Free Park Friday

November 24, 2017

The tradition continues! Admission to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas (regularly $7 for one-day vehicle permit) will be free on the day after Thanksgiving again this year.

The goal is to encourage families to extend their holiday by spending time together with a walk outdoors. Research shows that walking offers multiple benefits, from increased creativity and better brain function to more flexibility and stamina. So you won't just burn calories, you'll also improve your well-being.

While you're out there, snap a photo of your Black Friday free park adventure, and share it with us on social media using #FreeParkFriday and #OnlyinMN.

Need a suggestion for a free park adventure?

A few parks will offer special programs on Free Park Friday. Examples include:

  • Primitive Fire Starting from noon to 2 p.m. at Tettegouche State Park on Minnesota's North Shore. Learn how to start a fire without matches or a lighter. Meet at the park's fireplace plaza behind the Visitor Center. The lessons are drop-in, so carve out a little time and learn a technique that -- who knows? -- could save your life.
  • Beavers in Winter from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Whitewater State Park near Winona. Find out how beavers survive and thrive in cold weather. Meet at the visitor center for a brief introduction, then take a hike to look for signs of beaver.
  • Family Turkey Trek from 3 to 4 p.m. at Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne. A park naturalist will lead a one-mile hike to the upper cliff line of the quarry in search of a wild turkey or signs of wild turkey.
  • Visit our events calendar for more programs.

If the programs don't fit your schedule, you can explore on your own. There's a Minnesota state park or recreation area within about 30 miles of anyone in Minnesota. Use the ParkFinder and HikeFinder tools to help you with your trip-planning.

Important reminders

Be sure to check which parks will have hunts taking place, so you can plan accordingly.

Many state park offices will be closed or minimally staffed over the holiday weekend, because staff will be taking time off to celebrate with their own families, but visitors can stop at the orientation stations near the park entrance for trail maps and tips on what to see and do at the park.