National parks are easily one of the best things in America, even if you include sneezing pandas, the return of Mystery Science Theater, and Lofthouse sugar cookies. "National parks are the best idea we ever had," said author Wallace Stegner. "Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst." With that in mind, it's a very good weekend to spend some time in a national park.
This weekend -- April 22 and 23 -- is a National Park Week weekend, where every national park in the country is free. Those free days are a part of a series of 10 days in 2017 where every national park will have free entry to celebrate the 100th anniversary of America's national parks. (A majority of national parks are always free, but 137 of them charge a fee.)
Even better, senior citizens (62+) can purchase a lifetime pass to America's national parks for just $10, which gets you into every park for free. It's a deal worth getting on top of, because the price is about to rise to $80, according to Time. The National Park Service has not announced when the price hike is going to happen, but it's coming soon. That means it's an excellent weekend to take advantage of the price because you can get in for free and it's a flat $10 if you purchase your lifetime pass on site. If you purchase it online, there's an additional $10 processing fee.
U.S. Citizens with "permanent disabilities" can get a free lifetime pass through the Parks' Access Pass program. If you're in fourth grade, you can also get a free pass for the entirety of your fourth grade school year. Additionally, current members of the U.S. Military and their families are eligible for a free annual pass.
For anyone who doesn't fall into one of those categories, an annual pass is $80, but that's still not a bad deal considering all the parks you get access to.