Hands down, our National Parks are one of the best things that America has ever done, bar none. Though only roughly a third of the countries 401 National Parks charge an entrance fee, on special days – like Martin Luther King Jr Day, Presidents Day Weekend, Opening Weekend for National Park Week, National Park Service Birthday, National Public Lands Day Holidays From Red Rocks to Yellowstone, 133 parks from every corner of the United States waive their designated entrance fees; tomorrow being Veteran’s Day is no different. However, it is the last time in 2014 that they’ll be absolutely free to the public – something you should be sure to take advantage of!
For some, a day of honor – and others a day of remembrance, Veteran’s Day gives us time to reflect on our national identity and educate ourselves on our short, but dense history. And what better place than these both breathtaking and historic locations; a handful of which were once pivotal landscapes for battles from the French & Indian War, the American Revolution – like the Minute Man National Historic Park in Massachusetts, Gettysburg National Military Park and other locations from The Civil War to the Mexican-American War and American Indian Wars. Others parks and monuments give us pause for the fallen from World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War. For a state by state guide, head to the Website for the Dept of the Interior.
I’ve only had the pleasure of frolicking through a few of our fabled foliage enriched forests and wildlife infused nature preserves, but believe you me I intend on visiting them all in my lifetime (a girl can dream, right?). When I was in 5th grade, my grandmother whistfully dragged me away to Alaska for an Elder Hostel where grandparents brought their grandchildren for the Summer Solstice. First of all, how epic of a time of year – on the Summer Solstice it only got dim, never dark; it was surreal! We ventured into Denali National Park and Preserve, saw moose, white water rafted and hiked Mt Denali itself. Fast forward to recently, and I’ve had the pleasure of gallivanting through the West Coast with my fiance – it’s taken us through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington and tons of beautiful parks along the way. From Bryce Canyon and Zion in Utah, the McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area in Colorado and Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest – we gave into our wanderlust and enjoyed extended days and nights driving through some of our countries most valued treasures. If I wasn’t working tomorrow, believe me – I’d be visiting another park in a heartbeat, but for now I just need to live vicariously through y’all! So tell me, which park will you be visiting tomorrow?