In addition to being Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday marks the beginning of a week when the country will hold its collective breath ahead of the presidential inauguration and potential unrest. In other words, it’s the ideal time to reflect on King’s work, including his peace-centered approach to injustice.
While this weekend (and next week) aren’t the best time to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., there are plenty of other parks where you can learn about his life and legacy in the civil rights movement, or take part in a day of service in his honor. And on Monday, you can visit any National Park in the United States for free, to mark King’s birthday. Here’s what to know.
How to visit a National Park for free on MLK Day
Each year, the National Park Service waives the entrance fees to all of their sites—including parks and other historical and cultural locations—on six days throughout the year. Monday, January 19, is the first of these fee-free days of 2021. There are five more this year, so mark your calendars:
If you’d like to visit a park or historical site where you can learn more about King, here are a few suggestions:
Of course, keep in mind that there’s still a pandemic going on, so make sure to check a park or historical site’s website before planning a trip, as some parts (like indoor spaces) may be closed.
It has also become tradition to spend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day doing acts of service—and there are plenty of opportunities to do that within the National Park Service.