Start a new park tradition

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Begin a new Thanksgiving tradition during the holiday weekend and get outside to a Virginia State Park. This year, Virginia joins with other state parks across the country and Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) to participate in #OptOutside.

“More than 1.8 million people are planning to #OptOutside with us on Black Friday,” REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke said. “It’s amazing to see so many park systems join in the movement to give Americans even more ways to connect with our country’s inspiring outdoor places. We are grateful for the park stewards and professionals who make the outdoor American experience so vibrant.”

The Virginia State Parks (VSP) partnership with REI includes honoring a store receipt for a free park entrance. Co-op members also receive additional benefits. VSP promotional materials are available in REI’s Virginia stores.

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Visitors during the Thanksgiving weekend are also encouraged to participate in the VSP’s #OptOutside photo contest. Photographers can win a $500 VSP overnight stay gift certificate and more, including prizes from REI. Details and the contest link can be found  at

“Record numbers of visitors have discovered our state parks this year and they’re learning what so many already know — that the outdoors are the natural alternative to our busy world,” VSP Director Craig Seaver said. “Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to opt out of the shopping crowds and explore Virginia state parks.”

After the holiday weekend, beginning Monday and through Dec. 20, VSP gift certificates will be available for a 25 percent discount. To purchase gift certificates, call (800) 933-7275.