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Michaella Sheridan | 03.26.2019

Celebrate the green while saving some green at a national park near you this Earth Day. The National Park Service is giving every earth-lover the chance to get up close and personal with our country's precious protected spaces by waiving entry fees on April 20th in celebration of this special day.

We're sure the most popular parks will be packed with adventurers, so here's a few lesser-known parks in the Northeast that'll make for an epic and crowd-free Earth Day adventure.

 


A stone overpass on Carriage Road in Acadia. Daniel Sherman.

Acadia National Park

With over 40 miles of coastline to explore, there's plenty of chances to appreciate the rocky Maine seashore at this iconic park. Acadia National Park is still pretty chilly in late April, so you'll probably only have to share this gorgeous park with a few other hearty adventurers.

 


Brandywine Falls under the cover of winter. Brandon Cook.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

It's impossible to deny the shear power and beauty of nature while standing at the base of Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. A short drive from Cleveland and Akron, urbanites can enjoy the cool mist of a rushing waterfall and discover surrounding vernal pools that'll be teeming with life in spring.

 


Spring wildflowers should be blooming in the historical battlefields at Manassas. Seth Rose.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

While Manassas National Battlefield Park is always free to the public, it's definitely a special place to celebrate Earth Day. As you explore the rolling hills and forests where Civil War battles took place, you can meditate on how humans have shaped the Earth and more importantly, how the Earth has shaped us.

 


Camping is permitted on the beaches of Assateague Island. Chris Maust.

Assateague Island National Seashore

One of the first areas administered by the National Park Service to actively include climate change in its future park management plans, the sandy shores of Assateague Island National Seashore are the perfect place to contemplate the future of our Earth and appreciate its natural wonder. Oh yeah, and there's a herd of wild ponies!

 


Race Point Beach should be quiet on fee-free day, if still a little chilly. Panayota Tzortzis.

Cape Cod National Seashore

Enjoy the salty air and crashing waves with a long walk along one of the Northeast's most pristine and revered beaches, Race Point Beach. Usually packed with sunbathers and swimmers, the Cape Cod waters will still be shaking off winter temps in April making the soft, stretching sand the perfect setting for a quiet celebration of the Earth.

Before You Go

We want you to love the outdoors as much as we do, and we're here to help! Here are some tips and tricks to enjoy and contribute to a better Earth Day:

  1. Carpool: Grab a group of friends or load up the family and travel in one car to your favorite outdoor destination. Not only will it reduce your carbon emissions, but you'll find parking much quicker. 
  2. Pack a lunch: Many parks have dining options within them; however, the single-use plastics, cost of food, and long lines aren't worth it. Plan ahead, pack a picnic lunch for the whole crew, and spend more time enjoying the park!
  3. Get there early: Maybe even the day before! Late-April is a great time to camp in the Southwest. So make your journey toward your park of choice the day before, camp, wake up early, grab a cup of coffee (don't forget your reusable mug or metal straw), and be first in line! 
  4. Take photos, not nature: The only thing you should be taking out of these special places are photos and your trash!
  5. Make it a habit: Should you love the experience, consider buying an Interagency Annual Pass for $80. It may seem like a lot at first, but visiting a national park three times in 12 months more than pays for it! Sounds like a great deal to me, especially because it applies to all national parks throughout the U.S.

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