Elections got you wound up? The National Park Service is here to help. The NPS is waiving all entry fees for November 10-12 in honor of Veterans Day. Perhaps, this is a way that everyone, regardless of party affiliation, wins.
Autumn is of course one of the best times to visit the national parks. Not only is there far less traffic than during the busy summer months, but the cooler temperatures and changing colors of the leaves are a bonus too. That should make this weekend a perfect time to go hiking in Yellowstone, climbing in Yosemite or canyoneering in Bryce. If you live in the warmer states in the south, the shift in fall temperatures gives you an opportunity to get outside and visit parks that are often too hot for the summer months. Places like Big Bend, Death Valley and Mojave are all great candidates for fall or winter visits.
Since this is Veterans Day weekend, many of the parks will be hosting special events to honor the American men and women who have served in the armed forces throughout the nation’s history. For example, Valley Forge will feature live music, historical reenactments and guest speakers, while the Yorktown National Historic Battlefield will fire replica cannons to commemorate the British and American soldiers that fought there during the Revolutionary War. Other historical sites across the country will feature similar activities as well.
The U.S. national park system features nearly 400 monuments, historic sites and parks spread out across the entire country, many of which never charge an entrance fee. Chances are, no matter where you live, there is a park near you. For a complete listing of all of the parks that will be participating in this fee free weekend click here.
Over the past few years, these fee-free days have become quite popular with travelers who often flock to the national parks on those days. The Park Service hasn’t announced if they will continue the practice in 2013, so this weekend is the last free days for the foreseeable future. Get outside and take advantage of them while you can.
By Kraig Becker