National Parks FREE Entrance Days 2017


National Parks Free Days 2016

The National Park Service is back with its FREE entrance days for 2017! This year the National Park Service is offer 9 fee free days which are great opportunities to get out and explore. There are 409 parks in the U.S. , 127 of those normally charge an entrance fee ranging from $3-$30. So fee free days are a great way to explore on a budget. Also be sure to visit Find Your Park to see all the events happening in parks nearby.

*Fee free days waive entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation fees. Fees for reservations, camping, tours, and fees collected by third parties are not included unless otherwise stated.*

2017 FREE Entrance Days

  • February 20th  Presidents  Day
  • April 15-16th and 22nd-23rd National Parks Week (Weekends)
  • August 25th National Park Service Birthday
  • September 30th National Public Lands Day
  • November 11th-12th Veterans Day Weekend

Image courtesy of National Park Foundation

Park Passes

Can’t make any of the fee free day but are planning on visiting multiple parks, then an Annual Pass is what you need. There are actually quite a few different pass options for our National Parks.

  • Annual Pass   The cost is $80 for this pass. It is available to everyone and can be purchased at a federal recreation site, over the phone (1-888-275-8747 ext. 3) or online.
  • Military Annual Pass  This pass is FREE to all current members of the United States Military, Reserves and Guards. This pass can only be picked up in person at a Federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID (Form 1173).
  • 4th Grade Pass   Through Every Kid in a Park program all 4th graders are eligible to obtain a FREE Annual Pass. This pass provides free entrance to national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges for the 4th grader as well as all children under 16 years of age in the party and up to three adults. Paper passes accepted only no electronic passes will be honored. Pass is only valid during the school year (September 2015 – August 31st, 2016). For more information and to get the pass visit everykidinapark.gov

For full information on passes and to see all pass options visit nps.gov

California National Parks

Have fun exploring!

Cruzin Mama

Click here to find National Parks outside of California.

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National Parks FREE Entrance Days 2016

National Parks Free Days 2016

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th Birthday this year. So to celebrate NPS is offering 16 FREE entrance days in 2016! This 16 opportunities to get out and explore. 16 times to take in some of Americas natural wonders. There are 409 parks in the U.S. , 127 of those normally charge an entrance fee ranging from $3-$30. So feel free days are a great way to explore on a budget. Also be sure to visit Find Your Park to see all the events happening in parks nearby.

*Fee free days waive entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation fees. Fees for reservations, camping, tours, and fees collected by third parties are not included unless otherwise stated.*

2016 FREE Entrance Days

  • January 18th Martin Luther King Jr Day
  • April 16-24th National Parks Week
  • August 25-28th National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24th National Public Lands Day
  • November 11th Veterans Day

Park Passes

Can’t make any of the fee free day but are planning on visiting multiple parks, then an Annual Pass is what you need. There are actually quite a few different pass options for our National Parks.

  • Annual Pass

    The cost is $80 for this pass. It is available to everyone and can be purchased at a federal recreation site, over the phone (1-888-275-8747 ext. 3) or online.

  • Military Annual Pass

    This pass is FREE to all current members of the United States Military, Reserves and Guards. This pass can only be picked up in person at a Federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID (Form 1173).

  • 4th Grade Pass

    Through Every Kid in a Park program all 4th graders are eligible to obtain a FREE Annual Pass. This pass provides free entrance to national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges for the 4th grader as well as all children under 16 years of age in the party and up to three adults. Paper passes accepted only no electronic passes will be honored. Pass is only valid during the school year (September 2015 – August 31st, 2016). For more information and to get the pass visit everykidinapark.gov

For full information on passes and to see all pass options visit nps.gov

California National Parks

Have fun exploring!

Cruzin Mama

Click here to find National Parks outside of California.

Cabrillo National Monument

The Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument

The Point Loma Lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument

Another weekend just passed and another little adventure with my little family. This time we headed down, way down, to Point Loma in San Diego. We decided to check out Cabrillo National Monument, which is a National Park in San Diego. We have never gone there before and were really excited to see the tide pools and check out the old lighthouse.

Cabrillo National Monument

1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr
San Diego, CA 92106

Cabrillo features a visitor center filled with the history of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (the first European explorer to set foot on the West Coast of the United States), Tide Pools, Whale Watching lookout, Historic Lighthouse, and trails for hiking. Admission to the Park is $5 per car and it grants your vehicle entrance for 6 days. The National Monument is open 364 days a year from 9am to 5pm, only closed on Christmas Day-December 25th.

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Visitor Center

The Visitor Center is located shortly after entering Cabrillo National Monument. It consists of a couple small buildings and some outdoor information along with the statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. We didn’t happen to catch a showing in the auditorium, but we were able to explore everything else at the Visitor Center. We first walked through the small museum before going into the bookstore. There was even artifacts inside the bookstore to view and even some were hands on.

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We stopped by the visitor desk inside the bookstore to get information on the Junior Ranger program. This is a FREE program for children at National Parks. For the Cabrillo National Monument there is a special “news paper” that your child gets at the visitor desk and depending on their grade level. The “news paper” has your child fill out sections based on certain areas around the visitor center and extending to the Light House and Whale Watching point. After my daughter completed this, a Ranger looked over her answers and then had her take the Junior Ranger Pledge. Right after the pledge the Ranger awarded her with a Junior Ranger pin! Many National Parks offer this program so be sure to stop by their visitor centers and take part.

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Old Point Loma Lighthouse and Whale Watching Lookout

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse was just short walk up hill from the Visitor Center. The Lighthouse was only in service for 36 years, it’s location was originally thought to be ideal but that was not the case. The house has been restored to look like it did during the 1880’s. It’s like a taking a walk back it time when going through the lighthouse. The lighthouse assistants house directly next door is filled with information about West Coast lighthouses and how lighthouses work. My daughter liked walking through the lighthouse and seeing all the historic items and furniture. She had a great time in the assistants house seeing how the tower in a lighthouse operates.

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The Whale Watching Outlook gave breathtaking views. The outlook is the perfect spot to catch a glimpse of whales during migration season. There was also diagrams and pictures with information about the kelp forest. As well as a painting and model of a whales spine to get an idea of the size of whales that are spotted from the lookout.

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Tide Pools

I have to say the Tide Pools were my favorite part of Cabrillo National Monument. They were the reason we wanted to go check the park out. We ended up also enjoying the Visitor Center and learning the history of the landmark, as well as taking a step into the past through the Lighthouse. But exploring the Tide Pools was so much fun. I will warn though that they can be dangerous and tricky for children. Wear shoes with good grip as the rocks and paths can be covered with algae. It is a climb down to get to the bottom to the pools. There is also areas where the rocks can be sharp I suggest a good pair of water shoes. Both of my kiddos had a blast finding all the different colors and sizes of crabs that were there. My son took a little dip in the water, so remember to bring some towels and extra clothes for little ones.

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We spoke with a Ranger before heading down towards the Pools. He talked with my kids about the Pools, animals and plants they may see and how to be respectful to them. He let my little one get a closer look at some shells that were found there and some “animals” to be on the look out for.

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Just a friendly reminder before heading down towards the Tide Pools.No collecting is allowed at this Park.

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Take a trip and check out all this National Park has to offer!

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Happy adventuring!

Cruzin Mama