Mistakes to Avoid in National Parks, According to a Former Park Ranger

8. Don’t assume that staying in the national park will be more expensive than hotels and cabins outside the park. But be prepared to book accommodations far in advance.

The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park in California.

The Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park in California.

Michael Macor/San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

Be it a campground, cabin, or hotel, national parks across the country offer a wide variety of accommodations for visitors.

And according to Haraden, many of the accommodations are reasonably priced. For example, a room on the Lake Crescent Lodge in Olympic National Park in Washington starts at $108, according to the lodge’s website.

“Everyone thinks they are more expensive than shelter outside the park, but that’s not necessarily true,” he said. “The park service wants to make them available to everyone, but you have to book them far in advance.”

For example, in high season, The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite can fill up months and even years in advance, Haraden said. It’s one of the National Park Service’s more expensive hotels, with rooms starting at $518, according to the hotel’s website.

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