Planning that summer vacation to a national park? Start now by selecting dates that gives you the best chance of snagging rooms in a popular lodge.
The first lodges to sell out are the historic ones; some are already sold out for the peak season.
At the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone Parks, you are more likely to find a vacancy in May and October. At the Canyon, rooms may be available the first two weeks of June and the last 10 days of August. Check with the park you're most interested in and ask when their slack times are.
If you don't get your first choice, go ahead and book rooms elsewhere; sometimes you can take advantage of a last minute cancellation. If that doesn't work, enjoy the lodge by eating, drinking, shopping or just wandering around.
Don't use third-party web sites that charge a non-refundable fee to make reservations in parks. Book direct.
Book actitivies and meals at historic lodges early. If you'd rather wait, you're more likely to get a table at lunch than at dinner. At some lodges, reservations can be made via email six months in advance for guests, and 30 days in advance for all other visitors.
Check out summer adventure packages being offered at Yellowstone and Grand Canyon Railway specials for the Grand Canyon
Go to www.xanterra.com for general information or to the websites for each park at www.nps.gov.