Many of us have visited national parks while on vacation, awed by their grandeur and natural beauty. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to wake up to such a breathtaking landscape every day?
You never tire of it, says Leslie Bergman, who along with her husband, Ron, owns Spring Lakes Farm near the Olympic National Park in Washington.
“The experience of living here is something much larger than ourselves, and we always wake with a sense of wonder and awe, which has never diminished,” she said. “It’s irresistible to live out here and not be outside, even standing on our front porch. We’re in a glacial-carved valley, and we’re completely ringed by mountains. Just to stand out there with a cup of coffee, it’s really transformative. It’s transformative for your coffee as well.”
People who live near national parks are treated each day to natural wonders that can include majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, arid deserts, lush forests and an array of wildlife.
“That’s one of the best things about living out here: Every landscape is devastatingly beautiful,” Bergman said. “Olympic National Park is unique in that way. It’s not just mountains. It’s wild rivers with salmon; it’s rapids; it’s waterfalls; it’s glacial peaks; it’s wild mountains and wild beaches.”
She and her husband have been visiting Olympic National Park their entire lives, but they bought Spring Lakes Farm a little more than a decade ago when they were looking to buy a farm in the area.
“This was the first and last one that we came to,” she said. “We knew the minute we walked on the property … that this was the place. We just didn’t have to look any further.”
Their farm was homesteaded in 1894. Through most of its existence, it has been a working farm. The couple practice sustainable farming techniques, raising free-range chickens and beef cattle and growing vegetables in ways that protect the environment. They purposefully built their pastures to create byways for a herd of Roosevelt elk that regularly traverse their property.
“This year we’ve had a large herd come through, 50 animals, lots of cows with nursing calves,” Bergman said. “After they are done nursing, they race around and skip around. It’s really fun to watch. We’ve really had this great access to a lot of natural phenomenon that a lot of folks don’t have.”
The Bergmans, who live on the west side of the national park at the foot of the Olympic Mountains, like to take advantage of all the park has to offer. They enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, beachcombing and kayaking.
“We expect to keep coming back no matter where we live,” she said.
Living near a national park allows a homeowner an escape from everyday life and a chance to enjoy the peace and tranquility that living among nature provides. In many ways, it’s like always being on vacation.
“It’s really difficult to convey in words what it is like to live out here,” she said. “There’s so much going on out here that makes it a wonderful place to live, and I think that has contributed to our quality of life. I wouldn’t have traded this period of time in my life for anything else.”
If natural wonders in your back yard appeal to you, we have some homes to show you. With the help of realtor.com, we’ve rounded up a dozen houses for sale near national parks. So whether you are seeking the subtropical wilderness of the Everglades or the glacial landscape of Alaska’s Lake Clark, the lush forests of the Smoky Mountains or the arid desert of Arches National Park, there is a national park for you to call home.
Olympic National Park
The original deed to Spring Lakes Farm was granted to homesteader Charles Wood in 1894. The 1922 farmhouse has wood beam ceilings and a stone fireplace. The property also includes a two-bedroom, two-bathroom manufactured home, a historic cedar barn, a garage and a greenhouse. The working farm has beef cattle, free-range chickens and fresh vegetables. The property includes forest, pastureland, wetlands, ponds and a stream with deeded water rights.
Agent: Sue Eller, Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty
Grand Teton National Park
At the foot of the Tetons, surrounded by protected land with wildlife and horses as neighbors, Prospectors Mountain Lodge at Split C Ranch is a 6,041-square-foot log lodge and a 2,400-square-foot renovated bunkhouse. The lodge has Montana moss rock chimneys, an outdoor fireplace, heated floors and a wine room. The forested property, which runs along the Snake River passage, features two streams and a spring-fed pond with wild cutthroat trout.
Agent: Ryan Block, Engel & Volkers
Acadia National Park
Built in 1990, the shingle-style cottage on the Maine coast has 623 feet of ocean frontage and spectacular views of Thrumcap Island and the Schoodic peninsula. A gated entrance and long, paved driveway lead to the home. The 10-room house has four stone fireplaces, hardwood floors, cathedral ceilings and ocean views. Two second-floor master suites have oceanside decks. The wraparound deck has a grill and hot tub.
