American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
Free National Park Admission in Honor of King Holiday
On Monday, January 16th, the country will be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, an annual federal holiday that commemorates the famous civil rights activist, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968. As I've mentioned before on this blog, the National Park Service honors Dr. King with units like the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. This weekend – from Saturday, January 14th, to Monday, January 16th – the National Park Service will also be honoring the slain activist by offering free admission to all of its 397 units, which includes national parks, monuments, battlefields, lakeshores, and other impressive sites all around the United States.
Granted, many of these units – such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park – are already free to visit. Numerous others, however, typically charge entrance fees. Yosemite National Park, for instance, costs $20 per vehicle or $10 for individuals arriving on foot, horseback, bicycle, motorcycle, or non-commercial bus. So, taking advantage of the National Park Service's periodic free days is a great way to save some money while exploring a myriad of cultural and natural landmarks throughout America.
Given the significance of this weekend, you might appreciate walking in Dr. King's footsteps at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, where you'll find both the home in which he was born as well as his tomb, or celebrating his legacy at the relatively new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.'s National Mall. You can even sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech; travel the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, a designated historic byway in Alabama; or attend the three-day MLK Film Festival at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C. But, of course, it doesn't matter which park, monument, site, seashore, or trail you choose – even visiting the one closest to home will give you the chance to spend time with family and friends, get a bit of exercise, relish the natural world, or learn something new about this nation's fascinating history – even in the middle of winter.
As National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis has said, “Dr. King led the fight to realize his dream of a nation free of discrimination, where every citizen was able to enjoy the inalienable rights promised to all Americans. Dr. King's story and those of so many others whose efforts changed our country are preserved in the national parks, places where history happened. I hope every American can take advantage of the upcoming fee free weekend and visit their parks to experience their history firsthand.”
So, I hope that, wherever you choose to go this weekend, you'll have a safe, happy, memorable time exploring this country's remarkable assortment of national treasures. If, for some reason, you can't afford a trip this weekend, bear in mind that all national park units will also be free on the following dates: April 21-29 for National Park Week, June 9 for Get Outdoors Day, September 29 for National Public Lands Day, and November 10-12 for Veterans Day Weekend.
In the meantime, feel free to share your favorite memory of one of America's national parks, or tell me which one you've always longed to visit.
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.