August 25th is the National Park Service’s birthday and you get a present — free admission to any national park unit! There are also other free dates coming up — one on National Public Lands Day (09/28) and then again Veterans Day weekend! Here’s the link to the free dates for 2013. Three great opportunities to explore your national parks for FREE! Look for special NPS events in your area on THIS calendar.
You may have read our previous post, National Parks – America’s Best Idea, or you may have seen our link to the national parks we’ve visited, or you may have just noticed that we have a lot of posts about national parks. It’s because we have a goal: to visit all of the 59 US national parks. We’re making progress, too. This year we added four new parks to our total, bringing us to 42 parks visited out of 59!! Every park we’ve been to is spectacular, and we’re sure you won’t be disappointed if you visit one. And you can’t really go wrong with free entry!
The good news is that some of the ones left on our list are easily accessible, like Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains. But we also have four backcountry parks in Alaska that are going to take a little more effort (and a little more cash!) to get to. But we’re going to do it!
Here’s the full list of parks we still have to visit:
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Gates of the Arctic
Great Sand Dunes
Great Smoky Mountains
Pinnacles (the newest national park!)
We highly recommend setting travel goals for yourself and your family. Goals get you motivated and give you a focus. It’s fun to plan and make steps toward a goal as well, and goal setting and taking the steps to complete a goal are great lessons for kids.
We realize that setting a goal to visit all 59 national parks might be a little too much for some people, but you can start small. Maybe you could set a goal to visit one new place each year, or to try a new kind of vacation: maybe a home exchange or a camping trip. Or maybe your goal could be to accumulate enough frequent flier miles to take a trip to your dream destination in five years. Once you’ve got your goal, start taking the steps to make your goals a reality. If you’ve already got a goal, evaluate how well you’re doing on getting there! And please, share your goals in the comments section.
We hope you get a chance to get out and enjoy a week or a weekend in one of your national parks soon.