Spotlight: National Park Week
"There is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea behind the parks...is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us." ~President Franklin D. Roosevelt
What You’ll Find
The perfect opportunity to explore and enjoy these national treasures! Most of the 398 national park sites are free, and for five days (April 22 to 26) during National Park Week, national parks will waive all entrance fees. Parks will also offer special programs and park partners may offer great deals and discounts.
While you could plan a week-long road trip to visit America’s “crown jewels,” there may be a national park in your own backyard! Visit the National Park Service "Find a Park" page, then get your picnic lunch, comfortable shoes, whatever gear you need and have your own national park adventure!
Did you know that national parks benefit local economies (those within 60 miles of the park) to the tune of 258,400 jobs and $12 billion each year? Visitors staying in gateway communities accounted for 56 percent of this through spending on lodging, meals, gas and local transportation, amusements, groceries and other retail purchases. Most national park websites provide lodging information under the “Plan Your Visit” sections, so check it out and stay awhile! You can also book a cabin or a campsite in the national parks using the Recreation.gov search tool found on the homepage.
Make Sure You
Experience national parks through the lens of Emmy-award winning filmmaker Ken Burns by viewing the series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The series’ title echoes Pulitzer Prize writer and historian Wallace Stegner’s earlier assessment that preserving and protecting these spectacular natural, historic and cultural treasures within national parks is "the best idea we ever had.”
It’s true that many of us only sightsee in our own neighborhoods when out-of-town guests visit. During National Park Week, make it a point to identify the closest national park you’ve never visited. You can easily find parks by using the National Park Service’s zip code search feature (you can also type your zip code into Recreation.gov’s search box). Then plan your trip!
You’ve got two more reasons to visit a national park in April! National Park Week shares calendar space with both National Volunteer Week, April 21 to 27, when Americans volunteer in service projects across the country, and Earth Day, April 22 (or Earth Week, April 16-23), when people around the globe show their appreciation for the natural environment. Visit the National Park Service Volunteer page to see if there are ways you can share your skills while simultaneously appreciating the natural environment and celebrating National Park Week.
Check ideas for visiting lesser-known parks at Experience America's Best Idea: National Park Getaways or plan a trip (by state) using the Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary Series.