I grew up taking family hikes on the Appalachian Trail and day trip drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway. But I was 26 years old before I ever set foot inside a national park. Before then, I had no idea the world of scenic vistas, outdoor recreation, and history I’d been missing.
National Park Week is April 22-30, 2023. It’s an annual celebration hosted by the National Park Service and National Park Foundation. During the event, national park units across the country host special events, draw attention to the purpose of the national park system, and encourage people to visit a park.
Keep scrolling to learn about this year’s theme, #YourParkStory, and the events you can attend at home and your local national park unit. I’ve also included a list of national park posts I’ve written over the years to offer inspiration and guidance about visiting a park.
Happy National Park Week!
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Celebrate #NationalParkWeek with #MyParkStory
This year, the National Park Service encourages everyone to share “Your Park Story” during National Park Week using #MyParkStory on social media.
President Ulysses S. Grant created the first federal public park when he signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act in 1872. The Roosevelt Arch still towers over the entrance to the world’s first national park. Etched into the stone are the words “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”
The national park system preserves natural landscapes, historical battlefields, and buildings and places essential to understanding the history of our country. With such a diverse collection of parks, the stories are countless.
Visit the National Park Service’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts to read #YourParkStory about the staff that maintains the parks, and then share your own story with #MyParkStory. Read more information about the stories at www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/your-park-story.htm.
Here’s a #MyParkStory to get you started this week:
Finding a good place to write is the most challenging part of being a road-tripping travel writer. Local coffee shops with big tables and great lattes are okay. Comfy hotel rooms with executive chairs at the desks are better.
But my favorite place to write is in a national park.
The peacefulness of picnic areas is perfect. I leave the noise-canceling headphones in my bag and listen to nature’s soundtrack. I pull out a portable coffee maker to brew my favorite caffeinated beverage. And I write for hours.
I love many things about the national parks – history, landscapes, stillness, silence, recreation, and relaxation. But more than anything, I love the national parks as my home office for the day.
National Park Week Activities
Another way to celebrate National Park Week is to take advantage of a park activity.
Here’s a list of activities happening throughout the week across the country.
But check with your local national park unit for park-specific activities like living history demonstrations, ranger-led programs, and children’s activities.
Saturday, April 22 - Free Entrance Day
Take advantage of the National Park Free Entrance Day! All entrance fees are waived for the day, giving you an opportunity to save some money while returning to a favorite park or exploring a new one.
Tuesday, April 25 - Celebrating Stories of Young Conservation Leaders Virtual Event
Join the virtual event from 1:00-2:30 Eastern Time to hear stories about the young leaders striving for sustainability and conservation in the national park system.
Read more about the virtual event here.
Saturday, April 29 - National Junior Ranger Day
On this special day during National Park Week, the parks will host events especially for the Junior Rangers in the family. Check the event schedule of your local national park unit to see when and where to attend the event.