Prime RV season is upon us, and no time should be wasted in planning your adventures. What better way to kick off your 2016 travels than with a visit to a national park to celebrate National Park Week? From April 16-24, 2016, you can enjoy free entry to over 400 national parks across the U.S. in honor of the National Park Service’s centennial.
If you can’t make it out this weekend, check out a few other times of year when you can save money with free entrance:
August 25-28: National Park Service Birthday Weekend
September 24: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day
To help you prepare for your national park adventures, here are our top tips for a stress-free vacation:
Our country’s national parks are protected for a reason, as they contain some of the most incredible geological elements and amazing sights North America has to offer. These factors can draw in a large crowd leading to booked up campsites.
First and foremost, you must do your research and decide which park or parks that you want to visit. Many popular parks such as Yosemite and Zion require booking months in advance to reserve an RV site. You can look online at recreation.gov for booking windows and campsite availability.
Once you’ve decided which parks you want to visit, research weather patterns and decide which time of year is appropriate to visit. Like many tourist destinations, the U.S. national parks reach peak attendance in the summertime, so less busy seasons like spring and fall may be a better option if you prefer smaller crowds.
Other items to consider are the driving conditions: is your RV eligible to drive on certain roads in the park? You can refer to nps.gov for all important details of visiting including road conditions, special events and even pet accessibility.
Ways to Save Money
If you plan on visiting more than one national park per year, consider investing in an annual pass for $80. Current U.S. military members and their dependents can enjoy this pass for free, seniors age 62 or over can enjoy a lifetime pass for $10, and 4th graders across the U.S. can receive a free pass during their school year as part of the Every Kid in a Park program. To get all the details, click here.
Be prepared before entering the national park of your choice with things such as gas and food. While these items are usually available inside some parks, you can save money by purchasing in the nearby town. Pack lunches when going on hikes and other attractions, or you can treat yourself to a cooked meal at an in-park restaurant, just be ready to pay a “convenience” fee.
Need some inspiration on parks and monuments to visit? Here are a few to consider:
We wish you the best in your RV travels, and if you have any national park tips for fellow RVers, leave them below in the comments section!