February 25, 2017

Visiting our National Parks

If you're like me, you can't wait to get out into the great outdoors and explore. There is nothing better than hiking and taking in beautiful scenery. To make it even better, the Department of Interior (DOI) has days they mark for free entrance to the parks.

Free Entrance Schedule for 2017

DatesParks
January 16

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management

February 20

Presidents Day

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management

April 15-16

National Parks Week

National parks

April 22-23

National Parks Week

National parks

June 10

National Get Outdoors Day

National forests

August 25

National Park Service Birthday

National parks

September 30

National Public Lands Day

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management

October 8

First Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week

National wildlife refuges

November 11-12

Veterans Day Weekend

National parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and public lands managed by Bureau of Land Management

If you're confused about what is a national park versus a national wildlife refuge, don't worry. I'm confused as well. But the Department of Interior has explained some of the differences.

Save With Passes

Turns out there are more ways to save on going to the parks. You can buy annual passes for $80 per person. That's a nice saving if you visit often and you feel good about supporting the great outdoors. And there are additional deals if you qualify:

  • Current military members and their dependents can get a free annual pass
  • People with permanent disabilities can get a free lifetime pass
  • People age 62 and over can get a lifetime senior pass for $10 - this is an incredible deal
  • Volunteers who accrue 250 hours may be eligible for a free annual pass
  • 4th graders and their families can get a free annual pass valid for the school year from September to August

Passes are available from recreation.gov.