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How to visit the National Parks in Canada & USA for free?

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Few places in the world offer such a diverse range of scenery and activities, from kayaking and spectacular drives to backcountry hiking and wildlife spotting. I previously shared with you the top 10 best sights and activities in Banff, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Park, as well as my top 10 list of the best hotels & lodges in the Canadian Rockies (which includes several trip reports and Youtube clips).

The crown jewels of the USA’s National Park system are all located in the West, with the most famous ones being Grand Teton & Yellowstone National Park (wildlife, mountains, geysers), Yosemite National Park (mountains, valleys), Glacier National Park (mountains and grizzlies), and Grand Canyon National Park (canyons). Hawaii and Alaska also boast some national parks that offer otherworldly scenery.

Visit Canada’s National Parks for free

Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday in 2017 and to commemorate the milestone, the government of Canada has a very special gift in store for all Canadian and international visitors: admission to all Canadian national parks is free for the entire year to everyone. But you’re going to need an access pass which you can order from the Parks Canada website (they will ship it to you for free to anywhere in the world). Please note:

  • You only need to order one pass for your group or family if you are all traveling together. A 2017 Discovery Pass is valid for everyone arriving in the same vehicle at a national park, or arriving together at a marine conservation area or historic site.
  • The Discovery Pass is only accepted at national historic sites which are operated by Parks Canada.
  • Activities such as tours or parking that normally carry a separate fee may not be covered by the Discovery Pass.
  • Camping fees are not included with the Discovery Pass
  • Validity Period: January 1st 2017 to December 31st 2017.
  • Display: The 2017 Discovery Pass must be hung from the rear view mirror of the vehicle facing forward or it can be placed on the front driver side dashboard facing up.

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Visit the USA’s National Parks for free

The USA National Park Service just turned 100 years old. To celebrate the start of their second century, the USA National Park Service will offer free admission to everyone during a couple of days in 2017. The fee-free days provide a great opportunity to visit a new place or an old favorite, especially one of the 120 national parks that normally charge an entrance fee. The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

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