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

Playful young hiker throwing autumn leaves in the air in the colorful forest and embracing the nature
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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 park admission absolutely free.

Some states offer free state park admission every day: If you live in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee or parts of Montana and North Carolina, 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.

Here are the states that will offer free admission on Friday, Nov. 23:

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. 16 and Nov. 21 to pick up your pass.

2. Delaware

This is the fourth year Delaware state parks are participating in #OptOutside, and this year, the Brandywine Zoo is joining in with free admission on Black Friday.

The Brandywine Zoo will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all other state park gates will open at 8 a.m. for free entry, except Fort Delaware State Park (it is closed for the season).

3. Indiana

Enjoy free admission at Indiana state parks on Friday, Nov. 23. Post a park selfie on the Indiana State Parks Facebook page with the hashtags #OptOutside and #OptOusideIN and you could win free annual passes, lake permits and more.

4. Kansas

The state’s 26 parks won’t require entrance fees on Nov. 23.  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.

5. New Mexico

New Mexico’s 34 state parks usually charge a $5 daily fee, but it’s waived for all on Nov. 23. The state suggests a “stuffing strut” hike, which sounds like a great idea.

6. Oregon

For the fourth year in a row, 25 Oregon state parks will waive the $5 parking fee from open to close on Black Friday, with the exception of Shore Acres State Park — where free parking will expire at 3 p.m. for the Holiday Lights event.

There are also a few states that are on board with getting outside for Black Friday but decided to go their own way for the marketing campaign.

7. Colorado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is partnering Great Outdoors Colorado to bring Fresh Air Friday. You can celebrate #FreshAirFriday with free admission to Colorado’s 41 state parks.

Use the park finder to plan your day out!

8. Minnesota

For the fourth year, Minnesota will celebrate Free Park Friday at its 75 state parks. The typical $7 vehicle fee will be waived all day.

If you didn’t see your state listed, you can find more free #OptOutside events here.

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

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