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Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Family Camping, Family Day Trips, Family Weekend Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, State & National Parks

America’s Best Idea Just Got Better

January 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 


From sea to shining sea, the United States has some of the most breath taking national parks and scenic wonderlands. Every single national park has very important significance embedded into the landscape and has been passed down for generations now and ones to come.

Canyon de Chelly National Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

America’s Best Idea—the national parks—gets even better with 17 fee-free days in 2011 at the national parks that usually charge entrance fees.

About 147 of the 394 parks and historic sites operated by the National Park Service charge admission fees ranging from $3 to $25.

Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2011:

January 15-17: Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday weekend (new in 2011)

April 16-24: National Park Week

June 21: First day of summer (new in 2011)

September 24: Public Lands Day

November 11-13: Veterans Day weekend

The Park Service has held several fee-free days in the past two years as a way of providing cost-friendly vacation options for American families during the economic downturn.

“Our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation’s heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a recent statement.

Carlsbad Caverns National Patk, New Mexico. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To make the fun even more affordable, many national park concession stands and stores are offering special opportunities and discounts on fee free days. The concessioners provide food, transportation, lodging, and other services in more than 100 national parks.

Here’s another tip—many of the 394 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee.

Start Planning Your Visit Now!

Would you like to hike Zion National Park for free (Utah)? Photograph the wonders of Arches National Park (Utah)?

Explore the desert scenery and granite monoliths of Joshua Tree (California)?  Or take a guided or self-guided tour to an ancient cave dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)?

Worth Pondering…
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

If you enjoyed this article, you might also wish to read

Big House: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, AZ

Where Deserts Meet: Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Miracles of Nature: Arches National Park, UT

Place in the Rocks: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ

If you enjoy these articles and want to read more on RV travels and lifestyle, visit my website: Vogel Talks RVing.

Happy RVing!

Living his dream, Rex Vogel is a Snowbird with a passion for RVing, photography, hiking, and birding.

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