Tuesday, June 2, 2009

See the Grand Canyon -- for free!

This just in: The National Park Service is waiving entrance fees to 147 parks for three weekends this summer (June 20-21, July 18-19, and Aug. 15-16), according to the Associated Press.

“During these tough economic times, our national parks provide opportunities for affordable vacations for families," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

As an avid fan of this big, beautiful country, I say: Go for it! Plan a trip to several park destinations, and treat your family to an adventure in the great outdoors that you will never forget. It's not too late to put together a vacation; in fact, the airfares and hotel rates seem to be pretty low right now, so that's a bonus!

I'd highly recommend the parks in Utah, such as Arches, Canyonlands, Zion and Bryce (my fave).

And of course, there's the grand-poobah of U.S. parks: the Grand Canyon. I've been lucky enough to visit it twice (both times on the South Rim) and I'm hoping to see it several more times in my lifetime. It's more than spectacular, more than awe-inspiring. To say it's downright spiritual may sound like a cliche, but that hits closest to the experience of being there. The picture above is one I took at sunset one evening during my last visit in 2006. (Yes, it truly WAS that gorgeous!)

Happy trails!

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