You deserve to take your family on an incredible trip to one of the many beautiful national parks found in Arizona without spending a ton of money. As you plan your next big road trip, you should consider heading out on one of the fee-free days the National Park Service offers every year. For 2018, there are four of these days available. Plan your next trip accordingly, so it is one everyone will remember and enjoy.
Days With No Entrance Fees
The following dates correspond to free admission at any national park in 2018. Additional services, such as lodging, camping, reservations, concessions and tours, may still come with certain costs. The fee-free days include:
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- First Day of National Park Week (usually around the middle to end of April)
- National Public Lands Day (usually at the end of September)
- Veterans Day
2018 has six fewer fee-free days compared to 2017, and it has 12 fewer than 2016, which was the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.
Although the Park Service has not officially commented on the reason for fewer fee-free days, the reasoning could come down to additional revenue the organization needs to bring in to maintain infrastructure projects and take care of backlogged maintenance.
Ultimately, the free days serve as an opportunity for members of the general public to enjoy everything the parks have to offer. They serve as designated times to enjoy nature’s beauty with friends and family. For families looking to get back to nature on a budget, there are still plenty of other opportunities to visit a beautiful Arizona national park without breaking the bank.
National Park Passes
If you want to enjoy the majesty of the Grand Canyon multiple times this year, then you should purchase a Grand Canyon National Park Annual Pass, which costs $60. It is good for 12 months from the time you purchase it, and it allows for a single noncommercial vehicle to enter the park.
There are also military discounts. Active duty personnel in the military can acquire an annual pass for free. Obtaining this pass requires proper identification, which in this instance is the DD Form 1173 or a CAC Card.
Individuals over the age of 62 can purchase the America the Beautiful Senior Pass. It costs $80, but it is a lifetime pass that grants you access to all national parks. The pass may also provide discounts, some as high as 50 percent off, at certain locations.
Anyone can purchase an America the Beautiful 2018 Annual Pass. The price is $80, and for one year, it grants you access to all national parks, not just the Grand Canyon. You can acquire this pass at most park entrance stations, or you can call 1-888-ASK-USGS for more information.
Finally, people with permanent disabilities can acquire the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. This used to be known as the Golden Access Passport, and if you presently have that passport, then you can exchange it at any national park free of charge. Documentation, such as paperwork from a reputable vocational rehabilitation agency or a statement from a licensed physician, is required.
Preparation for Any Road Trip
Petrified Forest National Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Saguaro National Park, and so much more are out there for you to see in Arizona. Before you take the family to see any of them, you want to make sure your car receives a thorough inspection from an experienced technician to ensure everything in your vehicle is in fine working order.
Proper brake maintenance is essential to staying safe on the road. Make sure to get your brake pads replaced as needed. If brake replacement isn’t necessary, you may have the rear drums or rotors resurfaced.
You also want to read the rubber on your tires frequently. Have a technician inspect the tread to ensure your vehicle will maintain good traction with the road. Wheel alignment is also essential. Have your technician electronically test your alignment for an accurate reading.
Before any road trip, you want to make sure you get your car’s transmission, air conditioning system, belts, and engine are inspected. It takes a while to plan for a family road trip, especially if you know you will have to travel several hours to reach the desired national park in Arizona. Before you plan to leave, schedule an appointment at Sun Devil Auto. We have several locations throughout Arizona to help get your vehicle ready for the road. Contact a location near you to make an appointment today.