Adventure Travel, North America

July 2, 2024

Top 3 Luxury National Park Trips

There are more than 60 National Parks in the United States containing beautiful mountains, vast meadows, staggering rock formations, and more natural beauty than you can imagine. And, thanks to the work of the NPS, it’s easy to visit most of these parks without having to sleep in the woods or hike miles into the wilderness. A luxury National Park trip combines stunning natural beauty with upscale destinations, charming small towns, and incredible cuisine. Take a peek at three of our favorite National Parks for upscale travelers.

1. Acadia National Park – Maine

The schooler Margaret Todd in the Mount Desert Narrows off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine, during a beautiful colorful sunset.
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

Best Time To Visit: Mid-September to Early October

Coastal Maine has been an elite retreat since the early days of the American vacation. The first National Park east of the Mississippi River and remains the only National Park in the Northeastern United States. It spans Mount Desert Island, the tip of the Schoondic Peninsula, and part of 16 outlying islands, including Isle au Haut.

One of the park’s standout features is the network of Carriage Roads, funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. This scenic network of quiet paths is best experienced in one of the park’s exclusive horse and buggy carriages. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time.

The Bubbles, two famous mountains near Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park, are cloaked in morning fog at sunrise. Large pink granite rocks sit in the lake in the foreground.
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

Hikers will find trails to suit all levels, from the thrilling Beehive with its iron-rung ladders to the ocean cliffs and bald-top summits of the moderate coastline trails. Easy hikes include the walk around Jordan Pond, the Ocean Path, and the appropriately named Wonderland Trail.

Within the park, landmarks like Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, and Jordan Pond stand out. For a special treat, book a brunch at the Jordan Pond House and enjoy their famous popovers. If you’re an early riser, catch the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, the first place in the U.S. to see the dawn each day.

The outdoor patio at Stewmans Lobster Pound in Bar Harbor, Maine, filled with people standing and sitting during a sunset meal.
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

Bar Harbor, the biggest town on Mount Desert Island, offers a mix of luxury hotels with ocean views and charming bed and breakfasts. The town is walkable, with shuttles to major park attractions. It’s one of the best foodie towns in the country, especially for seafood lovers. Dine dockside at lobster shacks like Stewmans and Rose Eden, or indulge in seasonal, farm-to-table dishes. Be sure to save room for Blueberry Pie!

2. Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming

Sunset over Jackson Lake with Mount Moran and the Teton Range in Grand Teton National Park
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

Best Time To Visit: Early June or Late August – Mid-September

Grand Teton National Park is a picture of the American West, with its mountaintops and crystal-clear alpine lakes that invite everyone to experience nature. The Tetons sit in Wyoming’s northwest corner, below Yellowstone National Park and above the historic town of Jackson.

The Jackson Hole Valley can be viewed as three separate areas – Teton Village, at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Teton National Park, and the town of Jackson itself. Teton Village offers a peaceful retreat, while Jackson’s historic hotels are close to dining, shopping, and the iconic Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

The park was established with help from John D. Rockefeller, Jr, who funded much of the region’s conservation efforts. These efforts extended to historic architecture, like the famous Moulton barns on Mormon Row, and the Cunningham Cabin at the site of the former Bar Flying U Ranch. Today, the barns on Mormon Row are among the most famous in the country, and horses still reside in the open meadows behind the Cunningham Cabin.

The famous Moulton Barn on Mormon Row in Grand Teton National Park at sunrise, with the Grand Tetons in the background and tall grass in the foreground.
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

Wildlife enthusiasts enjoy looking for grizzly bears and black bears, moose, foxes, wolves, and bison. Outfitters in the valley offer guided tours with expert spotters in private safari vehicles. Tours are also offered on horseback or raft, with the whitewater rapids of the Snake River drawing in adventure seekers.

A bull moose standing in the water at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park at sunrise. The Tetons are illuminated and the moose is looking off toward the trees in the middle of the photo.
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

There are unlimited ways to explore the outdoors around Grand Teton National Park. Easy hikes like the walk around Jenny Lake and the tucked-away Taggart Lake offer unforgettable views. Harder hikes will take you into Cascade Canyon, or into the mountains to see Amiptheater, Surprise, and Delta Lakes. 

The park borders Yellowstone, connected by the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway. Consider a day trip or stay in Gardiner, Montana, or Yellowstone’s historic hotels to extend your luxury National Park trip.

3. Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona

The Grand Canyon from Mather Point at sunrise
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

Best Time To Visit: March through May

Arizona’s Grand Canyon, a symbol of the Southwest, offers serene desert landscapes and endless adventure. Use it as a base for an epic journey, staying at a historic hotel or riding a mule to Phantom Ranch for a canyon stay. Nearby Williams offers a unique railroad experience, and Flagstaff is just an hour away.

The Grand Canyon is ideal for stargazers, as the dark desert skies are rarely cloudy with millions of stars on display. It’s also a fine spot for travelers who wish to take it easy, as many of the iconic sights can be seen along the 23-mile Desert View Drive.

The Grand Canyon from Mather Point at sunrise
(Photo: Kim Magaraci)

Wake up early to catch sunrise at Mather Point for a view that will take your breath away, and then enjoy. You’ll see Duck On A Rock, Grandview Point, the Tusayan Pueblo Site, and Desert View Point. At Desert View, the historic Watchtower offers panoramic views for miles. 

Sedona – the mystical town known for healing and wellness – is just two hours away. Spend a day or two at the Canyon and then head south to immerse yourself in the magic of the red rocks. Arizona is truly a natural wonderland!

Two hours north, Amangiri offers a desert escape like no other on Earth. This otherworldly resort is located in Canyon Point, Utah, with close proximity to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. It’s also not far from Bryce and Zion National Parks. It’s a perfect stop on a National Parks road trip.

Ready To Plan A Luxury National Park Trip?

When you’re looking to see the most incredible scenery in America, reach out to Winkaffe Global Travel. Our National Parks expert Kim Magaraci can put together a full customized itinerary that balances luxury, fine dining, and unforgettable experiences in nature. It’s time to plan your dream trip!

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