America’s Best Idea – the national parks – is even better when it’s free! America’s national parks will offer free admission on 10 days during 2017. In celebration of the National Park Service’s 101st birthday, all 412 of its parks, monuments and historical sites are open to the public for free on Aug. 25. The offer includes entrance, commercial tour and transportation entrance fees. However, reservation, camping, tour, concession fees are not included, as well as those collected by third parties. Get out your calendar, save the dates and start planning your national park adventures today! With more than 84 million acres of spectacular scenery, 17,000 miles of trails, 5,000 miles of shoreline, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, and 100 million museum items and an infinite number of authentic American stories to tell, national parks offer something for every taste.
“America’s national parks welcome more than 280 million visitors a year. To say thanks for that support and invite every American to visit these treasures that they own, we are declaring nine days of free admission next year,” said National Park Director Jonathan Jarvis. “Whether it’s that once-in-a-lifetime family trip to Yellowstone or taking a daily walk along the National Mall in Washington, D.C., or the moment at Central High School that your child suddenly understands what civil rights are all about, national parks offer places for unforgettable experiences.
“National parks not only protect and preserve the places we most value; they also add enormous economic value to nearby communities and the entire nation. Visitor spending represents a $30 billion annual benefit to the national economy and supports more than 250,000 jobs,” said Jarvis. “Fee-free days are a great way to both thank those visitors and introduce parks to first-timers who can find a new place to call an old favorite.”
Those in search of superlatives will find them in national parks, including the country’s highest point (in Denali National Park) and lowest point (in Death Valley National Park), deepest lake (Crater Lake National Park), longest cave (Mammoth Cave National Park), tallest trees (Redwood National Park), and highest waterfall (Yosemite National Park).
The ten entrance fee-free days for national parks remaining in 2017 will be:
January 16: Martin Luther King Jr. Day February 20: Presidents Day April 15-16: National Park Week Weekends April 22-23: National Park Week Weekends
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 30: National Public Lands Day
- November 11-12: Veterans Day Weekend
If you’re planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands-more than 2,000 in all. The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online.
*Fee waiver includes: entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise
Free entrance days to national parks for 2017 —->>> CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
ILLINOIS NATIONAL STATE PARKS AND MONUMENTS
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
Eleven States: ID,IL,IA,KS,MO,MT,NE,ND,OR,SD,WA
Between May 1804 and September 1806, 31 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery. In their search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, they opened a window into the west for the young United States.
NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Abraham Lincoln believed in the ideal that everyone in America should have the opportunity to improve his/her economic and social condition. Lincoln’s life was the embodiment of that idea. We know him as the sixteenth president but he was also a spouse, parent, and neighbor who experienced the same hopes, dreams, and challenges of life that are still experienced by many people.
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
Various States, IL,IA,NE,UT,WY
Explore the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail across five states to see the route 70,000 Mormons traveled from 1846 to 1869 to escape religious persecution. The Pioneer Company of 1846-1847 established the first route from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah, covering about 1,300 miles.
In a growing Chicago neighborhood, diverse people and stories intertwine. All were seeking opportunity. Some succeeded. Others were limited—by race, gender, or economic status. Their stories came together in Pullman, a planned community famed for its urban design and architecture.
NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL
Remember and commemorate the survival of the Cherokee people, forcefully removed from their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee to live in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. They traveled by foot, horse, wagon, or steamboat in 1838-1839.