Okay, so with winter seemingly never ending here in Portland. We're on snow day #6 off work and school, due to a foot of snow that won't leave and roads covered in 2-3 inches of ice. Today we're getting freezing rain and maybe even more snow, so we're all getting a little stir crazy and are trying to find out if there's something like a sun dance we can do to summon some rays. Even I'm starting to think that hiking when the weather is nicer sounds like a good plan, and I'm not really that outdoorsy.
The upside is that we're staying warm, I can watch the birds picking through the snow and the seeds and other goodies I put out to help them while the ground is frozen, I'm getting more work done at home than normal, and we're working our way through our DVR and Netflix lists at a more rapid pace than usual.
So, in preparation for the warmer temps, or for those of you who don't care how cold it is or how much snow is on the ground, let's talk about how you can get out and explore your national parks this year for absolutely free. Each year, the U.S. National Park Services open their gates to everyone and waive the daily entry fee to make getting outside cheaper and more fun.
If you're an avid outdoors lover, then you may already have an annual pass, because you want to explore all the things. If you're like me, you only go to the parks when you're on a road trip, so you can't see the value of spending almost $10 (for the record, it's just $80) for the year when you only spend maybe 3 days at a National Park. For you, save some money and plan your trips around these free days. The parks maybe be more crowded, but that can be part of the fun. Unfortunately, more people may mean fewer glimpses of wildlife, but it really depends on the park.
Pack your cooler with some delicious foods, a blanket, and throw some clothes in an overnight bag if you plan to make a getaway of it (because, sometimes you aren't that close to a National Park), because getting outside just got easier:
Canada has National Parks of its own, and they were established before the U.S. NPS. With tons of open spaces, it's a great place to head to get outdoors, plus they also have fee-free days at all 46 parks across the country. This year, this has been extended to every day of the year to celebrate 150 years of independence. Go online to get your free pass now for 2017.
Now that you have some options, all you need to do is plan your trips, find some awesome hiking boots/shoes, charge your camera and get out there.
What's your favorite national park and why do you love it?