National Park Week means four free entry days in April

Skip the $10 per person entrance fee to Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, Calif., on selected days in April. It's all in celebration of National Park Week.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

During National Park Week in April, travelers can take advantage of four days of free entry at national park sites from coast to coast. That means you save $20 to enter Death Valley, and $25 to $35 on a visit to Yosemite.

The deal and dates: Not all parks charge entry fees, but those that do will be free Saturday and Sunday (Easter), and April 22 and 23. You have more than 400 national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historic sites to choose from too.

Details: National Park Week runs from Saturday to April 23, a time when parks host special events for visitors. Here are five easy-to-get-to Western parks near urban centers where you’ll find free activities.

Explore Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Ariz., by day and then return at night for a star-gazing party April 20.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

1. Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Ariz.

There’s no better place than the desert to see the dazzling night sky. Saguaro National Park, about 20 miles east of Tucson, is throwing a free star party 7 p.m. April 20. (The event is free, but $15 entry fee applies.) Visitors can scan the heavens with telescopes and learn more about astronomy too. Reservations are required; you can sign up at the Rincon Mountain District Visitor Center or call (520) 733-5153.

Crissy Field in San Francisco's Golden Gate National Recreation Area is easy to get to and offers free health events April 23.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco

Being outdoors can cure what ails you. Learn some rumba or tai chi moves, master an obstacle course, or perfect your dance-walking during Park Prescription Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 23 at Crissy Field in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco. Health-care screenings, exercise tips and healthy eating are on the agenda too.

ALSO: 10 adventures to pursue in Golden Gate National Recreation Area


Plants carpet the base of coastal redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, Calif.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

3. Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Calif.

Nothing is more glorious than walking among the cathedral-like coastal redwoods on the easy paths of Muir Woods National Monument, about 18 miles north of San Francisco. You can join a 15-minute talk or a one-hour tour led by rangers and volunteers (check the program board when you enter for a schedule of tours). Or grab a self-guided tour booklet at the visitor center to learn about redwood ecology too. Call the Muir Woods Hotline for info, (415) 388-2595

ALSO: Closeups of 12 national parks, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to American Samoa

A statue of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, shown as the leader of the Spanish expedition that discovered San Diego.
(Earnie Grafton / San Diego Union Tribune)

4. Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego

This is the point where explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo stepped onto the West Coast in 1542. The ocean views are killer, and there’s lots to do at Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego. Take a nature walk with a ranger to learn the point’s history, tour the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and head to the rocky beach for tide-pooling. Check out a Science of the Parks program 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. April 22 at Cabrillo Auditorium.

Red-hot lava spews skyward from the Kilauea volcano as visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park observe from a safe distance.
(National Park Service)

5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Island of Hawaii

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, about 30 miles southwest of Hilo, is the place to come see the dramatic lava spewing from the active Kilauea Volcano (at a safe distance) and take the Crater Rim Drive. The park will host a health-minded outdoors day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 23 at the visitor center. It starts with morning yoga and offers tips on Hawaiian massage at presentations throughout the morning. Still have questions about leading the healthy life? Take an hourlong walk with a doctor — and ask away.

ALSO: Watch the laval flow at Kilauea


A "fire hose" flow stream from a lava tube from Kilauea volcano Feb. 1 at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
(U.S. Geological Survey)


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