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National Parks You Can Visit for Free

So, you’re mulling hopping in your Jeep Grand Wagoneer, traversing the country, and taking in some of the nation’s glorious national parks. Except, you’ve heard that many of them cost a pretty penny to enter. Well, you may be surprised to learn that a handful of the 63 have no admission fees. What’s that, you say? It’s true, you can enter some of them for free.

Redwood National and State Parks

All the national parks brim with natural beauty, but some you may have heard of more than others. Redwood National Park is likely one of the former. Home of the world’s tallest trees, the park protects around half the planet’s redwoods, including old-growth specimens that exceed 370 feet. How tall is that? How about five whole stories taller than the Statue of Liberty? Wow.

About a six-hour drive north of California, the park system features 200 miles of trails, on which you can camp, ride a horse, or walk or bike. Its rivers, hills, forests, and coastlines are home to an abundance of life, including whales, seals, Roosevelt Elk, and wildflowers including rhododendron and lupine.  There are also plenty of opportunities for drop-dead gorgeous scenic drives in your Jeep within the expansive park system. And it’s all free!

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

The latest addition to the system, New River Gorge is ideal for hiking, including treks such as Grandview Rim and Endless Wall. You also get the opportunity to foot it across the nation’s largest single-span steel arch bridge.

Featuring hunting, rafting, and fishing, plus outdoor sports and scads of natural beauty, the southern West Virginia playground is cut through by New River, one of continent’s oldest rivers. Along it are more than 70,000 acres of land, all steeped in natural and cultural history, along with a bounty of scenic and recreational opportunities that are just made for your Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

Biscayne National Park

Situated off the coast in South Florida, Biscayne is open every day of the year and has no entry fee. What’s so cool about the park – or one of the coolest things – is that it represents a variety of environments, including national ones. If pulling on a snorkel and fins and marveling at nature sounds great to you, don’t miss this park. In fact, some 95 percent of the place is under water, and it includes part of one of the world’s largest and richest coral reefs. In addition to tropical fish, don’t be surprised if you see dolphins, gators, sea turtles, and manatees.

Great Basin National Park

This Nevada park is known for its awesome caves and astounding ecological diversity, and features gorgeous lakes and terrific hiking opportunities, including Bristlecone & Glacier Trail, Alpine Lakes Loop Trail, and Osceola Ditch. What’s more, Great Basin is a designated International Dark Sky Park, meaning that, on moonless nights, you’re able to peer at planets, stars, and even galaxies with the naked eye. It’s simply a magical place that’s worthy of a trip in your Grand Wagoneer.

Congaree National Park

This free, beautiful park in South Carolina may not be well known, but it should be on your list.  There’s the Weston Lake Loop trail, which features an elevated boardwalk above the forest floor that permits you to enjoy the sights of the bottomland floodplains and hardwood forest. If you get to the Weston Lake overview, don’t be surprised if you see turtles, an alligator, or even the odd snake swimming around. Congaree National Park is a must see.

Kenai Fjords National Park

If you like wildlife as well as adventure, check out Kenai Fjords in Alaska, where you can partake in a broad range of activities including hiking, fishing, skiing, cross-country skiing, and kayaking. You can also take a boat cruise to area islands to take in the bountiful biodiversity, including lush forests, then hike it to the popular tourist destination that’s widely known as Exit Glacier. In fact, some 40 glaciers flow from the Harding Icefield, which is the park’s top feature.

Be sure to put as many of these national parks you can visit for free on your list. And what better whip to be in during such excursions than a Jeep Grand Wagoneer?