The National Park Service is offering its last fee-free day of 2010 on Veterans Day, November 11. Although there are almost 400 national parks that never charge an entrance fee, more than 100 do, so now’s the time to take advantage of the savings. The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other costs such as camping, concessions, and fees collected by third parties are not waived.
Last year, more than 285 million people visited national parks and other units of the National Park System, marking 2009 as the fifth busiest year ever. The top most visited national parks in the West include the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Zion. In addition to free admission, now is a great time of year to enjoy the most popular national parks without the summer crowds and traffic. But since wind, rain and even early snow can affect park roads and campgrounds this time of year, call ahead to be certain of driving conditions and closures. If you’re looking for parks in the Pacific Northwest that are lesser-visited yet highly scenic, you can’t beat Crater Lake and Mount Rainier.
Oregon’s Blue Volcano—Crater Lake National Park
Cobalt, azure, sapphire, indigo—there simply aren’t enough shades of blue to describe the intense color of the country’s deepest lake situated in the caldera of a volcano—1,932-foot Crater Lake. Encircling the lake is Rim Drive— 33 miles of pure scenery! Take advantage of the many pull-offs and picnic areas; each offers the opportunity to photograph Wizard Island and other geologic formations that protrude from the deep blue. Established as a national park in 1902, you really have to see this southern Oregon gem for yourself!
Washington’s Crown Jewel—Mount Rainier National Park
Encased in over 35 square miles of snow and ice and originally known as “Tahoma” to the Klickitat Indians, 14,410-foot Mount Rainier is the highest peak in the Cascade Mountain Range. More than 140 miles of road loop through the park, so there’s always a waterfall, lake, or mountain viewpoint ahead. This national park is also where you’ll discover that Paradise is not just a state of mind, it’s a real destination!
Don’t miss out on America’s Best Idea— the national parks— and save $10-$25 on entrance frees by visiting for FREE on Veterans Day, November 11.
Crater Lake National Park Phone: 541-594-2211
Mount Rainier National Park Phone: 360-569-2211Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com