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In 1916, the National Park Service was created for people to get out and enjoy America’s natural wonders. Over 100 years later, these national treasures are as important as ever.
In these trying times, a low-cost excursion into the great outdoors can be the perfect way to enjoy the (well deserved) time off you have earned. And the national parks of the Pacific Northwest are a great place to do just that. Think lush, dense forests and mountainous areas dotted with lakes offering stunning views. Most mountain ranges in Washington and Oregon are made up of volcanoes, but it’s the tranquility of these parks that makes them so special. Here’s a look at some popular national parks in the region, along with some nearby hotels where you can book stays using points.
Crater Lake National Park
If there is one national park in Oregon you should experience, it’s Crater Lake — not because it is the most gorgeous, but because it’s literally the only national park located entirely in the state (there are national sites, trails and monuments, but no other national parks). The park is named after its famous lake inside an active volcano crater. It’s truly breathtaking.
Hotels where you can redeem points for free stays can be found in different cities surrounding Crater Lake Park. Here are a few.
Courtyard Medford Airport
Don’t think of this as your typical Courtyard next to an airport. Smaller airports like Medford do not have flights landing in the middle of the night, so you won’t be kept awake by the noise. Plus, Medford, Oregon, is a hip Pacific Northwest town with great restaurants.
This hotel will cost you anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, since it’s a Category 4 property.
Closer to the park, a Fairfield Inn is scheduled to open soon in Klamath Falls, but this is a smaller town without as many options for things to do and see.
» Learn more: The 5 best ways to rack up Marriott Bonvoy points
Hyatt Place Eugene / Oakway Center
The Hyatt Place brand is really growing on us, especially for travel in the U.S. They’re consistent, and when visiting parks or doing any kind of outdoor exploring, that is a nice bonus in a hotel. The downside to this Hyatt Place is that it’s a little over two hours from Crater Lake National Park. But then again, there aren’t a lot of other options nearby, either.
On the bright side, the nightly rate is just 8,000 World of Hyatt points.
Hampton Inn & Suites Roseburg
Roseburg is just over 1 1/2 hours from Crater Lake National Park and it’s a small town without much else to do. This Hampton Inn is a bit more aged than the other options in the area, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a visit to the park.
A night here will set you back around 30,000 Hilton Honors points, but pricing is variable, so check the cost for your specific dates.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Klamath Falls Central
The Holiday Inn Express in Klamath Falls is closest to the park and a good choice for anyone with IHG points. As at all Holiday Inn Express hotels, your breakfast is included, so that’s one less thing you have to factor into your budget.
We found award nights for 17,500 points, but because IHG redemption rates can vary, check your dates.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, home to alpine mountains, the Pacific coastline and even a rainforest — something for every nature lover. There are no roads going through this park, so if you enjoy really long hikes — literally days’ worth of exploring on foot — you can traverse vast, pristine areas without encountering many visitors.
Here are some options for using hotel points instead of digging a hole in your wallet.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Sequim
This Holiday Inn Express is a good option near Olympic National Park. It’s in Sequim (pronounced skwim), a mere 30 minutes away from the park entrance and visitor center.
We found rooms for 22,500 IHG points per night.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Seattle Bremerton
This is a great hotel, however it is 1 1/2 hours from the park entrance, which cuts into the time you could spend exploring the park.
This is a Category 3 property in the Marriott portfolio, so every night you stay at this Fairfield will cost you between 15,000 and 20,000 Bonvoy points.
Hampton Inn & Suites Bremerton
This Hampton Inn in Bremerton is yet another great hotel, but it, too, is a long drive to the park.
If you don’t mind spending some time getting to the park entrance, you can likely find award nights here for around 40,000 points. But check your exact dates, as pricing is variable.
» Learn more: Hilton Honors: The complete guide
North Cascades National Park
Hiking, camping and mountaineering are some of the activities you can enjoy at North Cascades — home to one of the largest glacier systems in the contiguous United States. And it is one of few national parks with free admission — no pass or payment of any kind is required to visit.
Here are some of the places you can stay when you visit North Cascades National Park.
Fairfield Inn & Suites Burlington
The somewhat renovated Fairfield Inn in Burlington is only 1 hour away from the park entrance. The hotel itself is nothing to write home about, but they offer free breakfast and are pet friendly. The hotel is also the site of a Tesla Supercharging station with eight superchargers available 24/7, so if you’re driving an EV this might be a preferable option.
The nightly rate for this Category 3 hotel is between 15,000 and 20,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
Hampton Inn & Suites Burlington
This Hampton hotel has seen better days, but it serves its purpose for travelers eager to spend their days exploring North Cascades. It offers free breakfast, free parking and an indoor pool that is closing temporarily due to the pandemic.
Expect to find rooms at around 28,000 Hilton Honors points per night, but that can vary depending on your dates.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Burlington
Also located close to the park in Burlington, this Holiday Inn Express is another convenient option. As is standard at any Holiday Inn Express, hot breakfast is included, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s served to go. The pool is currently closed by state order.
We found rooms for just 15,000 IHG points per night, though rates for your stay could vary.
» Learn more: Your guide to booking award nights with IHG Hotels
World of Hyatt
If you’re a World of Hyatt member hoping to visit North Cascades on points, unfortunately, you’re out of luck. The only Hyatt hotels in Washington state are in the Seattle area — not helpful for park visitors. It’s a pity because Hyatt properties tend to be modern, well-kept and well-run and would make a nice option for exploring North Cascades.
Adding another park to your trip
Oregon and Washington are home to plenty of other stunning outdoor experiences. So when you’re planning a visit, spend some time researching other parks and sites. You might be able to hit several spots in one trip. In the Evergreen State, look at the San Juan Island National Historical Park, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area and (definitely) Mount Rainier. And don’t forget state parks like Mount St. Helens, where you can see one of the largest volcanoes in the region.
In Oregon, check out sites like the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, the Oregon National Historic Trail (yes, that same Oregon Trail!) and the Oregon Caves National Monument.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card