National Park Week starts now. There are few better times than this week — with its waived entrance fees — to take a hike to a hidden lake or do some animal watching at Glacier National Park, check out some of the world’s most active volcanoes at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or enjoy breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon.
There are more than 400 national parks in the United States today, 127 of which typically charge some sort of entrance fee. During National Park Week, April 16-24, the parks waive all entrance fees, so you can visit as many national parks as you want without having to pay a dime.
“It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea — the national parks,” is how the National Park Service website describes National Park Week.
The NPS is turning 100 this year, so lots of events celebrating the parks and the park service are planned throughout the year. For example, there are no entrance fees at national parks on the following days:
- Aug. 25-28: National Park Service Birthday
- Sept. 24: National Public Lands Day
- Nov. 11: Veterans Day
In addition to offering free admission to all national parks during National Park Week, here are some other highlights:
- April 16 — National Junior Ranger Day: The NPS says kids can take part in fun and educational programs and earn a junior ranger badge or become a Centennial Junior Ranger.
- April 22 — Earth Day: Celebrate Earth Day by helping with a park project. Click here to find out where you may be able to pitch in.
- April 23 — National Park InstaMeet: You are invited to join an InstaMeet — a gathering of Instagram users looking to connect, explore and celebrate creativity(and post their photos) — in a national park on Saturday, April 23.
- April 24 — Park Rx Day: The U.S. national parks have fun recreational activities “that encourage healthy lifestyles and promote physical well-being.”
I feel so fortunate that I live in a state that is home to two of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever seen — Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
Do you plan on hitting up a national park during National Park Week? What is your favorite national park? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.