Enjoy the outdoors on September 22 at these local national parks!

National parks highlight the beautiful landscapes throughout our country. These parks can take visitors to deserts, forests, coastal lands, and beyond, and they are an amazing way to explore our natural environment in an increasingly urbanized world. The Grand Canyon National Park is even one of the seven national wonders of the world! On September 22, in celebration of National Public Lands Day, you can visit any of these national parks without having to pay an entrance fee.

There are 58 national parks in the United States. That gives you plenty of options to visit. Here are some great options right near the DMV area!

Great Falls National Park

Courtesy of the National Park Service

WHERE: 9200 Old Dominion Dr., McLean, Virginia 22102

This beautiful forested park provides visitors with lots of sights. Visitors can see one of the nation’s first canals and the cascading Great Falls, as well as local wildlife. Just a short 15-mile drive from Washington, D.C., this park is a great pick for DMV residents.

Hike as long as you would like! The falls are located just five to 10 minutes from the visitor center and parking lots. The falls have three overlooks that you can head towards, all of which are handicap-accessible. If you want more of an adventure, you can meander along one of the many trails — like the Billy Goat Trail, a 4.7-mile hike that allows you to explore both the falls and the canal!

Shenandoah National Park

Courtesy of the National Park Service

WHERE: 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East, Luray, Virginia 22835

The 75-mile trip away from Washington, D.C., will be worth these breathtaking scenic views. This park provides visitors with over 500 miles of trails on the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Shenandoah National Park even crosses over with The Appalachian Trail more than 30 times — so you can hop onto this famous trail without having to backpack for months.

If you’re not in the hiking mood, you can also drive along Skyline Drive to take in the sights.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Courtesy of TripAdvisor

WHERE: 7206 National Seashore Lane, Berlin, Maryland 21811

This coastal oasis is the perfect national park for the beach lover. You can hike, kayak, fish, bird-watch, and bike along the 37 miles of beach. What makes this park so iconic are the wild horses that roam along the shoreline. You can get some great photos of these majestic creatures; just remember to give them space as they are wild animals!

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Courtesy of the National Park Service

WHERE: 767 Shenandoah St, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia 25425

This park spans the states of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Harpers Ferry is a historic site where figures such as George Washington, John Brown, Stonewall Jackson, and Frederick Douglass passed through. It was also the location of a slave revolt in 1850 that was led by John Brown, as well as the largest surrender of troops during the Civil War. You can hike up the mountains and get a beautiful view of the quaint town and then head into Harpers Ferry to see history firsthand.

What do you think? Will you be visiting one of these national parks during National Public Lands Day? Which one is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!

More of an indoorsy person? Admission to certain D.C. museums will be FREE on September 22 as well!

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