FREE ADMISSION TO NATIONAL PARKS 8/25 – 8/28
Our National Parks Service doesn’t celebrate its birthday like most people. In honor of turning 100 years old in 2016, the National Parks Service is throwing itself a 16-day birthday bash spread across the calendar. Very ambitious for a centenarian. As a curator of cool gifts for men, we’re all about a good birthday party. So we’ve got the inside scoop on this once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
The soiree hit full stride during National Park Week in April. But good news: Soon it’ll be back on ‘til the break of dawn. Well, technically, until a given park closes. Please observe posted hours of operation. From Thursday, 8/25, through Sunday, 8/28, you can take advantage of free entry to National Parks. It’s going to be even better than pulling into a metered parking space after 8 p.m. or on a Sunday or holiday.
So now that you know the “when,” you just need to plan the “where.” There are more than 400 parks open to everyone across the country. Of those, 124 parks with daily admission fees are waiving the cover charge. It’s the perfect chance to return to one of your favorite sites or discover a new one. In case you can’t decide and you’re a fan of last-minute travel, here’s the list of parks that normally charge a fee.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area – Whiskeytown, CA
Admittedly, we saw whiskey in the name and we got a little excited. There’s actually a lot to get excited about at this majestic 39,000-acre lakeside area just outside of Redding. The big draw to this crystal-clear lake is the boating and water-based recreation activities. Rich in history from the California Gold Rush, Whiskeytown is also home to four waterfalls and 70 miles of hiking trails.
All that hiking and boating will make you hungrier than a grizzly bear after awakening from hibernation. If you’re camping, we have just the thing for the ultimate lakeside dining experience. The Dutch Oven Kit turns standard campfire cooking into gourmet greatness.
Dinosaur National Monument – Dinosaur, CO
You could go to Mount Rushmore and see the faces of four of America’s finest presidents chiseled into the side of a mountain. It’s the inspiration for our very own Mount Rubsmore meat rubs. But if you want to see impressive figures from prehistoric times naturally embedded in rock, aptly named Dinosaur National Monument is a must-see. Surrounded by mountains, deserts and raging rivers, this park will make you feel like you’re on the set of an Indiana Jones flick.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park – Hawai’i National Park, HI
Remember when Earth was just one massive super continent? We don’t either. But if you ever need a molten-hot reminder of what our planet is made of, check out this Hawai’ian marvel. Seeing the sheer power of a volcanic eruption in person is breathtaking, jaw dropping and mind blowing all at once.
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial – Lincoln City, IN
From humble beginnings came one our nation’s greatest leaders. “There I grew up,” Lincoln said of his Southern Indiana homestead. Spend a day getting to know the boyhood tales of the man that would one day adorn the penny and chillax in that giant comfy-looking cement chair in Washington.
This is quite possibly where Abe first started growing his trademark beard. The Beard Wrangler Mini Crate would’ve come in handy.
Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park – Harper’s Ferry, WV
Where the Potomac River meets the Shenandoah, you’ll find the hidden treasure of Harper’s Ferry. You’ll feel like you just stepped out of a DeLorean set to 1859 when you arrive at this historic community that was the site of an critical raid leading up to the Civil War. If you hike the serene trails, explore the battlefields and check out the museums, it will be money well spent. Except you won’t have to spend any money.
Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone National Park, WY
Yellowstone may be most recognized for Old Faithful, the geyser that shoots water sky high. This geological hotbed also features an array of other geysers, hot springs, mud pots and steam vents. While tourists “ooh” and “aah” at Mother Nature’s water show, keen fisherman are taking to the many lakes, stream, rivers to hook the much sought-after cutthroat trout. The park’s riverbanks are home to a large insect population, which attracts the trout, which, in turn, attracts fly-fishermen—and grizzly bears. Try not to let any bears in neckties pilfer your picnic basket.
Experienced fisherman may veer off the beaten path in search of relatively un-fished waters. But they don’t have to search hard to find the perfect gear. The Troutdoorsman Crate comes with a Berkley Canvas Creel, a Kershaw Folding Filet Knife and Grandpa’s Grill Holder and other items to help them catch and cook like a pro.
There’s only thing better than enjoying the splendor and natural beauty of America’s National Parks in the summertime: Getting in for free. So get out to a park near you 8/25-8/28 and wish it a Happy Birthday.