If you're a die-hard national parks fan, or have been just recently inspired to get out and explore by Ken Burns' documentary series The National Parks: America's Best Idea, then the National Park Foundation (NPF) has a freebie you'll want to download today. The America's National Parks Owners Guide 2009 overflows with good stuff, including pointers toward visiting little-known National Park Service (NPS) sites (for example, war memorials, maritime history sites and literary homes in the San Francisco Bay area).
The owners' guide, which you can download as a free PDF or browse through online, is organized into 20-plus regions, including Alaska and even Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Whether you're looking for new parks in your own backyard or maybe you're a planning an epic cross-country trip for next summer, check out the "Don't Miss" boxed texts. For more trip-planning advice, the NPF website also has a handful of short, snappy travel ideas.
Of course, if you're going to knock a few dozen more NPS sites off your life list in 2010, you're going to need an America the Beautiful annual pass ($80), valid at every national park and most federal recreation lands (a lifetime pass costs $10 for seniors, free for those with disabilities). Buy passes online or at any national park. While you're at it, consider making a donation to the National Parks Foundation. Anyone who contributes at least $50 gets a subscription to Parks magazine, which offers behind-the-scenes looks at what's happening in your parks right now.
Which national park is first on your list for 2010? Inspire us by posting a comment below.
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