Stuck at home and looking for something to do that doesn’t involve being around crowds? It’s the perfect time to get out and visit a national park. Bonus: No entrance fees!
With schools closed and quarantines in effect across the country, families are looking for ways to entertain themselves without being around large groups of people. The National Park Service has come up with a cost-effective solution to cabin fever. All entrance fees have been waived to open national parks in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sunshine, fresh air, and exercise are excellent ways to boost immunity and keep yourself healthy. You can work science, biology, and geography into your newly acquired home-school routines. Afterward, have the kids draw pictures or write about what they liked best about the park. Hiking and biking along wooded trails is better than any gym class I ever had!
As of right now, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Great Falls Park, Antietam National Battlefield, and the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park are open. If you're based in Virginia, you can also drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway or Skyline Drive and go hiking at Shenandoah National Park. Coloradans could explore the Great Sand Dunes, or Mesa Verde.
Keep in mind that some parks have closed temporarily, so check before heading out. For example, Rocky Mountain National Park, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, and several areas of the National Mall are closed completely.
Other parks are either full or partially open, though some of the facilities (like visitor centers) may be closed. Outdoor spaces and hiking trails remain open. You can still enjoy the scenery, do some birdwatching or hike to waterfalls, big boulders, and other natural attractions. You can even still camp at Dry Tortugas National Park (70 miles off the coast of Key West, Florida). Now that’s social distancing done right!
Are you heading out to a national park? Which one is your favorite to visit? What else are you doing to ward off boredom and cabin fever? Let us know in the comments.