Celebrate the first day of summer at a National Park: It’s free!

The National Park Service is kicking off summer today by offering free admission to around 150 parks that normally charge an entrance fee. This is the first time that the National Parks has offered the deal in honor of the first day of summer, so if you have the day off get out and celebrate the season.

I just spent a few days last week exploring Shenandoah National Park, which normally charges $15 per vehicle or $8 per person. Spending three days in the wilderness (and away from my computer) made me feel more relaxed and rejuvenated than any spa ever could. I almost wanted to don a ranger hat and never leave!

Shenandoah will also waive entrance fees on Saturday to celebrate its 75th anniversary. If you want to take advantage of the deal today but don’t know where to go, the National Park Service maintains a page that details all the parks that waive entrance fees on fee-free days. Some park concessions are also offering deals today, including Swan Mountain Outfitters at Glacier National Park, who will be offering $5 off trail rides for groups, kids, and Montana residents.

Other fee-free days this year include September 24th, known as Public Lands Day, as well as Veterans Day weekend from November 11 to 13th. If you can’t make it on any of these special days, don’t fret: Many of the 394 National Parks never charge admission.

[Photo by Libby Zay]