Every National Park Is Free This Weekend

by Cindi SutterChief Communicator & Editor of Spirited Table® - Written By DUSTIN NELSON Published On 04/15/2019 @dlukenelson 

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

There are few things in the US that are as wonderful as the nation's national parks. Lucky for you, the National Park Service (NPS) is inviting you to enjoy the national parks for free on Saturday, April 20

National Park Week starts on April 20 and runs through April 28. To kick off the festivities, the park system is opening its doors to everyone. It's one of five days in 2019 where the NPS is offering free entry at parks that usually charge admission fees. Though, services like campground or bike rentals will not be waived.

Undoubtedly some will ask why the parks aren't always free. Many national parks are free, which is impressive given that they're underfunded and it's not cheap to care for, preserve, and restore the parks. Many parks have a mixture of activities available as well. Mammoth Cave, for instance, charges for tours of the world's longest cave system, but "surface activities" -- hiking, biking, use of the river -- are free.

Moreover, the fees parks usually charge are a good deal. If you go to Zion National Park on a non-free day, it's just $35 for an entire carload of people to enjoy the park for a week. But if you're looking for an excuse to enjoy the great outdoors now that the weather is turning warm, a free day in a national park is a nice start. 

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer on the news team at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.