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Ready to celebrate National Park Week? Here's how to get started

April 15, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

Quick, how many national parks are within 200 miles of Los Angeles? Eight, which means an impromptu road trip to one or two in honor of National Park Week isn't out of the question.

The deal: National Park Week starts Saturday and runs through April 24. The idea is to showcase the nation's 394 park lands that go by many names -- national parks, national historic parks, national monuments, national recreation areas and others -- and encourage Americans to visit them.

During the special week, entry fees (but generally not camping or other fees) will be waived at more than 100 parks. Note: Some park lands allow free entrance year-round; others don't, and the price varies. For instance, entry costs $20 per car at Yosemite National Park and $15 per car at Joshua Tree National Park. So you can save quite a bit.

The National Parks Promotion Council highlights discounts offered on lodging, restaurants, recreational activities and more. Here's one I like: Download a coupon that takes 20% off purchases of $50 or more at seven gift stores at Grand Canyon National Park.

When: Saturday through April 24.

Tips: Special events are planned at parks nationwide throughout the week.

On Saturday, for example, a Paul Revere reenactor will make an appearance at Boston National Historic Park to mark the 236th anniversary of his famous ride. A Civil War encampment will spring up at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park in Virginia. Closer to home, Yosemite will offer programs, events or hikes every day, including a bike ride and film festival to mark Earth Day on April 22.

Photos: So, back to the parks near Los Angeles: Click on the photo gallery to view each one. And really, don't hesitate to go farther afield and explore all 25 national parks in California -- and beyond.

Contact: Use the National Park Service website to find national park locations and events.

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