Free Days: National Park Service's 100th Birthday

The end-of-summer event happens a week ahead of Labor Day.

A BIRTHDAY... can mean a number of nifty things, from delicious slices of cake being proffered to balloons appearing out of nowhere to the occasional surprise gift, the kind that comes with a giant bow on top. That special day can also translate into free things, as in a free short stack of pancakes or free car wash or another nice local benefit down at a treasured mom-and-pop-ery. The National Park Service is getting into that "birthdays + awesome free things" vibe, but for its own special day. And it is a very special one, indeed: The service overseeing our beloved parks, monuments, and important sites is turning 100 in 2016, something work raising a forkful of cake to, with cheer. If you want to feel that centennial magic, and have your entrance fee waived at a park that charges (not every national park does), mark...

AUG. 25 THROUGH 28, 2016... on your calendar. You can find out if your favorite waterfall-y, tree-laden, rock-pretty spot is a fee-asking spot — 127 of the 400+ NPS-overseen spots do charge a fee at the gate — and then you can go, go, go. Those four days do include a weekend, so making the most of the Saturday and Sunday might be in the cards for many. Another bonus? This is the weekend before Labor Day Weekend, and travelers will ponder a full week of road-tripping, with the initial weekend being one spent in a national park, for no admission. Nope, you don't need to get the NPS anything, but sharing your affection for the parks by taking nothing but photos, and posting such photos, if that's your jam, helps spread these wonders far and wide. 

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