While most people think of Black Friday as a day to burn calories by walking the store aisles in search of a bargain, several states are offering up a different kind of deal to celebrate the holiday. In an effort to get people outdoors, at least nine states are offering free admission to all or some parks on Nov. 27.
Participating states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington.
“Visiting these parks is a great way to spend time with family and loved ones, relieve stress and enjoy exercise in the great outdoors,” Minnesota's Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith said in a statement.
The idea is to offer an alternative to the retail mayhem that many think has gotten out of hand in recent years. Black Friday news reports are now filled with stories about injuries and even deaths that occur in the name of holiday bargain shopping.
PLAN A TRIP: 10 of the best state parks in America
Outdoor retail giant REI announced last month that it would be closing its doors on Black Friday so that its employees can spend time with their family and enjoy outdoor activities. All REI employees will get a paid day off on Thanksgiving and the day after with encouragement to get outdoors.
“Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the essential truth that life is richer, more connected and complete when you choose to spend it outside,” Jerry Stritzke, the chief executive of REI, said in a press release.
Check out the list of participating parks below.
Visit any of Arizona's four REI locations through Wed., Nov. 25 to pick up a free day pass to any state park, including Red Rock State Park.
CaliforniaFree state park admission is thanks to a grant sponsored by the Save the Redwoods League. Free admission is offered to any of the state's 49 redwoods state parks. You can find a list of those and download your free pass for admission here. Some parks have already reached their free-pass limit, so be sure to get yours soon.
All state parks will offer free entry. Check out the state's park finder to find the perfect park to spend Black Friday.
All state parks will offer free entry. Whether you're looking to hike or paddle, The First State offers a variety of outdoor options.
All state parks will offer free entry. The Department of Natural Resources suggests a walk on the 3-mile loop around Pike Island at Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul, where wild turkeys can be seen near the entrance; a hike along the St. Croix River at Afton State Park in Hastings; or a trip to see the swans at Lake Maria State Park in Monticello.
While Missouri state parks are free all year long, this Friday the state will waive camping fees. To make a reservation, call 77-ICampMo.
Parking at all state parks will be free. Check out Silver Falls State Park, which offers hikes for people of all skill levels, as well as 10 different waterfalls.
The nation's most-visited park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will offer free entry, and all state parks will provide free guided hikes.