Yellowstone, Yosemite and Sequoia were the first national parks, and Pinnacles in Central California the most recently designated one, though the land had been set aside as a national monument since 1908. National Park Week provides an incentive to go see "America's best idea" firsthand with free entry and free events on Earth Day and beyond.
The deal: The 401 national parklands — parks, monuments, historic sites, etc. — will be fee-free for five days during National Park Week, which runs Saturday through April 28. Not all parks charge an entrance fee, but those that do will waive them. You still pay for camping and other concessions within the parks.
When: The free-entry offer is good Monday through April 26.
Details: National parks have planned many Earth Day events that are free, but some happen this weekend, before the fee-free period. Check with each park to find out what activities it has planned.
For example, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park plans a wildflower walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, and for kids, a reading of Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" at 11 a.m. There's also an Earth Day Fair from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. that will include educational displays and animal and plant talks. (Park entrance fee is $20 per car, good for seven days.)