L. Cole, APR
Hotels.com North America
Phone: (469) 335-8442
Tim McGeever, Spanfeller Media Group, Inc.
Public Relations Manager
Phone: (646)-459-0604 ext 561
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About The Active Times
The Active Times, launched in June 2012, is already the fastest growing website of its kind and a top 10 website within its category. The Active Times is the world's paramount source of authoritative, inspiring, and enlightening content for living the active, adventurous life. Comprised of original content and video from award-winning editors, industry insiders and the user community, features range across the site's multiple channels: Run & Race, Bike, Hike & Climb, Water, Snow, Adventure, Travel, Gear, and Fitness. The Active Times also produces much-anticipated reports including the Best Adventure Travel Trips of 2013, The National Parks Showdown: U.S. vs. The World, and The Active Times 50. Led by editorial director John Rasmus, a three-time National Magazine Award for General Excellence winner, The Active Times is the second property of Spanfeller Media Group, founded by Jim Spanfeller. Visit The Active Times on Facebook; follow us on Twitter.