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National Park Week Under Way

National Parks Week starts Saturday, and guided tours and outdoor activities from hikes to nature talks will be held coast to coast.

This year’s events include:

  • Saturday, April 20: Junior Ranger day, a chance for young visitors to explore and learn at hundreds of parks and be “sworn in” at the end of the day
  • Monday-Friday, April 22-26: Free admission at the 401 national parks and hundreds of other preserved battle fields, historic homes, natural areas and seashores
  • Saturday, April 27: Volunteer Day, a chance the parks service says people can “roll up their sleeves” and give back through organized cleanups and other projects across the country

National Park Week is a joint effort of the parks service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of the national parks. Remaining 2013 free national park days include:

  • Aug. 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • Sept. 28: National Public Lands Day
  • Nov. 9-11: Veterans Day weekend

For those looking to visit the parks later this year, we’ve found discounts near western parks. Consider adding a trip to Wyoming to your 2013 calendar. A four-night land tour with hotel stays, including a GPS guided tour of Grand Teton National Park plus a full-day Yellowstone wildlife safari and a Snake River float trip, is now $679 per person for travel in peak summer season. This is up to $155 off current rates for visits June-September.

Also, the Grand Teton Lodge Company, located inside the park, has discount stays in cabins on the eastern shore of Lake Jackson to $99 per night. This is a 35% savings on stays May 23 - June 10 and Sept. 15-22, and guests will receive complimentary kayak rentals during their stay.

Find more deals and travel tips on our Wyoming Featured Destination page.

Or, head to California for a visit to a hotel in Sequoia National Park that Frommer's says is "by far the most upscale lodging in Sequoia & Kings Canyon” for weekday visits through May. After a day spotting black bears and hiking, retire to the lodge, now starting at $115 per night.

Book by Friday to get 60% off stays at a AAA 4-Diamond resort near Yosemite National Park for April stays, including complimentary breakfast. Rates at the Tenaya Lodge, just two miles south of the park’s southern entrance, now start at $179 per night.

And near Pike National Forest, home of Colorado's largest herd of bighorn sheep, the Colorado Springs Marriott has discounted weekend stays for select dates through June. Rates start at $95 per night at the property also close to the stunning geological formations found at the Garden of the Gods park.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Friday, April 19, 2013
See more Tips from
Hilary Solan