Ditch the Mall and Get Outside This Black Friday

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More interested in trees than long checkout lines? Time reports that several states are encouraging residents to get outside this Black Friday instead of spending all day at the mall.

In a move called "Free Park Friday," Minnesota is offering zero-cost admission to all 75 of its state parks and recreation areas on Friday, November 27. According to Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith and the state's Department of Natural Resources, they hope the waived fee will encourage people to "spend time with family and loved ones, relieve stress, and enjoy exercise in the great outdoors.”

Meanwhile, California's Save the Redwoods League is the brains behind “Free Friday in the Redwoods," which will let individuals into its 49 state parks gratis if they download and print out a pass. "The shopping—and the leftovers—can wait," the organization wrote on its website. "Thanksgiving is about sharing time with friends and family, and appreciating our many shared blessings. Redwood parks are uniquely suited for both!"

Missouri also jumped in on the action, and is now allowing free camping in its already-free state parks. "After the leftovers have been put away and the shopping has been done, Missouri State Parks is inviting Missourians to spend time outdoors this Black Friday," the state park system said. "Missouri’s state parks and historic sites provide a great opportunity to unwind with family, get outside, and explore history." 

This trend comes straight off the heels of outdoor gear retailer REI's announcement that it would close all of its 143 locations on Black Friday, allowing employees to take a paid day off so they could enjoy the great outdoors. The company joined the growing list of stores that are bucking the post-Thanksgiving shopping tradition and refusing to open the day after the holiday. 

[h/t Time]