I keep seeing that pubic service announcement that urges you to "Find Your Park." I don't think I'd ever be able to settle on one favorite. Years ago, I'd have said that my favorite was Yellowstone. These days, it's still a tie between Moab or Sedona. Or maybe Carlsbad Caverns. As many times as we've been through the cavern, I'm always anxious to go back. (If you haven't gone for the Bat Flight ranger program to watch the bats leave the cave at dusk, you're missing out!)
Every year we buy an America the Beautiful - the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. The name of the pass has changed a few times since we started buying them twenty-some years ago, but the purpose is the same. The eighty-dollar pass covers admission to national parks and monuments.
When we first started buying the pass, we'd add up the admission fees for the parks and monuments we planned to visit to see if it made sense. It always did, especially since we have a habit of spotting a sign for a National Monument and making a spur of the moment detour. That's how we wound up at the Golden Spike National Historic site one year just in time to see the reenactmet of the driving of the last spike. And at Fort Laramie.
So far the pass we bought last summer has taken us to:
Oak Creek Canyon (not a National Park, but they accept the pass)
V Bar V Heritage Site
Lava Cast Forest
Big Obsidian Flow
Yaquina Head (not a National Park but they accept the pass)
And we're not done yet!
Where are you going to go to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Parks? Cotopaxi, a company based on doing good and the outdoors, created this National Park infographic to share where the parks are in your state. There are so many different places all over the country!
Edited to add -- I finally found the rules for the Every Kid in a Park passes! They're here and the whole process is amazingly easy. The only piece of personal information they ask for is your zip code. If you have a fourth-grader in your life, you can get a free parks pass.