Canada turns 150 years old in 2017 and it’s throwing itself the coolest birthday party: National parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas will offer free admission for the entire year.
Lockage fees for canals and waterways will also be waived, if you’re a boating fan.
While many of Canada’s parks and historic sites are already free to visit, this event will get you in free to almost 100 locations that charge entry.
Camping, guided tours and hikes, and mooring and reservation fees will still apply during the celebration. In addition, Canadian Rockies Hot Springs will maintain its admission fees.
Don’t Want to Wait? Visit Now
Can’t wait for the new year? Purchase a 2016 Discovery Pass and you won’t have to do anything to access 2017’s free entry. Discovery Pass prices range from CA$57.90 (about US$44) for a senior to CA$136.40 (about US$103) for a family or group.
Seasonal passes to select areas areas are usually available for CA$34 to CA$98 (US$25 to US$74). Lockage fees for canals range from CA$4.65 for a one-way trip to CA$18.60 for a seasonal lockage and mooring package.
Starting in 2018, children under 18 and anyone who became a Canadian citizen in the previous 12 months will receive free admission.
Plan Now to Save More
This awesome freebie doesn’t officially launch until January, but now’s the time to plan for a scenic winter vacation — or next summer’s road trip.
One cool study shows how far you can get on a tank of gas — and if you live anywhere above the Mason-Dixon Line, chances are good that you can drive to Canada for $50 or less. If you need new passports or renewals, apply now to avoid paying expediting fees.
And with exchange rates in your favor — one U.S. dollar gets you about $1.32 Canadian these days — your money will go even further when you visit our northern neighbors.
A cheap vacation with a healthy dose of nature? I’m in.
Your Turn: Will you take advantage of Canada’s free parks admission in 2017?
Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer for The Penny Hoarder. She once steered a mighty houseboat through some of Ontario’s canal locks.