If you’re skipping Black Friday’s Super Bowl of Shopping tradition this year, you may be in good company. REI’s decision to close its 143 stores Thursday and Friday and challenge America to #optoutside has gained momentum.
Several states (see below) have declared Friday a fee-free day in their state parks, and one Northern California environmental organization is offering free passes to 49 California state parks on Friday.
If you need ideas on where to go, REI has an interactive map in which you enter a ZIP Code to find hiking trails in your area.
Here are other places worthy of an #optoutside outing.
1. Visit an REI store in Arizona before Wednesday (remember stores are closed Thursday and Friday) and receive a free pass to more than 25 state parks in Arizona for a Friday hike or outing. A suggestion on where to go: Tonto Natural Bridge State Park in Payson, which features a natural travertine bridge.
2. The East Bay Regional Parks in the Oakland area want Black Friday hikers to come for a visit. Fees are waived Friday at all 65 parks along the agency’s 119,000 acres. A suggestion on where to go: Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley, where you can hike on the quiet side in its more than 2,000 acres or check out the park’s carousel and Lake Anza.
3. Fee guided hikes are offered Friday at Mt. Diablo State Park east of Danville, Calif. You can hike to Eagle Peak for views of the Diablo summit or to Twin Peaks. Families can take an easy stroll to Mitchell Canyon to learn about the natural history of the area. Hikes are organized by the Mt. Diablo Interpretive Assn.; parking costs $6 per vehicle.
4. Many states are jumping on the #optoutside bandwagon by waiving fees to their state parks. There’s free admission to Colorado’s 42 state parks on what the state is calling Fresh Air Friday. Oregon will waive fees at its 26 state parks, as will Delaware and Minnesota. Missouri, where state parks are always free, offers folks a free night of camping on Friday.
5. You can join a hike 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rockville Trails Preserve in Fairfield, Calif. It’s usually off limits to people, but the Solano Land Trust is sponsoring a Black Friday hike for the third year in a row. Sign up in advance online; the group is limited to 15.