Here in the US we’re blessed with having some of the most beautiful park systems in the world. From coast to coast there are millions of square miles of forest, woodland and plains that are open for the enjoyment of the public. Unfortunately, the entrance fee to many of our National Parks can often be quite expensive, and the cost steadily increases with each passing year.
Luckily, there are plenty of low cost ways to access the attractions of the National Park Service for those in the know. Here are a just a few ways to enjoy the majesty of nature that won’t cause you to take out an installment loan or max out a credit card to afford it.
While some National Parks have no entrance fees, there are others that are free on specific days. These free admission days will be vary from one park to another, so do a quick online search to find the website of the attractions nearest you and see which days are free for public entrance.
Picture this: you’ve finally gotten the family loaded in the car, drove to your nearest park, pay the entrance fee, and then find that the path you wanted to hike has been closed for maintenance or the waterfall you wanted to see has run dry in the summer heat. Frustrating, right?
The truth is, that while the National Park Service tries to make our national parklands as accessible to the public as possible, there’s simply no controlling Mother Nature. Before you spend the money to visit a park, check the seasonal conditions and contact a park ranger to ensure that you’ll actually be able to enjoy all the attractions you want to see.
Just like an amusement or theme park, as soon as you cross the line into a National Park, the price of anything you want to buy immediately increases substantially. Even something as simple as a bottled water can double in price.
To avoid the high prices, plan ahead and be sure to bring all the supplies you need with you into the park. Stock up on beverages, food, and other camping necessities before you enter the park, and you’ll save yourself a fair bit of cash.
While all of our National Parks are beautiful in their own unique ways, some will be closer to where you live than others. If you’re looking to save money, do a little research and find which park is closest to you. The reason is simple - longer trips invariably cost more money than shorter ones.
Not only do long drives cause wear and tear on your car and eat up gas money, you may have to eat out more (it’s always more expensive than eating at home) and if it’s a day trip, you may be tempted to spend money on a hotel and drive home the following day.