Range of Lodging Deals and Events Appearing on the National Park Landscape

Is a tour of Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park in your vacation future? Kurt Repanshek photo.

If you're kid-free or otherwise not bound to school calendars, or able to make long-range plans, there are a number of lodging specials and seasonal events in the National Park System in the coming months.

To wit:

Quinault Quintessentials

When: Friday, January 30, 2009 – Sunday, February 1, 2009, and again Friday, March 20, 2009 – Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lake Quinault Lodge, which is on the southern border of Olympic National Park, is hosting two more sessions from its Quinault Quintessentials series, a culinary weekend featuring dishes inspired by the Pacific Northwest. Beginning with a sampling of local wines, fruits and cheeses, Executive Chef Patrick Norris will host an intimate culinary weekend featuring cooking demonstrations and an elegant four-course dinner on Saturday and a breakfast on Sunday.

Steelheading Clinic

When: Friday, February 20, 2009 – Saturday, February 21, 2009

Migrating to the sea to spawn in area streams and rivers in the winter, the steelhead trout live a life similar to salmon. Unlike salmon, however, they don’t die after spawning. Instead, they are rejuvenated and can return to the ocean. Throughout the weekend, visitors can learn steelheading techniques from experts and steelheading enthusiasts, including area guides, biologists, fly tiers, fly casting instructors, artists and taxidermists.

Quinault Daffodil Festival

When: Friday, March 27 – Sunday, March 29, 2008

As the snow melts away each year, the rainforest flowers burst into full bloom. The first to bloom in the Quinault Rainforest is the Quinault Daffodil, also jokingly known as the Skunk Cabbage by locals. It is soon followed by pink Salmon Berry blossoms and mauve Colt’s Foot blossoms, indicating the official start of spring. The weekend’s agenda is simply relaxation—visitors will embark on tours of the rainforest, visit the calming waterfalls by the river, capture glimpses of lingering bald eagles and enjoy the sound of the spring birds.

For information on these events, contact the folks at Lake Quinault Lodge at 888-896-3827, or check out their web site.

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Denali National Park Lodging Specials

In honor of Alaska's 50th birthday, the folks who run the lodgings in Denali National Park are offering a "Statehood Special" on lodging in the coming year. For travelers who book a stay on a Thursday or Friday at McKinley Chalet, McKinley Village Lodge, Grande Denali Lodge and Denali Bluffs Hotel will get the second night for just $50.

Here's the current rate sheet and dates of availability: McKinley Chalet: $271 - $349 for 2 nights + tax; McKinley Village Lodge: $325 for 2 nights + tax; Grande Denali Lodge: $269 - $359 for 2 nights + tax; Denali Bluffs Hotel: $306 for 2 nights + tax – all available 05/12/09 through 09/20/09.

If you have any questions are want to book a room, call 866-296-0327 or check out this site.

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Family Values at Mesa Verde National Park

If you're good at long-range planning, you might want to consider this offer at Mesa Verde National Park. The "Family Values" deal at Far View Lodge offers you two nights for two adults and two kids in a standard room with a full breakfast for two adults and two kids for two mornings; a half-day ranger-guided bus tour including a trek through the Cliff Palace; and a complimentary dinner for two kids for two nights at a cost of $429 plus tax. This deal is good April 23-May 22, August 14 through August 30, and October 7 through October 21.

For more details or to make a reservation, visit this site or call 866-292-8295

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Family Fun and Adventure in Shenandoah National Park

This is another opportunity for those adept at looking months down the road. Dubbed the "Family Fun and Adventure" package, this deal gets you a night's lodging in a traditional room at the Skyland Resort and breakfast for two adults and a free breakfast for kids age 12 and younger. Also in the package is admission for two adults and free admission for kids 5 and younger to Luray Caverns.

If you pursue this deal on the Internet it'll cost between $139-$155 on weekdays and between $184 and $200 on weekends. If you call (800-778-2872) to make reservations, the rates range from $159-$175 on week days. Availability runs from April 12 through September 3, with the weekend rates good for May 24, July 3 and July 5. The promotional code is "SHCAV."

Of course, if the economy continues to weaken, there might be better deals in the offing down the road.