National parks are the best idea we ever had.
Absolutely American, absolutely democratic,
they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.
The National Park Service turns 100 this year! It was formed on August 25th, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act.”
To celebrate this amazing milestone, the 127 National Park Service sites that normally charge an entrance fee will waive it for 16 days in 2016. Free admission for everyone! That includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person).
Those fee-free days are:
January 18th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
April 16th through the 24th for National Park Week
August 25th through 28th, National Park Service’s Birthday
September 24th, National Public Lands Day
November 11th, Veterans Day
Of course, there are hundreds of sites that are free all year long. You should totally try to visit as many of those as you can too; just maybe not on these fee-free days.
FYI, annual passes cost $80, which is a pretty good deal; a DE parks pass costs me $70 as I technically live in PA (would only cost me $35 if I lived a hundred yards to the west, across the state line). Free annual passes are available for active military and their dependents, for those with permanent disabilities, for those who volunteer for 250+ hours, and for fourth graders. Seniors over the age of 62 can get a lifetime pass for $10 (plus a processing fee unless you do it in person).
When did you last visit a national park? Which ones are a must-see?