One of the most exciting things about touring the United States with your family is being able to visit some of the hundreds and hundreds of national parks and monuments that dot virtually every state. Where else in the world can you view the  grandeur of Yellowstone Park, the history of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall or the exotic beauty of Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park?

However, visiting these parks and monuments can get expensive. Most of the major parks charge a per vehicle admission fee (and a lesser fee for visitors arriving on foot or by bicycle.) To make seeing America easier on the travel budget, the National Park Service offers a number of fee-free days each year at more than 100 parks and monuments that customarily charge admission.

The remaining fee-free days for 2011 are September 24 (Public Lands Day) and November 11-13 (Veterans Day Weekend.) Dates for 2012 haven’t yet been announced, but in previous years, the Park Service has offered fee-free days for Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend in January, National Park Week in April and the first day of summer ( in June.)

Just a few of the 100 parks included in this offer are:

  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Acadia National Park in Maine
  • California’s Sequoia National Park
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area inNevada
  • Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
  • Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park
  • Zion National Park

In addition to free admission, many park concessions are offering specials on food, transportation and lodging.

If you can’t travel one of the fee-free days, there are 394 national parks and monuments that are free to the public 365 days a year. Just a few of these include Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC; the Pony Express National Historic Trail in Colorado; the Presidio of San Francisco; Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida; the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park in Ohio and Boston’s Longfellow House. For more about National Parks and Monuments near you, visit the National Park Service Web site.

Touring America’s many natural and historic sites doesn’t have to be expensive! 🙂

Enjoy Free Days at America’s National Parks This Fall