Growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., opportunities to marvel at the beauty of nature didn’t come often. Luckily, my grandparents lived Woodstock, Va., nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. On our trips to visit, we would often change into our most comfortable clothes, lace up our sneakers and head out to the mountains.
Feeling the fallen leaves crunch with every step I took, witnessing squirrels and rabbits frolic on the forest floor and listening to the silence — only disturbed by our voices or the call of a wild animal — was eye-opening. It showed this city girl why preserving the land was so important.
From April 22-26 all national parks waive their entrance fee. It’s the perfect week to celebrate the great outdoors and visit a national park near you.
Visit one of these national parks today:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Size: 521,085 acres.
- Mammals: 65 species.
- Birds: Over 200 species.
- Amphibians/Reptiles: 80 species.
- Fish: 50 species.
- Flowering plants: 1,600 species.
- Trees: 100 species.
- Shrubs: 100 species.
- Always free to the public.
- Learn more