Outdoor play and exploration is a fun and valuable part of a healthy lifestyle for every stage of life. It can support mental wellbeing, physical health and can even fortify relationships. See if you can coordinate an adventure to a U.S. national park to amplify your seasonal experience. Did you know there are more than 400 different U.S. national parks?
Mapping out U.S. National Parks on a Budget
Admissions to most U.S. national parks range from $3 to $30 (generally for vehicle entry). Here are a few money-saving tips for your adventure:
- Visit on free days. Roughly 117 national parks charge an entrance fee. However, on some days throughout the year, these parks offer free admission – some of which include weekends.
- Walk in. Walking admissions, rather than tour or vehicle admissions, can be much less expensive. See this as an opportunity to get some extra steps in for the day!
- Opt for camping rather than hotel lodging. Camping overnight may require a little additional preparation, but can help you trim costs from your total trip bill. Just make sure to plan ahead as many parks book up quickly.
- Scour nearby lodging websites and social media for park discounts. Many accommodations near national parks offer admission deals and often promote them online. Look at some of these sites in advance. If you were planning on hotel lodging and the pricing fits your budget, you might strike a good discount on park admissions, too!
- Purchase an annual park pass. If you and your family are thinking about visiting a few different national parks this year, you can save money by purchasing an annual park pass. An annual pass costs less than paying for each park entry separately – especially if you are planning group trips.
- Check out a national monument. There are around 80 national monuments and access to most of them is free. See if there is a national monument near you!
- Be prepared. You can save a little extra money by bringing your own reusable water bottles for refills, as well as packing snacks and lunches. Protect yourself from the elements and save extra cash by remembering to pack your sunscreen, bug spray, hats and sunglasses.
“National Parks on a Budget,” Matt Villano, travelchannel.com, accessed on June 8, 2017.