Catch a fee-free weekend at your favorite national park this summer

Have you hugged a national park lately? Go on, we’ll wait.

(Actually, with state parks in California potentially closing because of the budget crisis, they could use a bit of love, too.)

When you give the love and visit a national park on one of the fee-free weekends this summer, you get it back. That’s when fees will be waived at the 147 national parks that normally charge entrance fees.

The weekends that you’ll want to mark on your calendar are:
• June 20-21, 2009 (Father’s Day weekend)
• July 18-19, 2009
• August 15-16, 2009

Just a few of the national parks that are included: Grand Canyon (Arizona), Bryce and Zion (Utah), Yosemite (California), Haleakala (Hawaii), Yellowstone (Montana/Wyoming), Glacier (Montana), Grand Teton (Wyoming), and Acadia (Maine).

You might have to face a few extra people, but I think these fee-free days bring the parks back to the people, don’t you? And they’re good reminders of what’s at our disposal here in the U.S.

What’s free during the fee-free weekends are entrance fees (usually ranging from $3-25), commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. You’ll still have to pay for things like camping and concessions.

In addition to the waived fees, concessioners at many of these national parks are also offering special discounts at gift shops, restaurants, and tour operators.