Summer Slump? Lodging Deals To Be Found At Shenandoah National Park

Is inflation keeping visitors from booking overnight stays at Shenandoah National Park and other units of the park system?

Could high gas prices be impacting national park visitation as (shudder) the last gasp of summer sets in? That question comes up in the wake of a pretty impressive lodging deal being offered in Shenandoah National Park.

While parks such as Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon, just to name three, seem to be doing fine, visitor-wise, the deal to save 45 percent or more at Skyland Resort or Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah between August 17 and September 25 spurs the question of whether traffic is falling off in Shenandoah.

The lodging deal, which features nightly lodging for $59, is good Sundays through Thursdays. To qualify, there's a two-night minimum and you have to mention the promotional code, "ALISPR." To take advantage of this rate, which, by the way, is not good August 31, call 1-800-778-2872.

With that said, any insights out there as to how gas prices and inflation overall are affecting park traffic? While I suspect the destination parks aren't hurting too much as folks make plans far in advance and don't want to cancel, how are the "drive up" parks faring? I know when I was at Great Smoky Mountains National Park last week the general consensus in Gatlinburg as that business was way off, possibly as much as a third.

Let us know what's going on out there, fellow travelers.

Comments

I visited the NPS Stats Olympic Park page, and the monthly visitation report shows us up 15% from last year. I was a little surprised, but it's understandable.

I live along Scenic Highway 112, the old Strait of Juan de Fuca coast-route out to Cape Flattery, and the usual route for people going to the very popular (Park) Lake Ozette area, but am not on the direct route most Park-visitors travel. Hwy 112 is most-used by fishermen and RV campers who stay in commercial resorts.

Hwy 112 has a single 1950s style General Store & gas pumps before the fishing-towns (a good 50 mile run), and they have told me that fuel sales are down.

I got a chuckle out of the NPS Stats page for Olympic - they are counting a quarter million visitors at Lake Crescent, which I know 90+% just drive right past the facilities there. But the only Highway (101) that goes around the Park passes through the Park at Lake Crescent: they have no choice but to drive through and be counted as 'visitors'. Looks like a gimmick to me!

But obviously the Park is getting a little traffic-bump this summer ... while the off-Park route is running lean.

The 'wide asphalt' visitors on Hwy 101 will be largely the true-blue consumer-tourists, hitting the main stops and breezing past the details & complications. On Hwy 112, I see some big RVs or rigs towing ungainly things, that are obvious uncomfortable on the skinny tarmac and probably shouldn't be there ... but they aren't too common. We get a more-adventurous slice of the traffic, along the Juan de Fuca Strait coast.



But hey - do you think the price of fuel has stopped climbing? People are mostly still toughing it out in the $4 a gallon range, but at some point (not too far off) there could come a break-down in customary habits & patterns.

Next year, maybe two, we could see drastic things going on with fuel. The general plight & specific fallout for the Parks may be small potatoes for the nation as a whole, but it will be a sub-theme that complicates an already-difficult picture for the Nat'l Parks.