Often considered “the best idea America ever had,” national parks are famed for offering up incredible views, stretches of tranquility, and the freedom to escape into the natural wonders that span our 50 states. Currently, 401 national parks span some 84 million acres of the United States, and the National Parks Service will waive all entrance fees for National Parks Week from Saturday, April 16, through Sunday, April 24.
With more than 20 national parks, monuments, and historic sites in the state of Arizona alone, this is a great opportunity to venture through the wilderness, step into history, and discover the state's diverse landscape.
From the Grand Canyon to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona is a playground for hikers, backpackers, historians, and your everyday outdoors junkie. The Grand Canyon State offers the Saguaro National Park, home of the nation’s largest cacti, a volcanic crater that's almost 900 years old, and Montezuma’s Castle, a 20-room high rise of sorts built into a prodigious limestone cliff. Then there's the Petrified Forest, a tree-less expanse of beautifully colored petrified logs, and Coronado National Monument, filled with legendary cities of gold and epic journeys.
These are just a few of the many, areas to explore here in Arizona. For a complete guide, use the Find Your Park website, which catalogs parks, monuments, and historical sites.
Later in 2016, the National Parks Service will celebrate its centennial. It was nearly 100 years ago on August 25, 1916, that President Woodrow Wilson created the organization. In celebration of the many decades of service, the NPS will host an additional 16 fee-free National Park days throughout the year. For a complete list of these dates, consult the National Parks Service calendar.