If you are a traveler who likes a city and outdoors experience, look no further than these National Park and city pairings. Our partners at National Parks Revealed share six cities that are conveniently located near some incredible parks so you can get the best of both worlds in one amazing trip.
PHOENIX/SEDONA + GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Whether you want to be in a bustling metropolis or relax in a smaller city, Phoenix and Sedona are both driving distance from Grand Canyon National Park. If you’re traveling with children, stay at The Phoenician. It has nine pools (including a 165-foot water slide!), tennis courts, a golf course, and so much more. In Sedona relax at the Enchantment Resort . It is a short 15-minute drive from Sedona and has many casita options that are perfect for the family!
The Phoenix/Scottsdale area is around three hours from the park while Sedona is around two. While you could do a day trip, we recommend 2-3 days in the park. National Parks Revealed will design an itinerary that gets you away from the crowds and to some of the lesser-known areas. And if you want a helicopter tour, a mule ride to the bottom, or a rafting trip, they’ve got you covered.
LAS VEGAS + ZION & BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARKS
Oh, Las Vegas – the city that lets you go to Rome, Paris, and New York all in a day. From casinos to shows to shopping, Sin City can keep you entertained all hours of the day. The Mandarin Oriental offers a more intimate experience than many of the large hotels. It has an amazing spa and the bar has one of the best views in the city. The Bellagio is in a prime location on the Strip and attracts people with its grand lobby boasting an incredible display of Dale Chihuly art and its famed fountain show. The fountain-facing rooms allow you to watch the water show from the comfort of your room.
After your Las Vegas adventure, do a complete 180 visiting Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Begin with Zion, only around 2.5 hours from Las Vegas. The gorgeous colors will be a much appreciated break for your eyes after all the neon lights! Next, head to Bryce Canyon (a little over an hour away) where red rock formations known as hoodoos dot the landscape. National Parks Revealed can show you the best of both parks in one amazing trip.
PALM SPRINGS + JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK
For decades people have flocked to Palm Springs to get away from the stress of everyday life and relax. The La Quinta Resort & Club is a top resort in the area where you can truly unwind. With 360 days of sunshine, you’ll love lounging by the pool or playing golf at one of the five courses.
Less than an hour away from Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park is perfect for a day trip. Spend time simply taking in the beauty of this park. It may seem sparse at first, but as you stop and take in your surroundings, you’ll notice the details and diversity of this desert park.
DENVER + ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Often used as the launching pad for outdoor activities in Colorado, the Mile High City is worth visiting for a few nights. Denver has a thriving art and culinary scene – not to mention FOUR sports teams. If you’re into craft beer, this is the place to be. Denver is often called the “Napa Valley of Beer” and boasts over 100 breweries. Use the Ritz-Carlton Denver as your home base while you explore all the Denver has to offer.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a short 1.5 hour drive from Denver and features the gorgeous outdoor setting that brings people to the state. Though many peaks are over 12,000 feet, the park has plenty of accessible trails as well as scenic drives. Your National Parks Revealed expert guide can plan an itinerary that matches your skill level and interests so you can get the most out of your Rocky Mountain National Park experience.
SEATTLE + MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
Seattle has a reputation for rain-filled days and grunge music, but this city has grown to feature so much more. First timers will love visiting the iconic Pike Place Market (walking distance from the Four Seasons Seattle ), the first Starbucks, and Seattle’s art and pop culture museums. Then, see the city like a local. Get lost in the eclectic neighborhoods wandering through boutiques and record stores and dining in organic restaurants, and enjoy Seattle’s outdoor space and nearby islands.
During your Seattle visit, you’ll no doubt see Mount Rainier standing tall in the distance, and in less than a three-hour drive, you can see it up close and personal. Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range, is a large active stratovolcano that last erupted in the 1840s. Summer activities in the park include hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, and boating, and winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, and sledding.
SAN FRANCISCO + YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
San Francisco is a playground for travelers of all kind, from families to couples to friends to solo travelers. Beyond popular sites like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and Fisherman’s Wharf, your Brownell Advisor can help you discover authentic spots and fabulous restaurants. With easy access to Fishermen’s Wharf, the Hyde St. Cable Car line, the Cannery, and the many shops and restaurants at Ghiradelli Square, the Fairmont Heritage Place is ideal for families.
Once you’ve had your fill of San Francisco, head to Yosemite National Park with its awe-inspiring valleys, waterfalls, rivers, and peaks. John Muir wrote that “No temple made with hands can compare to Yosemite,” and after your trip you will no doubt agree. National Parks Revealed will take you beyond the hot spots like Yosemite Valley to trails, waterfalls, and lakes away from the crowds where you can soak in the beauty of this park.Special thanks to Sullivan Peraino and Mark Campbell for the Bryce Canyon photo and Yosemite photo in header.