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Airbnb and Vrbo; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, most international borders are still closed for tourism, but here is some good news for Americans: we live in an exceptionally beautiful country. From coast to coast (plus Hawaii and Alaska), the National Park Service protects over 50 million acres of land, all of which are open for public recreation.
Among the parks, you can find exceptional wonders from the red rock mesas of Zion National Park in Utah to the snow-capped peaks of Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee.
Anytime is a good time to pay a visit to a national park, but the pandemic is inspiring even more travelers to use this time to get acquainted with our national backyard, especially since being outdoors in wide-open spaces, as opposed to crowded cities, is especially appealing for social distancing.
The best way to keep your distance from other travelers who may be visiting the national parks is to book an entire vacation home for yourself. Experts consider vacation rentals to be one of the safest types of accommodations, especially with platforms rolling out new sanitation standards for hosts and owners. This is because you’re less likely to risk infection in a private home than in a shared space such as a large hotel since the virus is mainly transmitted via respiratory droplets from person-to-person interactions.
If you’re wondering about the difference between policies from platform to platform, start with this handy guide.
However, be mindful that without a vaccine, there’s no guarantee of safety right now, even with proper precautions. We always recommend following state guidelines and regulations from organizations like the CDC.
Also, keep in mind that just like states, the National Park Service has its own phased approach to reopening the parks. Check here for the most recent information, and consider that some states have a mandatory quarantine in place for anyone arriving from out of state.
Still want to stay in a hotel? Start here:
We rounded up highly-rated vacation rentals across Airbnb and Vrbo located in some of the country’s most frequently visited national parks across the US. We selected the best home in each area based on the following criteria:
- Listings are for the entire home or apartment to avoid interaction with owners or other guests, in line with recommended COVID-19 precautions.
- Each property is priced between $100 to $358 per night to start, depending on the season.
- All are top-rated Airbnb and Vrbo listings, located as close to the park as possible, and have an average rating of 4.9 or higher.
- Each property has a variety of exceptional amenities, outstanding scenery, or both.
Bear in mind that rates will vary depending on the season and summer tends to be more expensive. Cleaning and service fees may also inflate the nightly rate.
Depending on the listing, public facilities that are normally a perk of the property may be unavailable because of COVID, so be sure to ask the host about this before you book.