Most people's idea of roughing it on Black Friday is pitching a camp chair outside the nearest big-box retailer at 3 a.m. Some fun, huh?
But this year, the California State Parks system and two environmental groups are offering free admission to dozens of state parks to encourage folks to step outside and enjoy the state's natural wonders instead of duking it out at the mall on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
On Black Friday last year (the day after Thanksgiving) outdoor retailer REI launched what's becoming a nationwide movement with its #OptOutside campaign, an award-winning promotion in which the company closed stores nationwide and asked people to head outside to enjoy nature. The company even pays its staff to #OptOutside instead of coming to work. Dozens of businesses and non-profit organizations are participating this year, from groups like GirlTrek and Outdoor Afro, which are hosting events, to Subaru, which is providing vehicles so New Yorkers can take shelter dogs into nature.
“We believe that being outside makes our lives better," said REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke. While the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us.”
So as that third piece of Thanksgiving pie makes its way through your bloodstream, you can grab free admission and parking to visit one of 116 participating California state parks.