All national parks are waiving their entrance fees on Saturday, April 16, for the kickoff to National Park Week.
This spring, as many parks and juristictions relax their pandemic restrictions, many people are eager to get outside and explore — and National Park Week provides a perfect start to the travel season. All national park sites will be free to enter on April 16, and many will also host special events on a variety of themes through April 24.
Do you need an excuse to plan a park adventure? Here are 6.
1. It is peak waterfall season at many national park sites.
As temperatures warm in the spring, snow begins to melt, forming the picturesque cascades many of us love to see on our hikes and scenic drives. These 10 parks are great choices for waterfall viewing — and many others are, too.
2. It is an excellent time to see wildflowers.
In many areas of the country, meadows and hillsides are just warming up, and flowers are beginning to open their buds and dot the landscapes with bursts of color. Learn more about some of the best parks for seeing wildflowers.
3. Every month is Black History Month.
We hear a lot about Black history in February, but people make history — and national parks preserve it — all year long. 2022 is the 200th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s birth, and her namesake park in Maryland is hosting special events through September. Learn more about Black history, women’s history and Indigenous history throughout the park system.
4. The spring bird migration is underway.
From mid-March to late May, millions of birds are on the move, offering opportunities to see a variety of species in colorful mating plumage. Where these birds will be in mid-April is up to them and can be tricky to predict, but you can read about the 25 parks with the most bird species and follow up with parks near you to get more specific tips.
5. There may well be an amazing park you’ve never been to that’s an easy drive from your front door.
Most people in the United States live near a national park site, and many may not even realize it. (More than half of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive of Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone.) If you are in a major urban area, odds are even higher. Use this handy map to find some of the places closest to you.
6. You can inspire a budding junior ranger in your life.
Bring a child you love with you to a national park, and you can help improve their health, boost their creativity and foster their confidence in the outdoors. From wooded trails to museum exhibits to ranger talks, all our parks offer something interesting or beautiful to inspire a young mind. You can also explore junior ranger programs at parks around the country, many of which can be completed online.
Learn more about National Park Week on the National Park Service website, including themes and events happening throughout the week.
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