This Black Friday deal is a breath of fresh air – literally

Ditch the shopping frenzy and go to any state park for free.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

With just a few days until the biggest shopping day of the year, many Minnesotans are finalizing lists and making game plans on which stores they'll visit to score the best bargains.

But if waking up at the crack of dawn to squeeze your way through a crowded mall isn't your style, this Black Friday deal is a breath of fresh air: on the day after Thanksgiving, entry to all 75 state parks and recreation areas is free.

Gov. Mark Dayton just made the proclamation on Monday, but Free Park Friday is a tradition state officials have been pushing for awhile now. 

The goal is to encourage families to extend their holiday by spending time together outdoors, instead of packed like sardines with hundreds of shoppers.

"Research shows that spending time outdoors benefits children and adults, including improving mood, enhancing creative thinking and problem solving, promoting a conservation ethic, and improving physical fitness," a news release from the governor's office says.

At $7, the daily vehicle entry fees to Minnesota's state parks aren't exactly wallet busters. But after a day of stuffing your face with mashed potatoes and pie, it's hard to argue with a little exercise. 

Officials say the average American consumes around 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. A brisk walk can burn about 300 calories in an hour. 

"On Friday after Thanksgiving, I can't think of anything better than visiting one of Minnesota's spectacular state parks, with free admission," Lt. Gov Tina Smith said in the release. 

Planning your trip

Once you've made the decision to swap Black Friday for Free Park Friday, the question is: Where to? 

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith says she plans to visit Judge Magney State Park on the North Shore.

"But no matter where you are in Minnesota there is probably a state park within 30 miles," Smith said in the release.

A few parks will offer special programs on Free Park Friday, which are listed on the Department of Natural Resources' event calendar here. Examples of the themed events include an opportunity to learn about primitive fire starting at Tettegouche State Park, and a hike to look for signs of beaver at Whitewater State Park near Winona.

For those who prefer to explore on their own, the DNR has a handy ParkFinder tool here. It sorts parks by location and also allows visitors to search for specific things, such as which parks offer rental equipment like skis and snowshoes. 

For Minnesotans scouting the best trails, there's HikeFinder. Just don't forget to skim the DNR's safety tips for hikers before heading out.

Next Up

prison, Rush City cell block

Another Minnesota prison inmate dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The virus has killed at least six Minnesota inmates.

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.

sleeping

Three simple ways to boost your immune health heading into winter

Eating right is one thing, but there are other ways to stay healthy as the days shorten.

Taylor Rogers

Why Twins fans shouldn't give up on Taylor Rogers

The Twins closer struggled in 2020 but could rebound next season.

Co. Rd. 2 crash, Wakefield Twp.

Teen driver leaves road, crashes into three trees

Fortunately, the 16-year-old was not injured.

mndot deer  tunnel 1

Minnesota is getting its first highway crossing for animals

This will provide a safe way for animals to cross the street, and hopefully limit deer-vehicle collisions.

Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 11.00.30 AM

Money Gal Coaching: Habits of a millionaire, just in time for the holidays?

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

Related

The best Black Friday deal? It's Minnesota State Parks again

For the fourth year in a row, state parks will be free on Black Friday.

State parks, Glensheen prove a popular Black Friday alternative for families

A free visit to a state park was a popular alternative to post-Thanksgiving shopping

Screen Shot 2019-11-06 at 9.42.49 AM

Target releases its Black Friday 2019 ad, and deals start this Friday

The Bullseye says it will be offering discounts throughout the holiday season.

Macy's is having a credit card meltdown on Black Friday

The retailer is struggling to process payments on the busiest shopping day of the year.

Target store snow

Target's Black Friday deals will be for the entire month of November

Target says this lets shoppers they won't have to deal with Black Friday crowds during a pandemic to get good deals.

Costco reveals Black Friday deals that include 4K TVs, Apple products

It's one of the first major retailers to release their Black Friday plans.