Tell Black Friday to Take a Hike With Free Entry into These State Parks

November 21, 2016
by Lisa Rowan
Writer and Producer
state parks

Once all the turkey leftovers are wrapped and stored in the fridge, how about a bit of fresh air?

Instead of spending money on Black Friday, many states want you to go to outside. And to make it easier, they’re making admission absolutely free.

Some states offer free state park admission every day: If you live in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Tennessee, you enjoy free basic admission all the time!

But the following states are offering a special deal on Black Friday as part of REI’s #OptOutside campaign.

The outdoor retailer is closing all its locations on Black Friday, encouraging people to get active instead of going shopping. REI pays its employees for this day off, and even closes online order fulfillment centers in celebration.

The following states will offer free admission on Friday, Nov. 25:

1. Arizona

Arizona is offering free state park passes at the state’s four REI locations. Since REI is closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, you’ll need to visit between Nov. 19 and 23 to pick up your pass.

If you decide at the last minute not to use your pass on Black Friday, check out the expiration date — it’s good through Dec. 31!

2. California

Act fast to get a free pass to one of California’s 116 state parks on Friday, Nov. 25. Visit the #GreenFriday website and choose which park you’d like to visit. If passes are still available for that location, you’ll be able to print one to display when you enter the park by car.

The Los Angeles Times says you can save $12 in parking fees at several parks — but only if you have the pass!

3. Colorado

Celebrate #FreshAirFriday with free admission to Colorado’s 42 state parks. Use the park finder to plan your day out!

4. Delaware

State park offices will be closed on Black Friday, but park gates will open at 8 a.m. for free entry.

5. Indiana

Enjoy free admission at Indiana state parks on Friday, Nov. 25. Post a park selfie on the Indiana State Parks’ Facebook page with the hashtags #OptOutside and #OptOusideIN and you could win a $50 camping gift card or an annual pass to Indiana parks.

6. Kansas

The state’s 26 parks won’t require daily vehicle permits on Nov. 25.  Enter to win a free cabin stay by posting a picture from one of the parks to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #myksstatepark and #optoutside.

7. Michigan

Michigan has 103 state parks and 138 state forest campgrounds! Campsites are included in the state’s free park event.

8. Minnesota

Minnesota celebrates Free Park Friday at its 75 state parks for the second year.

9. Nevada

Grab a free entrance pass from Nevada REI locations to use at the state’s 16 parks on Nov. 25.

10. New Mexico

New Mexico’s 40 state parks usually charge a $5 daily fee, but it’s waived for all on Nov. 25. The state suggests a “Stuffing strut” hike, which sounds like a great idea.

11. Oregon

All 26 Oregon state parks will offer free parking and admission on Black Friday, but a few have special events for you to enjoy. Visit Stub Stewart, Tryon Creek, Champoeg and Silver Falls state parks from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to enjoy hot drinks, snacks and drawings for outdoor prizes.

12. Vermont

“Our parks have many great places to walk, bike, hike, run, or just sit and digest the 3 pieces of pie you just ate,” Vermont State Parks’ blog post assures visitors. The state will offer free admission on Black Friday and through the rest of the “off-season” through April 1.

Tag #OptOutside and @VTStateParks in a photo on Facebook or Twitter to be entered to win a 2017 Vermont State Parks pass.

Your Turn: Will you visit one of your state’s parks on Black Friday?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

by Lisa Rowan
Contributor for The Penny Hoarder

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