Guide to Best Dishes and Dining Experiences in Our Parks

Guide to Best Dishes and Dining Experiences in Our Parks

We all love getting out in nature, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the sights of mountains, cliffsides, and giant trees. But, just because you’re spending time in nature doesn’t mean you have to eat a campfire-cooked meal. You can spend time in the National Parks and still dine like royalty.

Crater Lake National Park

The deepest lake in the US is a must-see.

One of the best-known features of Crater Lake National Park is Crater Lake in western Oregon. The lake was formed after the collapse of Mount Mazama and is actually a caldera. To get the best view of the deepest lake in the U.S., take a hike to Watchman Peak. This 1.6-mile hike will take you to a lookout above Wizard Island and features spectacular views of the sunset over the lake.

After a long day’s hike, there’s nothing better than a fulfilling meal. The Crater Lake Lodge is home to the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room which serves up meals prepared with locally-sourced, sustainable ingredients.

To-Die-For Dish: Seared Risotto, Oregon Mushroom & Goat Cheese Ragout

The must-have dish at the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room is the Seared Risotto. This crispy risotto cake is suffused with truffle oil, which is complemented by woodland mushrooms and goat cheese ragout. The ingredients alone are enough to make your mouth water.

Asilomar State Beach

Step outside your hotel room and take a walk on the calming coastline.

A visit to Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove, CA is rich with the smells of sea salt and the sounds of ocean waves lapping at the shore. Your zen-like state can last your whole visit with activities such as bird watching, stargazing, and strolls on the sand.

After some hours spent in the cool ocean breeze, there’s nothing better than coming inside for a warming meal. The Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds is home to the Crocker Dining Hall which serves up fresh ingredients that are sourced from local organic farmers.

Hearty Butternut Squash soup at Crocker Dining Hall in the Asilomar Hotel.

To-Die-For Dish: Butternut Squash Soup

To warm up your insides and your fingers after being outside, there’s nothing better than a hearty soup. The Crocker Dining Hall serves up a zingy, refreshing butternut squash soup that features notes of ginger, nutmeg, thyme, and cinnamon.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

The unique beauty of Antelope Canyon is undeniable.

A trip to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, located in southern Utah, wouldn’t be complete without a boat tour of Antelope Canyon. Once you’re ticketed, all you have to do is hop on the boat, take a seat, and get your camera ready to capture an Instagram-worthy photo. Antelope Canyon is 10-miles long, featuring towering cliffs of red and orange Navajo Sandstone. It’s truly picturesque.

After a long day of snapping photos and absorbing every bit of nature possible, a light but filling meal is in order. Luckily, the views don’t stop just because you have to eat. Grab a table at the Rainbow Room at the Lake Powell Resort, where you can feast on chef-prepared dishes and feast your eyes on Lake Powell through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Brussels sprouts at the Rainbow Room in Lake Powell Resort.

To-Die-For Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Gochujang BBQ Sauce, Scallions, Sesame Seeds 

For a light dish that still packs a punch, order up a starter plate of the Fried Brussels Sprouts with sweet Gochujang BBQ sauce, scallions, and sesame seeda perfect compliment to a fresh and tasty meal after a day of lake activity. 

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls - a true landmark.

Yosemite National Park, CA is best known for its waterfalls, but there’s so much more to see than that. Don’t miss the glacier-carved valleys, expansive meadows, and ancient sequoias. No matter the season, one of the best ways to better get to know Yosemite is to take a naturalist stroll, where you tour the park on foot with the guidance and expertise of a naturalist.

After you’ve worked up an appetite, you can dress up and dine at The Ahwahnee, a hotel and National Historic Landmark. Gather with new friends or traveling companions for a meal at The Ahwahnee Dining Room where you can discuss all of the day’s sightings and adventures over a satisfying meal.

To-Die-For Dish: Pretzel-Parmesan Pork Chop Milanese

One of the signature dishes in The Ahwahnee Dining Room is the pretzel and parmesan encrusted pork chop Milanese. On top of the crispy pork chop, you’ll be treated to a wild baby arugula salad topped with cherries, cucumber, heirloom tomatoes and a tangy lemon, cherry vinaigrette.

Olympic National Park

The rainforests of Olympic National Park are lush and verdant year-round.

Most people don’t realize that you don’t have to cross any borders to visit a rainforest — there’s one in your own backyard! The Olympic National Parks and Forest is home to the only temperate rainforest in the contiguous United States. A tour of the rainforest takes you through the lush landscape where you can learn about local flora and fauna and the Quinault Indian Nation.

When your feet are tired and your belly rumbling, you won’t have to go far. Lake Quinault Lodge, located in Quinault, WA, is the only guest accommodation within the rainforest. And it just so happens to be the location of the Roosevelt Dining Room, where you can get a scrumptious meal to satisfy any craving. The Roosevelt Room gets its name from an important event in 1937 when Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Lake Quinault Lodge. This visit eventually impacted his decision to sign a bill creating Olympic National Park nine months later.

To-Die-For Dish: Roosevelt’s Classic Pot Roast

When you visit the Roosevelt Dining Room, there’s truly only one dish to choose: Roosevelt’s Classic Pot Roast. This rich dish is comprised of slow-roasted organic beef roast with a side of roasted root vegetables and smashed red bliss potatoes. It’s all topped off with a drizzle of pan gravy to give a rich, umami flavor. 

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park Puebloan ruins.

Mesa Verde National Park is one of the U.S.’s many natural wonders. Located in southwestern Colorado and home to the ancient sandstone cliff dwellings, there are truly unique sites to see at this national park. Don’t miss a tour of the cliff dwellings to better understand the Ancestral Puebloans, their culture, religion, and the way they lived.

After a full day of seeing the sites and learning about how our ancestors lived, you’ll want to rest your feet and fill up your belly. The Far View Lodge is home to the Metate Room Restaurant where you can get a generous meal, take in some great views, and enjoy a glass of wine.

Don’t miss out. The smoked lamb chop is to die-for.

To-Die-For Dish: Smoked lamb chop with a red wine reduction, mashed potato and green beans.

This dish features a lamb chop that’s been smoked to perfection, then cooked in a savory red wine reduction. On the side, you’ll find green beans and mashed potatoes, perfect for soaking up any sauce leftovers.

There’s nothing more satisfying than a hearty meal after a day of exertion. Whether you’re taking in the stunning sights of Antelope Canyon, hiking the ridge of Crater Lake, or hugging sequoia trees in Yosemite, you deserve a delicious meal that will fill you up.


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