From coast to coast, travelers to any of the national parks (and monuments!) in the United States can take advantage of four free-entry days as part of National Park Week, running April 15 to 23. The bookend free weekends (15/16 and 22/23) provide visitors from around the world an opportunity to experience the beauty, majesty, and open space of America’s treasured places.
While you’re planning your trip, here are some helpful tips for making the most of your adventure:
- Find a park near you. There are 58 national parks in the US, California has the most (nine), followed by Alaska (eight), and Utah (five). Thanks to helpful sites like FindYourPark.com, it’s easy to find a national park or monument to visit near you. Although Alaska has some of the largest national parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park, drawing more than 11 million visitors last year according to National Geographic.
- Take some time to research activities in and around the park. Getting to the park is the first step, but what to do when you get there can be a fun challenge. Grab a map at your favorite local retailer or download a helpful adventure app to your phone before you head out and get an idea of activities in the area. TomTom even has a slick new way to find the trails less traveled in national parks.
- Know before you go. Each national park has its own rules and regulations on things like campsite reservations, when/where pets are allowed, permits, etc. The most up-to-date information can be found on the National Park Service website, where you can search rules and information by individual parks.
One thing all national parks have in common is restrictions on gasoline generator usage and engine idling during quiet hours. Some go so far as to restrict usage to two-hour time blocks throughout the day and prohibiting usage in tent-only areas. If you’re looking to keep small electronics like phones, cameras, and tablets charged up, or if you rely on power to get you through the days and nights, check out the award-winning Goal Zero Yeti Portable Power Stations; serious power without the noise, fumes, or gasoline of a traditional portable inverter generator. Never again will you have to be “that person” at the camp ground with the nonstop buzzing of a generator.