Blog Post Jennifer Errick Nov 9, 2012

5 Ways to Celebrate Veterans Day — Free — at a National Park

Why not take the next fee-free day throughout the National Park System to learn more about America's military history?

On November 11, the Department of the Interior will waive entrance fees throughout the National Park System in honor of Veterans Day. That means we can plan a getaway to any of these inspirational destinations and get in free.

Not sure where to go? Here are five of the many parks that commemorate different aspects of our military history.

  • Boston National Historical Park, Massachusetts. Think you know all about the American Revolution? Walk the Freedom Trail through downtown Boston and experience 16 different historic sites, from the site of the Boston Massacre to Paul Revere’s house to the Bunker Hill Monument. You can almost feel the iconic figures from U.S. history books coming to life in one of the country’s oldest cities.

  • The National Mall, Washington, D.C. The Park Service maintains a trove of iconic memorials within easy walking distance in the heart of the nation’s capital, including the World War II and Korean War Memorials honoring thousands of war heroes. Among these is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial featuring more than 58,000 names etched into walls of granite in honor of those who died while in service in Vietnam or were still unaccounted for when the wall was constructed in 1982.

  • Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park, Virginia. This Civil War park is not as well-known as others in the region, yet it preserves the history of four major battles between Union and Confederate troops from 1862 to 1864 and is described by the Park Service as “the bloodiest ground in all North America." Just an hour south of Washington, D.C., visitors can experience several chapters in one of the great stories that shaped America.

  • Fort Davis National Historic Site, Texas. If you’re curious about life on the frontier, this park will give insight into what it was like to serve in a remote military outpost in the 1800s. Once housing more than 400 enlisted men and officers, the views at this park are as much a part of the visitor experience as its historic buildings, and the landscape still looks much like it did to a soldier in the 19th century.

  • Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, California. Commemorate the great efforts civilians played in World War II, including the country’s famous "Rosies” who kept factories humming after soldiers left to fight in the 1940s. This Richmond park includes a historic ship, an educational center with Park Ranger tours, and a unique memorial to the hard-working women of the era, modeled after the style of a liberty ship.

Of course, whether you head to Yellowstone or Dry Tortugas, Rocky Mountain or Antietam, you can feel patriotic about your trip. The Park Service released this short video earlier this week featuring a veteran of the U.S. Marines who now works at Yellowstone, to give you a little more inspiration as you pack your bags.

We thank all of our veterans and park employees for their service as we enjoy our national parks this weekend.

About the author

  • Jennifer Errick Managing Editor of Online Communications

    Jennifer co-produces NPCA's podcast, The Secret Lives of Parks, and writes and edits a wide variety of online content. She has won multiple awards for her audio storytelling.

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