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In case you haven’t noticed, the days in 2012 are starting to get pretty limited and before you know it it’s going to be time for 2013. The National Park Service is already getting set for the calendar switch, as they just announced their freebie days for the following year. So if you still have a couple more national park visits on your bucket list, you might be able to visit for a few fewer bucks.
Up first is January 21, which corresponds with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and after that Uncle Sam is opening up his back yard for an entire week. It’s pretty much a park free-for-all during National Park Week, as the gates swing open free of charge between April 22 and April 26.
It seems that every few months there’s a chance to score a gratis visit to some of the country’s greatest treasures, and that chance is coming up once again. It might be getting a little cooler where you call home, but it’s probably still warm enough to enjoy one more slice of the great outdoors.
In support of Veteran’s Day the National Park Service is continuing their free entrance days this upcoming weekend, as they’re planning to swing open the gates on November 10-12. These are the last fee-free days of the year, so if you haven’t taken advantage of Uncle Sam’s generosity in the past now is the time to do so.
New York City / National Parks / Tourism / Landmarks / Statue of Liberty / Hurricane Sandy / → All Tags
Before Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy roared into the area last week, the Statue of Liberty was just recovering from her most recent nip-and-tuck. Her interior visitor areas were closed for about a year for the extensive renovation and upgrade, but now it looks like the Statue of Liberty is closed for business once again as a result of the recent weather.
We usually don’t just head over to Thailand for the weekend, but the next time we’re in the neighborhood we’re definitely go to visit a local 7-Eleven again. We’re not looking for a Slurpee—although we might get one of those too—but we’re interested in something else that the convenience store chain is working on.
Tourist tickets for all of the country’s 148 different national parks will soon be available for sale at 7-Eleven stores across the country. It sounds like the National Parks Office is still finalizing the agreement, but expect the extra amenity next show up next to spare batteries and ramen noodles soon.
Happy birthday to the National Park Service! Not only are they responsible for maintaining Uncle Sam’s backyard and making sure you aren't mauled by grizzlies, but they're behind the scenes working on spruce-ups to celebrate their 96th year. Sure there are some national parks older than that, but it’s been almost 100 years since the government decided to organize the parks into one big happy family.
Up first is a new mobile website—www.nationalparks.org—optimized to look great and load quickly on your phone or other device. Here they’re promising a one-stop-shop source for news, commentary, videos, photos, and pretty much everything else you’d want to know regarding each and every one of the country’s national parks. The website can also pinpoint some of the parks closest to your location, and it’ll provide the current weather and related information—so you know whether it’s safe to venture out of your RV.
Tax Refund Vacations / Wyoming Travel / National Parks / Yellowstone National Park / COD / BIL / Billings Travel / JAC / Jackson Hole Travel / → All Tags
Tax day is coming, and you're probably excited not because you look forward to sifting through receipts and credit card statements, but because you're getting a fat refund. Probably. The economy may be on its way back up, but you should try to stretch that tax refund as far as you can...like with a little "you did a great job last year" trip.
When Uncle Sam hopefully probably maybe gives you back some hard earned cash this year, a great way to spend it is on a travel experience that thanks the USA for the cash. Go with Yellowstone National Park, as it's not only the the first American national park, but the world's first plot of land devoted to nature and preserving it's beauty.
It’s not even April yet and already we know what we want from Santa this year. On the list: our very own national park, and it sounds like this may be a possibility if a US Representative gets his way. The deal is that one Congressman thinks that selling off some of the country’s national park land is a great idea, as this could raise some cash to pay down the country’s debt.
Sure paying off the national debt sounds like a pretty good thing, but we’re hardly 100% behind the idea to sell off spots like the Grand Canyon in order to do so. Cliff Stearns—he’s a Republican from Florida—thinks that the sales to raise some extra funds is what any family would do, so it makes perfect sense for the government to do so as well.
In the way long ago past of 2011, we may have mentioned that there were some free entry days coming to National Parks across the United states in 2012. Well the future is here—this weekend—so pack up the minivan, Prius, or station wagon and visit your favorite national park on the house.
Uncle Sam is opening the gates to all his parks as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, so it might be a good idea to do something nice—like donating your time or money—rather than just freeloading a free hike. The admission fees are waived January 14-16.
Nature Travel / Costa Rica Travel / Hiking / Green Travel / Active Travel / National Parks / Volcanoes / Volcano Travel / → All Tags
Have you got a spare three or four hours? If you were in Costa Rica right now, those could be spent hiking around a volcano and petting frogs. Sure, everyone knows the giant Arenal volcano towards the center of the Central American country, but Costa Rica has six other active volcanoes, one of which is Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, located in the Guanacaste province and within its own National Park.
Rincón de la Vieja is serious business as far as volcanoes go. Heading up to its top rim and caldera is no longer allowed (too risky!) but local, experienced guides can easily lead you on a several-hour hike to spot fumaroles (steam vents), bubbly muddy water cauldrons, cute froggies and waterfalls so clear and cool you'd think it was Norway instead.
You better revise your list and ask Santa for one of those stainless steel water bottles, as there’s one place your plastic bottle is no longer welcome.
Initially the head honcho over at the National Park Service wasn’t totally cool with banning plastic bottles at the parks across the land, but now it sounds like things might move forward at places including the Grand Canyon. Parks considering getting ready of plastic need to do a few things first, however, including making a checklist to report how much waste they’ll eliminate, as well as the effect on businesses and other groups that benefit from selling stuff at the park.
If your ride aboard the commuter rail just isn’t giving you that warm and fuzzy feeling this holiday season, it might be time to look for a different kind of train. The Polar Express is certainly an option, especially the one offered by the Grand Canyon Railway in the days leading up to Christmas.
All your favorite aspects of the children’s book—and none of the creepy ones from the feature film—come alive as you board the train just outside the Grand Canyon in Williams, Arizona. After a customary declaration of “All Aboard,” the train chugs off through the woods and wilderness on its way to the North Pole. Cookies and hot chocolate are served on the train while enjoying a rendition of the classic story, and then the main event arrives when it's time to visit Santa and his reindeer.
The outdoor season might be winding down for 2011—it’s getting chilly—but that just means it’s time to start looking forward to 2012. Sure there’s plenty of stuff to do in the winter, but it won’t take many blizzards or snowpocalypses before we’re dreaming of spring at national parks across the country.
Even better than a visit to a slice of the country’s backyard is a free visit, and thankfully the National Park Service has already released its freebie days for next year. Start planning your trips now, as we’re sure the RVs and pop-up trailers will be swarming the entrance gates.