How to Get the Most Out of National Parks Week

Next week will be National Parks Week, which means free admission to national parks for the next two weekends. If there is a national park near you, here’s what you can do to make the most of your free visit.

If you’re not sure if there is a national park nearby, check out Find Your Own Park , which is run by the National Park Service. Even if you are not near a popular park like Yosemite, there may be many smaller gems in your area. Once you’ve chosen a park you want to visit for free this coming weekend, plan your trip .

  • Find out what you want to see or where you want to hike . Resources like Chimani (a parks app), a list of National Park Service routes, or recommendations from friends and family can help you find the best places to visit.
  • Know how to avoid the crowd if that’s what you want. Free admission means more people are likely to visit the parks at the same time as you. TomTom partnered with National Park Service to show you paths that are less traveled – literally the least traveled road – and therefore less likely to be crowded with people. You can also deal with the crowd by starting early and actually walking more than a mile or two along the popular trails (since most of the people in this place are downhill quickly).
  • Get your kids involved in this business . If you are bringing children with you, involve them in the Young Rangers program to keep them interested in nature.
  • Find the most stunning spots to admire the views (and take a photo) . The former National Geographic photographer reveals both the best hidden spots in the national parks and the most breathtaking locations (no surprise there is some overlap).
  • Get ready for the weather . Make sure you are dressed correctly (layers are good) and have protection from the sun, wind, or rain so you can enjoy your time in the park.

Regardless of which park you end up visiting during National Parks Week, take a little time to prepare and you’ll have a much better time outdoors.

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