veterans. In addition, every national park is part of the collective identity that defines who we are and where we came from as a nation. They are tactile reminders of the values, the ideals, and the freedoms that our veterans protect.
If you’re looking for a new place to hike and/or an opportunity for a fun road trip before the snow flies this season, you can enjoy FREE admission to all of the USA’s national parks in honor of Veterans Day. Park properties also include monuments, lakeshores, seashores, and recreation areas. That's a lot of scenic places to enjoy the great outdoors, so don't forget your hiking gaiters!
Out of the 423 units in the National Park Service, only 108 parks regularly charge an entrance fee, but if you want to visit a popular park for free that normally does charge, now is your chance. The fee waiver includes entrance fees, but not charges for reservations, camping, tours, concessions and fees collected by third parties. Once you arrive, make your first stop the park visitor center to pick up maps and guides and for the latest information on everything from road conditions and ranger programs to hiking trails and campgrounds.
As you might expect, millions of people visit national parks each year, and especially in 2021 now that folks are traveling again following Covid-19 lockdowns and closures. If you’re looking for travel ideas (or want to avoid crowds), these are the top 10 most visited national parks as of 2020:
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina
2. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho
3. Zion National Park, Utah
4. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
5. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
6. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
7. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
8. Acadia National Park, Maine
9. Olympic National Park, Washington
10. Joshua Tree National Park, California
America’s national parks have something for everyone— 84+ million acres of spectacular scenery, historic landmarks, and cultural treasures. Take a break and experience some place new, watch wildlife (but watch for snakes!), enjoy some fresh air, and get a little exercise. And, since admission is FREE to all 423 park properties on November 11, 2021, now is a great time to get up, get out, and explore while saving money.
Please know that as of this writing, masks are required in all national park service buildings and on all forms of enclosed public transportation, regardless of location or vaccination status. Keep in mind that a Razer Neck Gaiter makes for a cool and useful face covering.