Black Friday is right around the corner. Americans everywhere will be stampeding through the stores to indulge in consumerism at its finest. While it may be a great day to score some good deals on backpacking gear, state parks are doing everything they can to get people to appreciate what they already have, by getting outside. If you’d rather spend the day after Thanksgiving in the beautiful backcountry instead of the white walls and bright lights of a Walmart, then guess what? You’re in for a real treat.
Last year, big outdoor retail stores like REI closed their doors on Black Friday to get people to #optoutside. While a lot of these initiatives are still taking place, there are even more incentives this year.
This Black Friday, 116 of California’s state parks will provide free parking and admission. Save the Redwoods League got together with California State Parks Foundation and California State Parks to provide this awesome alternative to November 25th. And, other states must have caught onto the trend as well. Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Michigan are just some of the other states who are also making their parks free on Black Friday. Don’t see your state here? Do a quick search to see if yours is participating.
So, what to do with all that “free” time? If you’re in California, the first thing you need to do is get yourself a day pass from Green Friday. Some parks are already sold out, so get yours ASAP. But, how can you choose what park? Well, remember you only have one day to enjoy the park you choose for free.
Things to consider are how long it’s going to take you to get to the park. Is it thirty minutes away, or are you going to drive there the night before? And, when all the parks are free, there’s a good chance that you might be competing to get to where you’re going with all the traffic. So, get there early. Since parking is free, you’re going to have to find a spot on a first-come-first-served basis. Once you park the car, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore the park and hike the trails.
And, because it’s a holiday weekend, why not make a trip out of it? So, you might only get one full day at the park free. But, if you have the entire weekend off, invite the family and camp outdoors. Luckily, the weather in states like California is pretty nice this time of year. This means you’re not really limited to what kinds of activities you can do while you’re there.
So, what are you waiting for?! All of these participating parks are begging for you to come around and experience the outdoors instead of a shopping mall. Instead of laying out hundreds of dollars on items that you’ll soon forget about, you can visit a park for FREE and have priceless memories that will last a lifetime.
Hurry up! The California passes are going quickly, so get your pass as soon as you can!