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Free Entrance Days in National Parks
I’m a huge fan of free and a huge fan of our National Park Services, so I had to make everyone aware that you can get free admission to all our national parks this Tuesday! The National Park Service turns 99 years old tomorrow, and you are invited to the birthday party. In celebration of its birthday on August 25th, the U.S. National Park Service is providing free admission to all of its sites — hundreds of historic sites, parks, seashores, and preserves.
Visiting one of our national parks and lands are a great way to get outdoors and reconnect with friends, family, or even some alone time for yourself. Many public school systems haven’t started the new year yet, so here is an opportunity to take the family to a national park. It’s free entertainment and it’s even educational.
The easiest thing to do is visit a national park within driving distance near you. Need a room overnight? Check out a Hotels.com coupon codes to save on your stay.
Want to visit a park that’s farther away? Use on of our many travel coupon codes for discounts on airfare, hotel stays, and rental cars.
“The National Park Service’s 99th birthday is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the role of national parks in the American story,” National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said in a statement. “And it’s also a time to look ahead to our centennial year, and the next 100 years. These national treasures belong to all of us, and we want everyone — especially the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates — to discover and connect with their national parks.”
Does the National Parks Free Admission Include All Fees?
The National Park Service has over 408 parks, beaches, and forests that you can visit, including 59 national parks. Keep in mind that while entrance is free on Tuesday, other fees (camping, parking, special tours, etc.) will still apply.
If you’re in need of activity ideas, check out the National Park Services’ list of 99 Ways to Find Your Park. Park visitors can share their travels on favorite social media sites by using the hashtags #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque.
To encourage Americans to explore our country’s natural beauty, rich history, and culture, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the National Park Service will waive entrance fees on 9 days in 2015. The remaining days include Sept. 26 for National Public Lands Day and Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day.
When Are The 2015 Fee Free Admissions Days?
January 19: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 14-16: Presidents’ Day Weekend
April 18-19: First Weekend of National Park Week
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 26: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day
Need some inspiration or ideas for what national parks to visit?
What Are The Top 10 Most Visited U.S. National Parks?
In 2014, nearly 70 million people visited U.S. National Parks. Have you ever wondered which of America’s national parks are the most popular? Here are the top ten according to attendance.
Glacier National Park covers over a million acres in Montana and draws 2.3 million people a year. this is one national park trip you can’t afford to put off any longer—only about twenty-five glaciers remain of the 150 that existed in 1850. The park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is considered by many to be one of the world’s most spectacular drives.
Sea and mountain meet at 47,000 acre Acadia National Park in Maine. This is the only national park in Maine, the home of Cadillac Mountain—the tallest peak on the Atlantic Coast, and the oldest national park east of the Mississippi. Most of the park is on Mount Desert Island, a patchwork of parkland, private property, and seaside villages.
8. Grand Teton
Only 10 miles from famed Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park is a visual masterpiece. The home of the major peaks of the dramatic Teton Range, including its namesake, 13,775-foot Grand Teton, make one of the boldest geological statements in the Rockies. In addition to it’s natural beauty the park is home to elk, moose, bison, big horned sheep, pronghorns, wolves, coyotes, grizzly and black bears, beavers, river otters, snowshoe hares, bald eagles, and trout, to name a few. The park’s abundant wildlife, jewel-like lakes, blue and white glaciers, and naked granite pinnacles draw 2.8 million visitors a year.
Rising in Utah’s high plateau country, the Virgin River carves its way through Zion Canyon to the desert below. The walls of Zion Canyon soar more than 2,000 feet above the valley. Trails lead deep into side canyons and up narrow ledges to waterfalls, and peaceful spring-fed pools. The park’s striking rock towers, sandstone canyons, and sharp cliffs attract 3.5 million visitors a year.
Nearly one million acres of wilderness ranging from the glacier-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains to the Pacific Coastline. More than three million people a year explores the unspoiled terrain of Olympic National Park in Washington State. No roads cross through the park to spoil Olympic’s three distinct ecosystems. Along with the rugged Pacific shore, the park is an International Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site and is home to the Hoh River Rain Forest, one of the last remaining examples of a temperate rainforest in the U.S
5. Rocky Mountain
Sweeping vistas are a main attraction at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Seventy-two peaks stand taller than 12,000 feet, including a handful of “thirteeners” and the 14,259-foot Longs Peak. The park contains 150 lakes and 450 miles of streams, plus ecosystems ranging from wetlands to pine forests to montane areas to alpine tundra. More than 300 miles of hiking trails crisscross the park’s spectacular landscape. The park contains 150 lakes and 450 miles of streams, plus ecosystems ranging from wetlands to pine forests to montane areas to alpine tundra.
The vast reserve of Yellowstone covers 2.2 million acres in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, has alpine lakes, deep forests, rugged peaks, explosive geysers, and a wealth of wild animals. The abundant wildlife includes bison, bears, sheep, moose, and wolves. Visited by more than 3.5 million people a year, the world’s very first national park remains the showpiece of the National Park Service.
Nearly four million visitors come to Yosemite annually, most of them spending time in the Yosemite Valley. This mile-wide, 7-mile-long canyon was cut by a river and then widened and deepened by glacial action. “No temple made with human hands can compete with Yosemite,” wrote John Muir, whose crusading led to the creation of the California park in 1890.
2. Grand Canyon
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, up to 18 miles wide at spot sand a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is so vast that even from the best vantage point only a fraction of its 277 miles can be seen. In 2014, 4.8 million people witnessed the wonders of one of the largest canyons on Earth.
1. Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the great wild areas of the eastern United States and the most visited national park in the United States. Great Smoky Mountains National Park draws more than ten million visitors annually — more than twice the number of the second most popular park. Some of the tallest mountains in the East are here, including 16 peaks over 6,000 feet. The highest in the park, Clingmans Dome rises 6,643 feet above sea level and 4,503 feet above the valley floor. It was reputedly the original inspiration for the folk song “On Top of Old Smoky”. Most visitors see the park from a mountain-skimming scenic highway; many take to the more than 800 miles of hiking trails across North Carolina and Tennessee.
Two Unique National Parks Off The Beaten Path
Mammoth Cave National Park
Home to the longest cave system on Earth, Mammoth Cave National Park is a park like no other. 400 miles of the subterranean passageway have been explored so far, and a portion of these otherworldly caverns and tunnels are open to the general public. Thousands of the cave’s most famous residents – bats – call Mammoth home. Typical ranger-led tours span 1.25 to 4 hours.
Denali National Park & Preserve
Offering more than six million acres of some of the wildest land in America, Alaska’s most popular tourist attraction includes the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain on the continent. Denali’s myriad landscapes, from deciduous taiga forests to glaciers, rocky terrain and snow-covered mountains, change with the seasons. Visitors enjoy mountaineering and backpacking in the warmer summer months, and in the snowy winters, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.
How Can I Find A National Park Near Me?
For a full list of national parks and sites, go online to nps.gov. You can search for parks by name, location, activity, and topic. In addition, you can instantly access park hours, fees, and reservation info.
It’s fun, it’s free, so there’s no excuse not to get out with friends and family to visit a nearby National Park on one of the remaining free entrance days.