Lonely Planet Writer

Cheapest times of year for accommodation while visiting US national parks

If you’re looking to establish the best times to visit major US national parks, a study setting out some tips might steer you in the right direction. The data analysts at travel website Priceline looked at some of the most popular parks from 2017-2018 to determine the best times to visit when nearby towns offer the best hotel rates. Here are its findings.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Photo by Crystal Brindle/500px

Peak season: At the nearby town of Estes Park, lodging was most expensive in June and July with average daily hotel rates soaring to US$180 (€160) or more.
Off season: Those looking to explore nature while saving some money should plan to visit during November through January, as average daily hotel rates went as low as US$100 (€89) then.

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park in the US. Image by ©Alexey Suloev/Shutterstock

Peak season: At the nearby towns of Kingman, Flagstaff, and Page, lodging was most expensive April through June. Regardless of travel time, Page was the most expensive with an average daily rate of US$211 (€188).
Off season: Travel from November through January to score the most affordable rates in the three nearby cities. Average daily rates went as low as US$75 (€67).
Best value city: Across all the cities, Kingman was the most affordable place to stay regardless of month with an average daily rate of US$75 (€67).

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, Utah. Photo by Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Peak season: At the nearby towns of Hurricane and St. George, lodging was most expensive February through April with average daily rates as high as US$116 (€103).
Off season: If you’re looking to score a deal, travel during December and January as average daily rates fell to around US$80 (€71).
Best value city: Between both cities, Hurricane was a more affordable place to stay regardless of month with an average daily rate of $94 (€83).

Great Smoky Mountains

The Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Image by ©Sean Pavone/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Peak season: At the nearby towns of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Cherokee and Bryson City, lodging was most expensive during July and October with average daily rates over US$120 (€106).
Off season: Travel in January or February to score the most affordable rates in these cities as average daily rates fell between US$86 (€76) to US$100 (€89).
Best value city: Across all the cities, Pigeon Forge was the most affordable place to stay regardless of month with an average daily rate of US$109 (€97).

Yellowstone National Park

Pelican Creek in the Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Image by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Peak season: At the nearby cities of Cody, Gardiner, Island Park and Jackson, the most expensive time to travel was June and July with an average daily rate of US$220 (€196).
Off season: The least expensive time to travel was November and December with a typical average daily rate of US$133 (€118).
Best value city: Across all the cities, Cody was the least expensive option across both years with an average daily rate of US$156 (€139).

Denali National Park

Bull Caribou (Rangifer Tarandus) On Tundra In Early Fall With Antlers In Velvet Denali National Park And Preserve .
A bull caribou in Denali National Park. Image by ©Michael DeYoung / Design Pics/Getty Images/Design Pics RF

Peak season: At nearby cities Anchorage, Seward and Healy, the most expensive time to travel was June through August with average daily rate upwards of US$234 (€208).
Off season: Explore the tundra, spruce forest and glaciers when it’s most affordable during November and December where average daily rates start at US$95 (€84).
Best value city: Across all cities, Anchorage was the least expensive city to stay with an average daily rate of $124 (€110).