National parks – “America’s Best Idea” – offer a wealth of free entertainment options. Admission is modest for what they have to offer. Even if you pay to get in ($25 or less for a carload for seven days), there are a multitude of activities that don’t cost a penny. Here are a few ideas for FREE things to do in U.S. national parks: bird-watching; wildflower hunting; amateur geology; stargazing; wildlife watching; hiking; photography; and painting or sketching. Watch a free film at the visitor center. Visit the park museum. Just about every park now has a museum that provides a great guide to things you’ll see in the park, adding the perspective of history. Take in an educational ranger program. (Or join a Junior Ranger program, for kids.) And last but not least … relax. Really, how often do you get to sit on a spectacular overlook and just enjoy the scenery? In silence. Here’s your chance.