The National Park Service’s 100th birthday is this week. But don’t worry about getting them a present — they’re the ones being generous. Between today and Sunday the 28th, entrance to every single one of the NPS’s 412 parks will be totally and completely free. Which means that it’s the perfect time to get out and take a long weekend trip to that park you’ve always been meaning to visit.
Where will you stay after hitting the trails? Sure, you could camp out — but if you don’t have a site reserved, you’re pretty much out of luck for the rest of the summer. We have another suggestion: stay in style and in budget by renting out a room in a hostel. Your muscles will thank you after a long night of sleep on a cozy mattress, and you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to get back out there again. Maybe you’ll even find a hiking buddy or two.
Our friends over at Hostelworld gave us some recommendations for the best hostels located just a stone’s throw away from thirteen of the most popular National Parks in the U.S.
United States Virgin Islands: Tillett Hostel, St. Thomas
Also known as Rhoda’s Guesthouse, this vibrant retreat is located in the Tillett Gardens, and is ten minutes away from St. Thomas’ nightlife scene and within easy striking distance of the 6,000 acres of Virgin Islands National Park on St. Johns. Beds in the 9-bed female or 8-bed male dorm go for $50/night.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana: The Hostel, Jackson Hole, WY
Yes, it’s a hostel, but it’s also “arguably the best location in Teton Village,” according to Skiing magazine. When you’re not exploring Yellowstone, you can enjoy the Hostel’s lobby coffee experience, play croquet on the lawn, or start a game of shuffleboard in the game room. Beds in the Shared Bunk Room from $20/night.
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii: Banana Bungalow, Maui
“You had me at ‘Aloha’” is Banana Bungalow’s slogan — and they certainly live up to it. The funky hostel comes packed with amenities, from the free airport pickup to all-day tours of different parts of Maui. Basic Dorm beds from $35/night.
Hawaii Volcanoes, Hawaii: Hedonisia Hawaii Eco-Hostel
If you’re into ecotourism on a budget, this is the hostel for you. Hedonisia runs multiple “volun-tourism” programs, meaning that you get to help out a good cause and stay in Hawaii at a discounted price. Twelve hours of volunteering over the course of the week will get you a bed in the hostel’s dorm space for $120 — and $60 for each week after that. If you’d rather just tour the island on your own terms, no worries. Lodging in the two-bed shared dorm spaces (including the Aloha bus!) from $30/night.
Rocky Mountain National Forest, Colorado: The Bivvi, Breckenridge
The Bivvi bills itself as a boutique mountain lodge, and feels more like a resort than a hostel. It’s walking distance from downtown Breckenridge, but with amenities like a movie lounge, an outdoor firepit, a hot tub, and Colorado microbrews in the evenings, you might never want to leave the property. Beds in the standard six-bed mixed dorm from $29/night.
Mount Rainier, Washington: City Hostel Seattle
If you like old places with character, this is definitely for you. Located in a renovated 1920’s hotel, City Hostel Seattle’s local artist-decorated rooms (see them in 360 here) will appeal to the art fan in you after you’ve spent a long day exploring Mount Rainier. Beds in the six-bed mixed dorm from $32/night.
North Cascades National Park, Olympic National Park, Washington: Golden Tree Hostel Eastsound
The Golden Tree Hostel is a fun place to stay, and is actually located in a house on the National Historic Registry. You’ll be a ten minute walk away from the commercial center of Orcas Island, but there’s plenty of relaxation to be had in the hostel, too. Sauna, hot tub, pool table…it’s up to you. You can even rent a bike and go exploring on your own. Beds in dorm with shared bath from $45/night.
Channel Islands National Park, California: The Wayfarer, Santa Barbara
The Wayfarer will make you feel fancy, at hostel prices. Located smack dab in the middle of the Urban Wine Trail and Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone, you’re probably going to want to stay an extra week to experience everything after the Channel Islands. Beds in the male or female dorm from $59/night.
Yosemite, Kings Canyon; Death Valley, Sequoia, California: Yosemite Bug Rustic Mountain Resort
Stay in this fantastic rustic mountain resort to scratch that Yosemite bug itch. The staff is well-versed in all things Yosemite Valley, and can recommend hikes and activities for your stay. In the evenings, be sure to check out the June Bug Cafe for dinner, or relax in the Health Spa. Beds in the co-ed dorm from $25/night.
Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon, Arizona: Grand Canyon International Hostel
Grand Canyon International Hostel is the best of both worlds. Located just a block away from Flagstaff’s Amtrak station, getting in and out is easy. It’s also surrounded by pubs and shopping, and will ensure that your night in Flagstaff is as eventful as your day visiting the canyon. Beds in the four-bed male or female dorms from $30/night.
Denali National Park, Alaska: Billie’s Backpacker Hostel
Fairbanks’ longest-running hostel is a delight to stay in. You’ll feel right at home in the family-owned operation, with its cozy lounge areas and visits from Billie’s dog, Franky. Beds in the basic 4-bed mixed dorm from $34/night.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida: Seashell International Hostel and Motel
Enjoy the attractions of Key West and the nearby Dry Tortugas while staying in the comfort of this island-inspired hostel, which is just five blocks from the southernmost point of the U.S. And don’t forget your swimsuit, because the hostel is also three blocks from the beach. Beds in the ten-bed dorms from $50/night.
Biscayne National Park, Florida: Ocean Blue Hostel, Miami
Ocean Blue’s claim to fame is that it’s the only beachfront hostel in Miami. Premium! When you’re not exploring the wonders of Biscayne National Park, you can relax in the rooftop common area, hit up Ocean Blue’s Voodoo Lounge/Restaurant, or just take in the Miami nightlife around you. Beds in the standard 12-bed dorm (mixed or female-only) from $17/night.