Calling all 4th graders! The National Park Foundation is offering you a free national parks pass for one year. That means free entrance for you and your family, from now until August 31st, 2016, into this nation’s vast, incredible national parks, national monuments, historic parks and other public lands! Now that’s a deal not to be missed.
Meet The Every Kid In A Park Initiative
On Tuesday, September 1st, the National Park Foundation announced the launch of the Every Kid In A Park initiative. What’s the Every Kid In a Park Initiative, you ask? It is an awesome opportunity for all 4th grader in the United States, and their families, to get out and experience this nation’s incredible, amazing public lands for free. Yes, free.
Read the White House announcement at Administration Launches Every Kid In A Park Pass.
All your 4th grader needs to do is sign up at Every Kid in a Park and in an instant, some of the most incredible vistas in the United States are yours at no charge. Imagine mile-wide canyon vistas, cascading waterfalls, spiraling hoodoos, pristine glaciers. Add in outdoor adventures, come-to-life history lessons and impressive archeologic sites and guess what? The national parks are perfect family vacation destinations!
Come along with me to a few of this family’s most treasured national park moments. Enjoy. See for yourself how much fun a family can have at the national parks.
7 Favorite Family Moments in National Parks
From Florida to Alaska, from Maine to Hawaii, the U.S. National Parks have been one of this family’s most favorite vacation spots. Where else will you find all this year-round action, all this incredible beauty, all this history, at such a bargain basement price? And if your 4th grader has an Every Kid in a Park pass, your entrance fee is already paid!
1. Hiking Off The Beaten Path in Glacier
With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier National Park, Montana, is a hiker’s paradise. Whether it’s an easy hike near Lake McDonald, or a back woods hike in Medicine Lake, Glacier offers families an incredible outdoor experience sure to fuel a long-term love of the great outdoors.
Hike off the beaten path with us at Hiking The Upper Two Medicine Lake Trail – Glacier National Park. With it’s relatively easy trails and eye-popping scenery, Upper Two Medicine Lake is perfect for a family hike.
2. Skiing Past Sleeping Bison in Yellowstone
Winter in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, is a snow lover’s mecca, and a fab family vacation. Just imagine the excitement as your family cross country skis past sleeping bison, around gushing geysers, through snow-covered trees, and near cascading waterfalls.
Check out our snowy family fun at Yellowstone National Park – Your Family’s Next Winter Vacation, where you will find adventures perfect for the whole family.
3. Making Snow Angels Atop a Glacier in Denali
Time for a short-n-sweet family adventure of glacial proportions in Denali National Park, Alaska. Spend 30 snow-filled minutes high up on a glacier, with massive Mount McKinley as the backdrop, and where snow angels and snow ball fights rule. It’s a memory for a lifetime.
Read more about our adventurous day in Talkeetna, Denali and Mount McKinley.
4. Exploring Ancient Dwellings in Mesa Verde
From ancient historical sites, to the birth of a nation, to battles of epic proportions, all can be experienced in a national park. And where better to capture the spirit and essence of a long-lost culture than exploring the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.
Mesa Verde National Park is our most recent national park exploration. Stay tuned to find out more about our family adventures in this most amazing national park!
5. Going Underground In The Keweenaw
Who knew so much of our nation’s history could be found in a national park or monument? Who knew one could actually tour a copper mine, and learn the saga of a by-gone era? Well, you can at the Quincy Mine & Hoist in Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Read more about the Quincy Mine and other experiences at Going Underground at Quincy Mine & Hoist. So much to do in Upper Michigan!
6. Biking The Carriage Roads In Acadia
With it’s car-free carriage roads, Acadia National Park, Maine, is an ideal destination for a family biking adventure. Enjoy peaceful rides winding through wooded passages, up hills for amazing views, and beneath stone bridges, all sans motorized vehicles. Nice!
Find out more about Acadia and Bar Harbor in Top Ten Reasons Why Your Next Vacation Should Be in Bar Harbor Maine, and 7 Days and 7 Hikes in Acadia National Park Maine.
7. Gone Fishing In Shenandoah
The U.S. National Parks are an outdoor enthusiast’s mecca. Hiking, biking, swimming. Got them. Canoeing, camping, fishing. Got these too! Like in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Go on and pack that fishing pole for an afternoon of fishing on that Shenandoah vacation.
Getting An Every Kid In A Park Pass
It’s easy to get one! And fun! Simply log into Every Kid in a Park with your 4th grader. Have your child complete a fun, educational activity, and just like that, your 4th grader obtains a free pass to this nation’s vast collection of national parks and public lands.
Here’s a few more tidbits of information about the Every Kid in a Park pass:
- The Pass is available to any U.S. 4th grade student.
- The Pass is also available to 4th grade educators and teachers.
- The Pass is valid from now until August 31, 2016.
- Each Pass has a unique code. It cannot be copied and shared with others.
- The whole family gets free access to the U.S. National Parks system.
- The 4th grader must be present for free entry into the park.
- Bring the printed paper pass with you. Electronic passes are not accepted.
- The paper pass can be traded for a plastic Interagency pass at certain parks. Just ask.
- Every Kid in a Park – The official website for the 4th grade national park initiative.
- How It Works – Follow these steps to receive an Every Kid in a Park pass.
- Plan A Trip – Plan your next national park adventure with these helpful tips.
Calling all parents! Take the Every Kid in a Park Pledge and help further the Every Kid in a Park efforts. Your reward? The downloadable national parks guide, Parks for Play: 35 park adventures for kids of all ages.
Plan A Family National Park Adventure
Did you know that practically anywhere you stand in the United Sates, you are less than 100 miles from a designated national park, monument, shoreline, trail or historic site? So what are you waiting for? Start planning your own national park family vacation. These links are sure to get your plans into high gear.
- Find Your Park
- National Park Service
- 7 Reliable Resources To Plan Your Own Awesome National Park Adventure
- 4 Ultimate National Park Road Trips
For more about my family’s national park adventures, check out Let’s Get Deals Today – National Park Archives. There is a national park just waiting for you and your family to arrive!
Where’s Your Next National Park Vacation?
Do you have a 4th grader in the house? Then what are you waiting for! Go on and experience a national park this year … for free! Your family will thank you.
I’ve shared with you seven reasons why this family returns year after year to national parks. Seven of our most memorable vacations. How about you? Do you vacation in the national parks? Share one of your favorite moments or favorite parks with us!
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
Images by C.Biederman and The National Park Foundation (Every Kid in a Park images).