By Vicki Little
It is easy to get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget to take time to enjoy some downtime. We tell ourselves that we can’t afford to take a day off or we are too busy to spend the day relaxing with family. What we need to be telling ourselves is that it is necessary for our minds and bodies to relax and recharge. The National Parks make this even easier with their free days. So get out your planner and write in an important meeting held out in nature on these days!
- January 15: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday
- April 21: First day of National Park Week
- September 22: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: 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 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), February 19 (Presidents’ Day), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), October 14 (First Sunday of National Wildlife Refuge Week), and November 11 (Veterans Day)
Bureau of Land Management – The BLM will waive fees for visitors to the National System of Public Lands on January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), February 19 (Presidents’ Day), June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), November 11 (Veterans Day).
U.S. Forest Service – Fees are waived at most of its day-use recreation sites on January 15 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), February 19 (Presidents’ Day), June 9 (National Get Outdoors Day), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), November 10-11 (Veterans Day Weekend).
In addition to these free days, any 4th-grade student, active-duty military personnel, 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 to purchase the National Park Annual Pass for only $80 for the entire family. It gives you access to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many others. Find more info here.
Vicki Little is a preschool teacher 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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