Looking for a fun and affordable way to spend the weekend? Tomorrow is National Public Lands Day, and the National Park Service (NPS) is offering free admission to all 400+ of its sites.
Normally, 109 NPS sites charge an entrance fee, including popular destinations like Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. But on National Public Lands Day, everyone can enjoy these amazing places for free.
The NPS operates over 425 locations across the US, including memorials, monuments, and historic battlefields. But the real treasures are the 63 national parks, which have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Looking for a fun and affordable way to spend the weekend?
The National Park Service (NPS) manages eight properties in Arkansas:
- Arkansas Post National Memorial: This memorial commemorates the first permanent European settlement in Arkansas, which was established in 1686. Visitors can explore the remains of the settlement, including a reconstructed fort and a French colonial house.
- Buffalo National River: This river is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. It flows through a scenic canyon with towering bluffs, waterfalls, and pristine forests. Visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, canoeing, and fishing in the park.
- Butterfield Overland National Historic Trail: This trail was one of the first major overland mail and passenger routes from the eastern United States to the California gold fields. It followed a route through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Visitors can learn about the history of the trail at interpretive centers and museums along the route.
- Fort Smith National Historic Site: This site was once a major frontier military post. It is now home to a museum, a reconstructed fort, and a blacksmith shop. Visitors can learn about the history of the fort and the role it played in the American West.
- Hot Springs National Park: This park is known for its therapeutic hot springs, which have been attracting visitors for centuries. Visitors can soak in the springs at the Fordyce Bathhouse Museum, which offers a variety of bathing experiences. They can also hike through the park’s forests, visit the Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center, and learn about the history of the park.
- Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site: This site commemorates the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Visitors can learn about the events that led to the desegregation and the impact it had on the civil rights movement. They can also tour the school building and see the classrooms where the Little Rock Nine attended classes.
- Pea Ridge National Military Park: This park commemorates the Battle of Pea Ridge, which was a major turning point in the Civil War. Visitors can tour the battlefield and learn about the battle’s history. They can also visit the Pea Ridge National Military Park Visitor Center and see exhibits on the battle and the Civil War in Arkansas.
- President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site: This site is the birthplace of former President Bill Clinton. Visitors can tour the home and learn about Clinton’s early life. They can also visit the Clinton Birthplace Visitor Center and see exhibits on Clinton’s life and presidency.
In 2022, more than 88 million people visited national parks, down slightly from the record-breaking 92 million who visited in 2021. This shows that even as international travel has resumed, Americans are still eager to explore their own country’s natural wonders.
So if you’re looking for a fun and affordable way to spend the weekend, head to a national park near you!
FYI, park admission to Arkansas State Parks is already free.