(CNN) – It’s officially fall, and the US National Park Service has a great way for people to celebrate Equinox this week and a return to cooler weather.
September 24 marks another day of free entry to all National Park Service sites that normally charge an entry fee.
This day off is celebrated National Public Land Day.
It was founded in 1994 and takes place annually on the fourth Saturday in September. The NPS says the day is “traditionally the nation’s largest single day voluntary work.”
So what is free?
All entrance fees. This includes not only the famous national parks such as the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone and Yosemite, but all other types of sites managed by the NPS:
• National battlefields such as Wilson’s Creek in Missouri
• National Historic Sites like the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey
• National monuments such as Cabrillo in California
• National coasts such as Canaveral in Florida
• National preserves such as Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho
click here for a complete listing of all NPS locations referred to as “units”.
Most NPS sites are free all year round anyway. Only 108 charge a fee. And as you might guess, it’s mostly the big names that ask you to pay to enter: places like Sheets in utah, Rocky Mountain in Colorado and Shenandoah in Va.
But they are all for free this saturday.
One catch: “The admission fee waiver for toll-free days does not cover amenities or usage fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours,” says the NPS.
Planning pays off
If you’re not a big planner, it might be a good idea to get into this habit—especially if you want to check out a popular NPS site on a day off.
Of these more than 420 sites in the national park system, the 25 were best more than half of the total number of visits to the system last year. Some parks are setting attendance records in 2021.
If you want to visit a specific website, check their website first. For example, some major roads have recently been closed Death Valley National Park (Yes, even desert regions can suffer flood damage).
Did you miss this day off? There’s one left in 2022: Friday, November 11 (Veteran’s Day).
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