Visit National Parks for Free

Having a child in the fourth grade has a new, awesome perk: Free access to the most gorgeous parks in the United States. A brand new program called Every Kid in a Park, is all about encouraging fourth grade students across the country to experience America’s mountains, forests, lakes, cultural artifacts and historic structures with their families for free. And anyone can get a free pass to Michigan State Parks.

To get your Every Kid in a Park pass, head to everykidinapark.gov. You can instantly print your pass, which will be valid until August, 31, 2016, and start planning your first trip! And you don’t have to go far, Michigan is home to several national parks, lakeshores, and scenic trails including:

  • Isle Royale in Houghton: Hike through rugged, isolated land surrounded by Lake Superior or hit the water for a kayak ride.
  • Keweenaw in Calumet Park: Take a step back into history and see how people made copper into tools and developed thriving communities long ago.
  • North Country in Lowell: This is the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States. It starts in Michigan and weaves through scenic, natural paths across seven states.
  • Pictured Rocks near Munising and Grand Marais: Hike, camp or swim at this four-season destination that is home to one of the most pristine landscape of all the Great Lakes.
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire: Climb to the top of high sand dunes and enjoy a spectacular view across Lake Michigan.

If you do want to plan a bigger trip, you also have free access to famous sites like Yellowstone National Park and the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which is where the first flight took place.

You also don’t need to limit yourself to national parks. Anyone can get a free pass to Michigan State Parks through MI Big Green Gym, an initiative from the Michigan Recreation and Park Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

National and state parks provide you and your family the chance to step away from the business of everyday life and relax while taking in gorgeous scenery. If you are looking for other activities to do with your children, here are some great ideas:

Photo credit: USFWSmidwest

 

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