Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Fri April 17 2015

National Park Week Begins with Free Weekend Admission

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | April 17, 2015

National Park Week Begins with Free Weekend Admission

PHOTO: Nez Perce Creek, Yellowstone National Park. (Courtesy of National Forestry Service)

It's spring and thus time for the annual National Park Week presented by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation. 

National Park Week 2015 is set to kick off with a twist on Saturday, with park visitors being granted free admission to each and every one of the nation's national parks throughout the weekend (April 18-19).

National Park Week, which includes Earth Day on April 22, spans nine days and will run through April 26.

Although a majority of the 400-plus parks nationwide are free to get into on a year-round basis, more than 120 of them charge a fee for admission, including renowned national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. 

This spring's week-long celebration of America's national parks comes on the heels of the recent launch of the National Park Service's "Find Your Park" campaign, which is co-chaired by first lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush. 

For travelers looking to capitalize on National Park Week's free opening weekend, TravelPulse's Tom Bastek recently put together a list of some of the top parks boasting convenient accommodations. 

Although the parks won't be free forever, fourth grade students and their families will be granted free admission to national parks during the entire 2015-16 school year thanks to a program announced by President Obama earlier this year. 

That program is part of a broader effort to boost fundraising and support for America's national parks behind the scenes and within Congress. 

The National Park Service will celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2016.

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