Mark your calendars! The U.S. National Park Service has announced its 2016 Fee-Free Days! That’s right. Come on out and enjoy Mother Nature at its finest, explore snapshots of this land’s history, visit a spectacular national treasure, and not pay a single penny to do so!
The U.S. National Parks are a treasure trove of wonderful, insightful, and inspiring vacation destinations just waiting for you to explore. Did you know that practically anywhere you stand in the United Sates, you are less than 100 miles from a national park, monument, shoreline, trail or historic site? So no excuses in 2016! Make this your year to explore these amazing national lands.
National Park Service 2016 Fee Free Days
The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) is opening its doors, gates, and paths, to anyone – for FREE – several times in 2016. Visitors to any of the 127 Entrance-Fee-Based National Parks on these dates will pay nothing to enter and enjoy all that park has to offer.
- January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- April 16 – 24: National Park Week
- August 25 – 28: National Park Service birthday celebration
- September 24: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
So go on. Begin planning your own outdoor escape to some of the best places in the United States. Get up close with Mother Nature. Learn about this nation’s history. Go camping. And better yet, time that escape for an awesome National Park Fee-Free day!
Snapshots of A National Parks Vacation
2015 was a banner year for our own U.S. National Park adventures. We visited not one, but several national parks and monuments during a summer road trip through Colorado and Utah. Here are snapshot of national parks and monuments we explored during this adventure. Be inspired. Then plan your own national parks vacation.
Getting Sandy in Great Sand Dunes National Park
Take a walk along the tallest dunes in North America at Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, with snow-capped mountaintops surrounding you. Grab a sled and try your skills at sand-sledding. Refresh and recharge for the next adventure in nearby Medano Creek.
Learn more about Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado. Entrance fee is $15 per car, waived on Fee-Free days.
Learning About Ancient Cultures at Aztec Ruins
Explore an ancient Pueblo Great House with over 400 masonry rooms at Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico. Meander through a Pueblo structure where original timbers still today hold up the roof. Stand at the edge of the Great Kiva, imagining the ceremonial sounds of a people long since gone from these ancient lands.
Learn more about Aztec Ruins National Monument, New Mexico. Entrance fee is $5 per person (not per car), waived on Fee-Free Days.
Up Close With Cliff Dwellings in Mesa Verde
Exploring this land’s cultural history goes much farther back than the Declaration of Independence! Capture the spirit and essence of a long-lost culture at the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado. Walk along paths that lead to centuries-old cliff dwellings. Stand in the very spots as Ancestral Pueblo people once did.
Learn more about Mess Verde National Park, Colorado. Entrance fee is $15 per car ($10 off-season), waived on Fee-Free Days.
Hiking Ancient Trails in Canyon of The Ancients
Stop in at the Anasazi Heritage Center of Canyon of The Ancients, Colorado. Then hit the road less traveled to a vast array of Native American ruins secreted within this ancient outdoor museum. Tucked neatly away on back roads and dirt paths are countless ruins, like this rough and rugged trail leading to Cutthroat Castle. Don’t forget your map!
Learn more about Canyon of the Ancients, Colorado. Canyon of the Ancients is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and does not charge an entrance fee.
Witness Ancient Architecture in Hovenweep
Marvel upon the skills of ancient builders at Hovenweep National Monument. Walk along trails past amazing examples of ancient Pueblan architecture, from a multistory tower delicately balanced on a canyon side wall to a castle perched atop a cliff. Imagine what it took to build these structures that have stood the test of time and weather.
Learn more about Hovenweep National Monument, Colorado and Utah. Hovenweep does not charge an entrance fee.
Be Amazed in Arches National Park
It doesn’t take long to see what’s so special about Arches National Park, Utah. It’s a veritable red rock wonderland, a land filled with contrast. With over 2000 natural stone arches alone, it’s safe to say that not all can be seen within a few days of adventures at Arches. Then there’s those amazing sunrises and sunsets that spill across Arches’ red rocks – sublime!
Learn more about Arches National Park, Utah. Entrance fee is $25, waived on Fee-Free days.
What’s Your National Park Adventure?
The U.S. National Park Service‘s vast array of offerings have long been a family favorite vacation destination. What can I say? Where else will you find all this year-round action, all this incredible beauty, all this history, at such a bargain basement price? And for even less on a fee-free day!
How about you? Do you enjoy vacationing in national parks? Will you be exploring a particular national park, monument, recreational area, or lakeshore in 2016? Which U.S. National Parks have you been to? Do you have a favorite? Share with us!
There’s a national park just waiting for you and your family to arrive! Learn more about the 2016 Free Entrance Days at National Park Service. Got a 4th grader in the house? Check out the Every Kid In A Park Pass program for a chance for free national park entrance all year!
For more about our own national park adventures, check out Let’s Get Deals Today – National Park Archives. Ready to plan your own adventure? Check out 7 Reliable Resources To Plan Your Own Awesome National Park Adventure.
All images by C.Biederman.