Skip Black Friday Sales for Best Deal of All: Free State Parks

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt |


There's no better feeling than taking your pants off after a big meal and crashing on the couch for a couple of hours (or days). But for some reason, after gorging ourselves on Thanksgiving turkey, potatoes and pie, we Americans have decided that the best recuperation is to cram ourselves into Targets twelve hours later so we can score a $15 waffle maker. I like bumping into angry people as much as the next guy, but I'd much rather take a nice long walk alone to be with my thoughts (and any residual green bean casserole gas). This year, many of us can indulge in just that, with free admission to state parks on Friday, November 27th.

The campaign got rolling thanks to REI announcing their #OptOutside campaign, shutting their doors on the biggest shopping day of the year to let their employees enjoy the outdoors and encouraging customers to do the same. Minnesota State Parks seconded that notion by offering free admission to all 75 state parks and recreation areas, and it took off from there. Now California, Oregon, Colorado, Delaware, and two parks in Washington have joined in on the free access, as well as Missouri which will offer free first-come-first-serve campsites. While many parks are always free admission, participating states will waive fees for those that normally change them. Not every park will necessarily be free and some require a special printed-at-home pass, so check with your state park service to find out which you can plan to visit with a day-old full stomach and an empty wallet.

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