The National Park Service turns 101 this Friday, August 25, and to celebrate the start of its second century, all admission to national parks will be free! Of course, there’s no better way to take advantage of many of America’s national parks than on a kayak – whether it’s exploring rivers, lakes, wetlands or out in the ocean. To help you decide where to spend this free entrance day, we’ve listed a few of the best national parks to kayak up and down the East Coast.
Covering a large part of south Florida, visiting the Everglades National park promises wildlife, seemingly endless waterway for kayaking and both fresh and saltwater fishing. The $25 private vehicle entrance fee is waived on free entrance day, so don’t hesitate to take advantage!
Located about 10 miles apart on the North Carolina coast, these two national parks give you plenty of bang for your buck this Friday. Cape Hatteras offers a wide variety of paddling opportunities along the shoreline and in Pamlico Sound. While you’re in the neighborhood, take advantage of the free entrance to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where the famous first airplane flight took place. While there’s no entrance fee for Cape Hatteras, the fee for the Wright Brothers National Memorial will be waived.
Close to home for us at Vibe, the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area near Atlanta, GA includes 48 miles of river where you can float and fish. Sure, the fee is only $3 on a typical day, but it’s a great excuse to get out and celebrate America’s national parks.
Renowned as one of country’s top paddling destinations, Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine has incredible opportunities for both sea kayaking and freshwater paddling. During Founder’s Day, some islands in the park are off-limits to protect nesting eagles and sea birds, but there are still dozens of lakes, ponds and coastal kayak trails to explore. Entrance fees for Acadia National Park are $25 per private vehicle, making this park one of the best values on Founder’s Day.
Located near Key West, Florida and home to the impressive hexagonal Fort Jefferson and an amazing variety of sea life, Dry Tortugas National Park is an excellent destination for Founder’s Day 2017. There are multiple paddling routes ranging from beginner-friendly to strenuous, multiple-hour journeys between the seven small islands contained in the 100-square mile park. The $10 entrance fee per visitor will be waived on Friday.
Our national parks are rightly called “America’s Treasures,” and this short list only includes parks that have entrance fees waived for Founder’s Day. But there are a huge variety of parks that offer incredible paddling opportunities all over the country, and many that have special events throughout the year. For more information on the National Parks Service and events at all parks, please visit NPS.gov. There’s no excuse – get out there and explore the natural wonders our great country has to offer.