This is Part 1 of a 3-part series. Watch for my next posts:
7 Reliable Resources To Plan Your Own Awesome National Park Adventure
7 Budget-Friendly Reasons Why National Parks Make Awesome Vacations
What do all these dates have in common? One thing is for sure. You’ll want to mark you calendars, because you don’t want to miss them!
February 14-16 – President’s Weekend
April 18-19 – National Park Week Opener
August 25 – National Park Service’s birthday
September 26 – National Public Lands Day
November 11 – Veteran’s Day
And just why are you marking your calendar?
Because these dates mark when the U.S. National Park Service is opening it’s doors – and gates – to visitors, for FREE! That’s right! Visitors to any entry-fee-based National Park will pay $0 entrance fees on these dates. That’s nothing, nada!
In return, visitors will have the opportunity to explore some of the United States’ most spectacular national treasures. So go on! Begin planning your own outdoor escape to some of the best places in the United States. And better yet, time that escape for an awesome National Park Fee-Free day!
7 Snapshots of Our Favorite National Parks
Need a little inspiration? Here’s snapshots from seven of our favorite national parks. Each one has it’s own unique style, it’s own type of action. Any would make an awesome vacation. Take inspiration, take notes, but best of all, take the time to visit a U.S. National Park. You’ll be glad you did!
Acadia National Park – Maine
Acadia National Park is one of the most visited National Parks in the U.S. National Park system. There’s a reason for that! So much to do, so much action, so much beauty. Whether you drive up a mountain for incredible vistas, or set out on a strenuous eight mile hiking trek, Acadia National Park has vistas and trails to please everyone. And if biking is your pleasure, the park’s superb carriage roads are no motorized vehicles allowed!
Read more about our adventures in Acadia at 7 Days and 7 Hikes In Acadia National Park.
Denali National Park – Alaska
Denali National Park is home to world renown Mount McKinley. It’s also an adventure of glacial proportions. Granted, most people will never actually hike to Mount McKinley’s summit. What you can do, though, is a fly-by! And while you are up there, don’t miss the opportunity to land on a glacier, walk across a vast field of glacial snow, perhaps even make a snow angel or two, or throw a snowball at your brother.
Read more about our fly-by over Denali National Park at Talkeetna, Denali and Mount McKinley – A Flight Seeing Adventure of Glacial Proportions.
Glacier National Park – Montana
Glacier National Park is an outdoor lover’s mecca. A hiker’s paradise. A naturalist’s playground. It’s where you will find amazing hiking trails for all skill levels, lakes of unsurpassed beauty, curving roads winding past stunning vistas, untamed wildlife ambling on by. It’s all there, just waiting for you to explore and discover.
Read more about our adventures in Glacier National Park at Glacier National Park – A Family Adventure.
Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim
The Grand Canyon is one of the most well known national parks in the world. It is massive at 277 river miles long, as much as 18 miles wide, and at points, a mile deep. Visitors can explore both it’s South Rim and it’s North Rim, but the vast majority only experience the South Rim. Those who skip the North Rim are missing out! It is noticeably cooler, much less crowded, and equally beautiful in it’s own right. My suggestion? Don’t miss it!
Read more about our Grand Canyon experience at A Grand Tour Around The Grand Canyon.
Haleakala National Park – Hawaii
Catching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakala National Park is definitely worth the early morning wake-up call! And once the sun has risen, go for a hike along one of the nearby trails, taking time to enjoy the incredible views. Afterwards, meander your way back down the mountain, stopping at the NPS Visitor’s Center for more information.
Travel tip: Get there early, bring warm drinks, and don’t forget a sweatshirt! Yes it’s Hawaii, but it’s still a bit chilly up here at sunrise. And it can get crowded, so grab your prime viewing spot early.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – Michigan
Ok, yes, Pictured Rocks is not technically a national park. What it is, however, is an equally stunning destination, and one as worthy as many a national park. Explore wild and rugged beauty along the untamed Lake Superior shoreline. Sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls and forests await, where visitors can swim, kayak, bike, hike, and camp. Don’t miss the rarely hiked trail down to Miner’s Beach. Once there, you might just have the beach all to yourself!
Learn more about planning your own exploration of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Yellowstone National Park – In Winter!
Most visitors explore Yellowstone National Park during it’s more tepid summer months. But winter is equally sublime! Some might even say it’s more so. Why? Because winter in Yellowstone = snow, snow, snow everywhere! Snow starts falling early in the park, and falls often. By the time the park opens in late December for winter travelers, there’s already hundreds of inches of snow on the ground. It’s a snow lover’s mecca. And there’s no crowds to contend with! Imagine Old Faithful all to yourself, and a few bison.
Read more about our adventures in Yellowstone National Park at Yellowstone National Park – Your Family’s Next Winter Vacation?
What’s Next On Our National Park Adventures List?
Summer 2015 vacations will be “all about” U.S. National Parks and National Monuments. Our summer travel budget needed a serious trimming and what better way to get more bang for our bucks than having National Parks and Monuments as our destinations?!
Here’s what’s on our very own National Parks adventures list for summer, 2015:
- Mesa Verde National Park
- Arches National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
- Canyon of the Ancients National Monument
- Hovenweep National Monument
- Dinosaur National Monument
- Shenandoah National Park
- Washington DC Monuments and Museums
You guessed it! We are heading to the American Southwest for 12 days jam-packed with lots of uber-budget friendly National Parks and Monuments to fill our days. Oh, and we will be taking a couple of weekend excursions much closer to home to explore near-by parks and monuments too.
Where Will You Go in 2015?
How about you? Have you been to any of the U.S. National Parks or Monuments on our Summer 2015 travel list? What do you think of our list? What other nearby parks would you recommend we add to the list?
Do you enjoy vacations in U.S. National Parks? Does your 2015 travel plans include a U.S. National Park, monument, or recreational area? Which one? Do share!
Learn more about the 2015 Free Entrance Days at the National Park Service website.
National Parks image from NPS.org. All other images by C.Biederman.