To celebrate National Park Week (April 20-28), admission to 401 national park service destinations—including seashores, battlefields, historic homes, archeological sites and natural areas such as Everglades and Great Smoky Mountains National Park—will be free to visitors until April 26. America's national parks system totals 84 million acres and comprises 43,000 miles of shoreline, 17,000 miles of trails, 12,000 campsites and more.
There is at least one unit of the national park system in every state. To find the locations near you, visit the National Park Service Website, where you can also read about spring activities or search through the event calendar.
If you get hooked on these amazing areas and are at least 16 years old (children under 16 are always admitted for free), you can purchase an annual pass. The passes are $80 for most adults, although people with permanent disabilities, as well as U.S. Military members and their dependents can get the pass for free. Seniors are also a special case. If you’re at least 62 years old, you can buy a lifetime pass for just $10.
While the NPS is best known for its work in "crown jewel" national parks such as Yellowstone, the agency does more than you might expect. In addition to managing popular protected areas, the agency’s Land & Water Conservation Fund supports recreational facilities such as playgrounds in 99 percent of counties in America.