It’s National Parks Week—Here’s How to Explore Them Easily (and for Free!) Right Now
National Park Week is taking place from April 22 to April 30 this year.
National Parks Week is upon us, and there’s no better time to celebrate the beauty of our country’s 400+ national parks. No matter if you’re heading out to Moab, Joshua Tree or Yosemite to camp, or if you’re wanting to spend some time volunteering to keep our parks clean, here are our tips to get the most out of getting outside.
Use Google Maps New Features
There are four new Google Maps updates that help make it easier. Now, when you search a park, you’ll see photo highlights for key attractions. When you tap on the photo, you’ll get videos and reviews that’ll help you decide if you want to add them to your itinerary. Google has also updated trail locations to highlight its entire route on the map, instead of just a single pin at the start, so you can easily identify where it starts and ends and what the route looks like. Park entrances are now highlighted right on the map, and you can request walking or cycling directions to a particular trailhead. Later this month, they’ll be debuting a feature where you can download park maps for offline use. This way you can easily find your way around without internet access or cellular data.
Enjoy Free Admission
The National Park Service will have five entrance fee-free days this year, all set with the intention of making outdoor recreation accessible for public benefit and enjoyment. “National parks are really amazing places and we want everyone to experience them,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “The entrance fee-free days encourage people to discover the beauty, history, and inspiration awaiting them in more than 400 national parks throughout the country.”
With so many park-adjacent luxury camping properties opening up this season, it seems only logical to book a stay. This spring and summer, we have our sights set on ULUM Moab, Trailborn Rocky Mountains, Field Station Moab, and Under Canvas Joshua Tree, to name a few.
Volunteer to Keep Parks Clean
Many of the National Parks are doing Earth Day volunteer events. Each year, Yosemite schedules volunteer projects both the weekend before and on Earth Day that include ecological restoration and litter cleanup. In the past, projects have been two to three hours in duration, and are appropriate for all ages. Be sure to check in with each National Park’s site for more details.
Download the National Parks App
Overcrowding and reservations aside, a terrific tool to ensure you’re sufficiently planning for that next visit is the National Park Service app, which streamlines the experience at any of the nation’s 423 NPS locations by consolidating information on hiking trails, lodging, news alerts, dining options, and more. Download the app for free on Apple and Android or consult with the National Park Service website to plan ahead so you can enjoy the following days of complimentary admission.
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