By Vicki Little
These days it takes something pretty amazing to pull people’s attention away from their screens. Luckily nature has provided us with the perfect alternative entertainment in the form of beautiful scenery, sparkling lakes, and majestic animals. Even better, these family-friendly places have enough room for the crowds on free days! So get your calendars out, mark off these dates, and make some plans!
- January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- February 20: Presidents’ DAy
- April 15-16 and 22-23: National Park Week
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Of the 563 public national wildlife refuges, only a few normally charge a fee. All will be free on January 16, February 20, September 30, and November 11-12.
Bureau of Land Management – The BLM will waive fees for visitors to the National System of Public Lands on January 16, September 30, and November 11-12.
U.S. Forest Service – Fees are waived at most of its day-use recreation sites on September 30, and November 11-12.
In addition to these free days, any 4th grade student, active duty military, and citizens with a permanent disability can get a free annual pass. For more information about the variety of discounted passes available, please visit the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass page. Another great option if you are planning multiple visits is buying the National Park Annual Pass for only $80 for the entire family that gives you access to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many others. Find more info here.
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers for her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time…well, she is still waiting for some of that.
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