national-park-service-logoThe National Park Service has announced that admission to the nation’s 391 national parks is free this weekend, July 18-19. This weekend is the second of three free admission summer weekends, with the third scheduled for Aug. 15-16.

Many park partners, including tour operators, hotels, restaurants and gift shops, will provide discounts and special promotions to sweeten the deal, according to a news release. Fees for activities such as camping, reservations, tours or concessions are not affected by the entrance fee waiver.

“During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “I encourage everyone to take advantage of these free-admittance weekends.”

Dan Wenk, acting director of the National Park Service, said, “Most Americans live within a few hours’ drive of a national park, and free entrance weekends offer the perfect chance to visit an old favorite or to discover and explore a new place.”

There are 147 parks that normally charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25, while 244 national parks never charge entrance fees. 

More information is available at http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.