You can expect bigger crowds at national parks during summer, when kids are out of school and the weather and scenery are at their best. That's especially true at major attractions such as Yellowstone's Old Faithful. Visit in early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday rush, or explore the backcountry and hiking trails that most parks offer. Individual parks have websites that help with planning and provide information on lodging options. Many families camp, but most parks also have rustic cabins, budget motels and even upscale hotel accommodations. If you plan to camp, visit the National Parks website to reserve your site in advance.
The National Parks Service offers an America the Beautiful annual pass for $80. The pass includes admission to any national park or monument, as well as to other sites managed by government agencies. It's valid for the passholder and his/her vehicle at sites that charge admission per car, or for the passholder and up to three other adults when the site charges a per-person admission. Children under 16 are admitted free. Seniors 62 and older pay just $10 for a lifetime pass.
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