Mark Veterans Day With A Trip To A National Park

Spend part of Veterans Day Weekend with a visit to the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. NPS photo.

Veterans Day is just around the corner, and you can head to a national park to celebrate it with your favorite veteran, or visit one of the park system's war memorials to commemorate the day.

America’s 398 national parks will offer everyone free admission during the Veterans Day weekend, November 10-12, in honor of those who serve and have served in the United States military.

“National parks preserve places that commemorate our country’s collective heritage – our ideals, our majestic lands, our sacred sites, our patriotic icons – which our military has defended through the years,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of military members, past and present, and honored to tell their story at many of our national parks.”

From frontier forts to World War II battlefields, more than 70 national parks have direct connections to the military. These include our earliest national parks where army engineers designed park roads and buildings and the cavalry enforced regulations from 1886 until the National Park Service was established in 1916.

National parks throughout the country will hold special events to commemorate Veterans Day. Highlights include evening candlelight tours of Vicksburg National Cemetery where visitors will encounter historical personalities, the 7th annual illumination of 6,000 graves at Poplar Grove National Cemetery in Petersburg National Battlefield, a Continental soldier encampment at Independence National Historical Park, a talk on the African American Civil War experience at Natchez National Historical Park, and an exhibit and talks about the Roosevelts in the World Wars at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site.

Additional benefits for veterans on Veterans Day include a free Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area cruise that will pass the USS Constitution on its way to Georges Island, home of Fort Warren and, in partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation, free entrance to the Gettysburg National Military Park museum.

The Veterans Day weekend is the last of the National Park Service entrance fee free days for 2012.