How Can You Enjoy The National Parks This Spring? Check Out These Passport Picks!

How can you enjoy the national parks this spring? The options are almost endless, but here are seven quick suggestions on where to head.

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Lincoln Memorial. NPS photo.

1. National Mall and Memorial Parks. This year the National Mall in Washington, DC celebrates 100 years of cherry blossoms. In 1912, over 3,000 cherry trees were donated to the United States in the name of the city of Tokyo, in an effort to foster good relations between the two nations. Each Spring, the city and it's memorials come to life with the pink hues of the cherry blossoms. The festival will be held March 20 through April 27. Find more information here.

2. Homestead National Monument of America. In 2012, the nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act of 1862. The act provided the opportunity for citizens to claim and settle on land that was previously public domain. You can view the act at Homestead National Monument between April 25 and May 28. View the events calendar and find out more about the Homestead Act of 1862 here.

3. Clara Barton National Historic Site. Honor the life of one of the most well-known women in American history. Celebrate the life of Clara Barton with free events at the 100th anniversary of her death. More information available here.

4. 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Explore the second year of the Civil War with commemorative events at various parks. Explore the Battle of Shiloh with free events at the park (April 4-8), or visit Fort Pulaski and experience a living history event (April 10-15). You can also commemorate the Confederate withdrawal from Pensacola at Gulf Islands NS or head to Colonial NHP for Civil War Weekend at Yorktown Battlefield. Both parks require an entrance fee.

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5. Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP. Fly over to Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP and learn about the Wright Brothers and the evolution of flight. Details are available here.

De Soto National Monument. Be there for DeSoto Landing (April 21) as Conquistador Hernando De Soto comes ashore and claims Florida. Stay all day for interpretive talks and demonstrations about De Soto’s expedition and its lasting impact on the Native American people of the Southeast.

Details can be found here.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. Born in a two-room cottage, Herbert Hoover could have been any small town boy. Orphaned at age nine, he left West Branch, IA, never to live there again. The landscape and buildings of the early years remain to tell how family, faith, education, and hard work opened a world of opportunity-even the presidency of the United States-to a child of simple beginnings.

More information is available here.

6. Lowell National Historical Park. The early story of America's Industrial Revolution is commemorated at Lowell National Historical Park in the midst of this lively city. The Park offers visitors an in-depth look into the past that brought the 19th century textile industry to tap the waterpower of the Merrimack River while also revealing cultural connections to the present and visions for the future. More information is available here.

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Boott Mill at Lowell National Historical Park. Photo by Jonathan Parker, NPS.

7. Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP. Preserving America's early transportation history, the C&O Canal began as a dream of passage to Western wealth. Operating for nearly 100 years the canal was a lifeline for communities along the Potomac River as coal, lumber and agricultural products floated down the waterway to market. Today it endures as a pathway for discovering historical, natural and recreational treasures. Click here for more information.

Memorial Day Events. Celebrate Memorial Day by exploring our parks! Minute Man is offering a free concert featuring the US Air Force Band of Liberty at 2pm, Tuskegee Airmen is hosting it's annual fly-in, and New River Gorge is holding programs on water safety. Or you can find a park near you!