Visit National Parks for Free on Saturday

Photo (cc) by Ray Bouknight

We tipped off readers about how to get into hundreds of museums for free this weekend, but maybe you prefer the great outdoors.

If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to learn that you can get into national parks for free this Saturday too. Sept. 28 is National Public Lands Day, which means free admission to the 133 national parks that aren’t already free year-round.

Additional fees — for things like camping, tours and concessions — will still be charged, so you may want to take some money.

The next free days are Veterans Day weekend, Nov. 9-11. If you find yourself enamored of a park and want to return sooner, there are other cheap or free ways to do so:

  • There’s a $10 lifetime senior pass for those over 62.
  • People with permanent disabilities, as well as military members and their dependents, can get passes for free.
  • Volunteering for federal agencies can also score you a free pass after 250 hours.

For everyone else, there’s an $80 annual pass. Before investing in that, look up the parks you might go to and see if it’s worth it. Many parks are free but some, like Yosemite National Park, charge $20 per car.

The National Environmental Education Foundation is highlighting some of the unique features of various national parks for Public Lands Day. Want to see the largest known living tree in the U.S? That’s in Sequoia National Park. The country’s deepest lake is at Crater Lake National Park (pictured up top), and the most extensive underground cave system in the world is at Mammoth Cave National Park.

Will you be visiting a national park this weekend? Tell us which — or better yet, share some photos — on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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