Agents: Janet Moore and Carroll Fernald, Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty
Mesa Verde National Park
Located in the Mancos River valley, the contemporary home was designed by award-winning architect Jim Choate and built by Aaron Taylor in 2006. The home has vaulted ceilings and jalousie windows. The kitchen has Douglas fir cabinetry and a cut-steel dining table. The master bedroom has a walkout balcony and a Swiss-style fireplace. The land includes a large pond and full mineral rights. A general aviation air strip can be added to the property, allowing for private planes to land.
Agent: Dianne Heleno, Coldwell Banker Heritage House
Lake Clark National Park
Located in a remote, fly-in community, the 1989 prow-front wood-frame home can only be reached by float or wheel plane. Large panes of glass frame the spectacular views of the Lake Clark and the Alaskan Range. The home has vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors, a wood stove, a sauna and a wraparound deck. The property includes waterfront access with a dock. Lake Clark is known for its sockeye salmon. The yearly HOA fee is $375.
Agent: Gina Pelaia, Bay Realty
Smoky Mountain National Park
With its 360-degree mountain views, the 2007 Craftsman-style house in a gated community takes advantage of its location. Its living spaces are oriented toward Mount LeConte, the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains. The home has 3,000 square feet of outdoor living space on two levels. The interior has a variety of textures — craggy stone, sleek maple floors and rugged Douglas fir beams and columns. The great room has a vaulted ceiling and a soaring stone fireplace.
Agents: Julia Jubran and Jenny Snodgrass, Alliance Sotheby’s International Realty
Arches National Park
Sharp lines and soft curves define this 2008 desert estate in a gated community. Nearly every room in the home offers spectacular views of red rocks and mountain peaks. The kitchen has a circular, timbered ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows. Sheets of glass in the master suite frame sweeping panoramic vistas. Just off the master suite is an indoor/outdoor shower with dual shower heads and river rock accents. The property includes a swimming pool.
Agent: Rachel Moody, Real Estate Company of Moab
Yosemite National Park
Located on the south fork of the Merced River and surrounded on three sides by national park land, the 1954 cabin was remodeled and expanded in 2011. The home has two river-rock fireplaces with gas inserts and original knotty pine floors in the living room. Outdoor spaces include an expansive redwood deck with a built-in grill and gas fire pit, a quartzite patio and an observation deck. The property features 296 feet of river-front beach.
Agent: Terri Brown, Keller Williams Palo Alto
Haleakala National Park
Located near the Haleakala National Park and the National Tropical Botanical Garden at Kahanu, the contemporary island retreat is tucked into the mountainside. The estate includes a main house and a two-bedroom, two-bathroom guest cottage. The main house has wood-beamed ceilings and large panes of glass that frame panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. The diverse topography features countless pools and waterfalls.
Agent: Lisa Starr, Lisa Starr Land Company
Rocky Mountain National Park
The 2008 log home has two living areas plus a loft, vaulted ceilings, two stone fireplaces and a large wet bar. The roomy deck features a fire pit and sweeping views of the countryside. In addition to the large two-car garage, there are two garages to store snowmobiles and four-wheel vehicles as well as a workshop. The property is near lakes and snowmobile trails.
Agents: Tina Shearon and Laura Zietz, the Mountain Specialists, Re/Max Peak to Peak
Everglades National Park
The 1999 waterfront Mediterranean-style home has a 70-foot brick-paved dock with direct access to the ocean. The dock has boat lifts and a boat elevator. A double-gated driveway clad in old Chicago brick leads to a double-covered breezeway and porte cochere. The brick paved courtyard has a heated pool and spa. The master suite is on the top level of the home and has a private balcony with ocean views. Reefs for deep sea fishing or diving can be reached in five minutes by boat.
Agent: Sally Stribling, Coldwell Banker Schmitt Key Largo
Yellowstone National Park
The 1985 log cabin home is on Hebgen Lake, considered one of the best still-water fishing lakes in Montana. The lakefront parcel has a sandy beach and a boat dock. Water skiing, fly-fishing and kayaking are among the many water activities that can be enjoyed. The home has a warm, woodsy interior with tall ceilings and large panes of glass that offer views of the mountains and lake. Pine trees promote privacy. The property is 10 miles from the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.
Agent: Andie Withner, Montana Territorial Land Company