Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Freebie Alert! National Parks Week Is Now

From April 21 through April 29, US national parks are waiving entry fees. That's right: every single national park will be free. So, whether you're dreaming of heading to Maui's Haleakala or the Big Island's Hawaii Volcanoes, you won't pay a cent. (Of course, some parks are free year-round, like the Big Island's Puuhonua o Honaunau, but that's a story for another day.)

Visit this National Park Week site to find out about special events happening at parks across the country. April 28 is National Junior Ranger Day, too. (Kids can earn their badges at almost any national park year-round, or even online at home).

And since the national parks are letting you in for free, why not give back by helping them out with a volunteer project? Even if you missed the public programs on Earth Day (April 21), you can still find an opportunity to help out near you, wherever you live, just by searching the volunteer database.

What's your all-time favorite national park for hiking, anywhere in the USA? Tell us where we should travel next by leaving a comment below!

Related posts:
Wild Weather High on Hawaii's Haleakala Volcano
Go Green, Local Style in Hawaii: Maui Edition
Are US National Parks Now Too Noisy for Hikers?

Photo: Haleakala National Park (Michael Connolly Jr.) 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hawaii: Go Green, Live Local & Save Money, Too

Ever dream of vacationing in Hawaii, only to have your Polynesian island fantasies come crashing down on dry land once you find out how much a hotel or condominium and a rental car are going to cost? The budget-saving solution: travel more like local residents live, shrink your carbon footprint, and then you won't have to break the bank.

Over on Gogobot, a social travel network that's a real resource for independent DIY travelers, I've been doing a series of columns that tell many of my secrets for green, local and budget travel in Hawaii. Years of living, working and traveling all around the islands has taught me that the most unforgettable trips are often the cheapest.

Camping, hiking, hanging out at beaches, and learning about Hawaiian culture and history all cost less than one night squeezed in a tiny beachfront resort hotel room with mai tai cocktails. Plus you'll get better acquainted with a more authentic side of Hawaii, both its multicultural traditions and its hang-loose-outdoors contemporary lifestyle.

Check out my guest post with travel tips for Maui on Gogobot. If you've got your own money-saving, eco-travel ideas to share, leave a comment here or over there. My first post in this Hawaii eco-travel series: Oahu. Next up: Kauai on April 24. Aloha!

Related posts:
Go Green, Local Style in Hawaii: Maui Edition
Go Green, Local Style in Hawaii: Oahu Edition
My NPR Interview: Hiking and Ecotourism in Hawaii

Photos: West Maui (Sara J. Benson & Michael Connolly, Jr.)