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9 Ways to Save on Fun and Fitness

Tips to save on everything from national park tours to gym memberships

Jon Jarvis NPS National Park Service ranger

John Loomis

Follow the advice from National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis and enjoy our nation’s natural wonders and historical sites for free this summer.

Jonathan Jarvis, National Park Service Director

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1. Visit on fee-free days.

One-third of national parks charge an entrance fee. But for the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, fees will be waived more days than usual this year. You can get in free on Aug. 25–28, Sept. 24 and Nov. 11.

Get money savings tips in the AARP Money Newsletter

2. Get free or low-cost passes to national parks.

Lifetime passes are free to anyone with a permanent disability and just $10 for those 62 and older. The passes also provides a 50 percent discount on camping, cave tours, boat rides or other amenities at certain parks. All passengers traveling in a vehicle with the pass owner are covered.

More Ways to Save: 12 Ways to Stretch Your Travel Budget

3. Find a park in your backyard.

With more than 400 national parks, every state has at least one, so it's a good chance there's one just a few hours away. Search for a park near you at

Curtis Pride, Sports and Nutrition Expert

4. Perform body-weight exercise.

These don't require equipment and can be done in small spaces, like your office. Examples include squats, lunges, jumping jacks and crunches.

5. Use free fitness apps.

Apps are available for yoga, walking, running, calisthenics and almost every type of exercise. Plus, you can easily take these workouts with you when traveling.

6. Join a health or nutrition challenge.

There are many free challenges available online or in communities to help people get fit. Many provide online badges or other awards for motivation.

More Ways to Save: 9 Ways to Save on Food Expenses

Marissa Stephenson, Fitness Expert

7. Join a gym in the summer.

Membership rates fall off then, so gyms offer better deals.

8. Consider small-group training.

If you want a personal trainer, ask friends to join you. Many trainers offer money-saving training packages for small groups.

9. Ask local retailers about free fitness classes.

Nationwide chains like REINorth Face and Lululemon offer free instructor-led workouts at select locations for a variety of activities.

Jonathan Jarvis is the director of the National Park Service. Curtis Pride is a member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrtion. Marissa Stephenson is a health and fitness writer and senior editor at Men's Journal.

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