How many times have you come down off a trail in a National Park craving a delicious meal; especially one that you don’t have to prepare yourself? If you're like us, it's happened too many times to mention. Luckily there are some excellent places within our National Parks to grab a bite; We’re starting with four in the PNW.
Crater Lake National Park – Crater Lake Lodge
Locally made yogurt with fresh berries (in addition to eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and breakfast potatoes) can help you start your day off just right in Crater Lake National Park. Plus, the dining room offers a view of the lake which we’re willing to bet is one of the most incredible sights you’ll ever see while eating a meal.
Denali National Park – Denali Park Village’s Gold Rush Dining Room
A cool, crisp Caesar Salad with crunchy croutons and fresh grilled locally sourced salmon is waiting for you in Denali National Park. So, too, is a seafood chowder. Get the bowl, not the cup, it’s that good.
Everything is tasty here. Everything. If you’re not sure what to order go for the fish tacos. Cajun seasonings add a little kick to these blackened tacos and served with fresh cilantro, salsa and sour cream, they pack a punch that’ll have you craving them again the next day. All of the sandwiches and salads are delicious as well.
Still hungry? Order the fresh baked chocolate chip cookie! It takes 10 minutes or so for them to bake it, but it's worth the agony. Served in a small black iron skillet with a scoop of ice cream on the top, you'll be saying ooohhhh before you even take your first bite.
Note: the outside seating at Glacier Bay is awesome. Bring a puffy jacket and go for it. We promise you won’t regret it; the view is stunning.
Mount Rainier National Park – National Park Inn
The National Park Inn has a great lunch menu. You can't go wrong with the bowl of beef chili. It's thick and rich with both kidney and pinto beans. Topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, and diced onion it’s also served with warm cornbread on the side. We guarantee it’ll take the outside chill away. And that’s just for starters.
Go ahead and give in to the Caprese sandwich as well. It’s two pieces of grilled Texas toast wrapped around melted fresh mozzarella, bright green pesto and sliced tomatoes. The fries on the side were piping hot and an added bonus to an already hearty and delicious meal.
Olympic National Park – Lake Quinault Lodge’s Roosevelt Dining Room
One word: pizza. You can only get the pizza "to-go" here. But with the lake just steps from the lodge where you order, you can hardly go wrong with taking it to go. We recommend the cheese pizza with mushrooms and spinach. The best part is that it was big enough for the two of us to share and have leftovers for the next day.
Oh, and one last important note: every single place on this list serves cold beer. You’re welcome.
The next time you find yourself in one of these National Parks, consider treating yourself to an excellent meal at one of the eateries within its borders. It’s just another way to help support these national treasures.
Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley are based in Asheville, North Carolina, but are currently traveling the country in their van. You can follow along with their adventures at Authentic Asheville.
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