The National Parks have been called “America’s Best Idea.” Here’s another good idea: National Park Week runs April 15 through 23 this year.
Admission to every park in the National Park Service will be free the weekends of April 15 & 16 and April 22 & 23 - a savings of up to $30 per car for popular parks like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, and once you’re inside the park, admission is good for seven days. Besides the beautiful scenery and wildlife, many parks offer cool family-friendly activities like the Junior Ranger program. Here,three National Parks that are perfect for a spring visit:
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
This beautiful park in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee is the most popular in the National Park Service. The Tennessee side of the park was hit hard by the Chimney Tops wildfires last fall, so some trails are closed, but most of the park is open, wildflowers are blooming, and it’s an easy road trip from most Southeast and Midwest states. nps.gov/grsm
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Utah is home to five incredible National Parks! We love Arches for the mind-bending red rock formations carved by wind and water over the centuries - it’s one of the few places in America where you feel like you’re in a Hollywood western one moment, then on Mars a moment later. Pack plenty of water and wear layers - the desert landscape can go from hot to cold to rain faster than you may be used to back home. nps.gov/arch
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
When you write about travel like I do, you have to be careful about throwing around the phrase, “the most beautiful place on earth.” But Yosemite sure does inspire those words! From iconic sights like Half Dome and Inspiration Point to the giant redwoods and coyotes howling a lullaby at night, Yosemite truly is heaven on earth. nps.gov/yose