National Park Week kicks off in just a couple of weeks (April 15-23) and they’ll be plenty of fun in-park activities and ranger programs. Even better, during both weekends of National Park Week, entry to all our National Parks will be free.
While National Park Week may be only one week a year, there are a variety of ways that you can enjoy our National Parks and the great outdoors all year long. Here are 10 of our favorite ways.
1. Go Ahead, #FindYourPark. Last year, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation started the #FindYourPark campaign to encourage visits to National Parks. Find and explore your favorite park, then share ideas and inspiration with others.
2. Go RV Camping in a National Park. Do more than hiking, biking and rafting at our National Parks. Book an RV vacation and spend time in National Park campgrounds. Rent an RV on your own or plan an RV vacation for the summer, like Lake Tahoe & Yosemite or Yellowstone & Grand Teton.
3. Collect Junior Ranger Patches. When you arrive at any National Park, ask at the visitors center about the Junior Ranger program. Kids complete a set of activities depending on their ages, then take the oath with a park ranger to collect a badge or patch. Iron or pin them on to a floppy hat or vest.
4. Take Flat Stanley on Your Adventures. Read a Flat Stanley book with your kids and then create your own Flat Stanley to take along with you as you visit a National Park. Take pictures and print them out to create a photo album.
5. Stop at Scenic Overlooks. Many National Parks enable you to take a nice drive through the park and stop at scenic overlooks throughout the park for panoramic views of nature around you. Often, you can pick up a map or guide in the visitors center that will point out the not-to-be-missed overlooks.
6. Pick Up Trash in Our Parks. Let’s keep our National Parks beautiful. If you see an empty bottle or a candy bar wrapper in the parks, pick it up and throw it away or recycle it if you can. Better, grab some family and friends and have a clean the park day. Celebrate with a picnic.
7. Get Your Passport Stamped. Through the Passport to Your National Parks program, you can get passport books stamped at National Parks across the country. Each stamp records the date of the visit and the name of the National Park. You can buy a passport book at many parks.
8. Buy a Postcard. Whether you capture your National Park visit with some beautiful photos or a perfectly framed postcard, bring home the memory of your day(s) in the wilderness. You can make and send your own postcards using a mobile app, like Postagram.
9. Watch the Sunset (or Sunrise). Take a late afternoon hike through a National Park. Head to the top of the nearest mountain and wait for the sun to set. Bring snacks in case you need to wait a while. Be sure to snap some photos to remember the day. Or, wake up early. The sunrise is a great start to the day.
10. Buy an America the Beautiful Pass. The American the Beautiful Annual Pass costs $80 and allows free entry into all of our National Parks and monuments for 12 months from the date of purchase. It’s like celebrating National Park Week every week.