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News Highlight
Jun 5, 2013

Plan Your Summer Vacation to Our Nation's Parks!

This is an image of a family at a park.
Need a location for a fun and affordable summer outing? Look no further than the beauty and history of the great outdoors.

Benefits.gov encourages everyone to get out and explore nature this summer in one of the 401 National Parks across the country and U.S. territories. In addition to the educational and scenic experience, a major benefit of planning this sort of outing is that many of the parks are low cost-and 268 of them are free. You can also start planning your visit around the entrance fee-free dates listed here.

The National Park Service, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is dedicated to maintaining our nation's parks and creating a safe environment for all visitors. National Parks are not only preserved natural environments, like Yellowstone and the Everglades, but also historic sites and monuments, like Alcatraz and the Gateway Arch. If you're planning on traveling to one of these historic destinations, check out the resources offered by the National Park Service to help plan your trip. You can browse suggested itineraries and highlighted hot spots, such as lighthouses and archaeology museums.

Before you begin planning, be sure to take a look at these travel tips offered by the National Park Service:

  • To locate a park near you, use the Find a Park option on the National Park Service website. You can search by name, location, activity or topic.

  • Once you've decided where you're headed, check out the park's Plan Your Visit section for maps, directions, park brochures, and operating hours.

  • Explore lodging options. Whether you're looking for hotels, campground, or backcountry camping, it is recommended that you reserve a spot, when possible.

Kids can also get active with the new Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger program. This program offers many activities that the whole family can enjoy, including hiking, biking, swimming and horseback riding. By completing at least one physical activity, kids looking to earn their Junior Ranger Badge receive a sticker that designates them as a Let's Move Outside Junior Ranger. These activities promise to be fun, healthy and family-friendly, and many locations are easily accessible from urban areas.

There's plenty to see and learn outdoors, so take some time this summer to discover a National Park near you! If you're interested in additional information, Benefits.gov encourages you to use our free and confidential Benefit Finder to find out which government assistance programs you may be eligible to receive.