There’s no more denying that from here on in, money is going to be tight. Very tight. Thank goodness then for the lure of our national and state parks, many of which are almost free to enter. Here in New York, any resident over the age of 62 can get free admittance to any of the state parks from Monday to Friday. This includes the world famous Niagara Falls Park. All of the parks have ample picnic tables so the blend between free admission and packing a hearty lunch makes attending these parks a near perfect experience. Who doesn’t like to get outside with nature and just enjoy the natural scenery and pleasant surroundings without tapping into any financial outlet?

Parks also make us smarter, stronger, healthier, happier and more productive (click here for more info).

Walking through nature also improves cognitive function and memory. These benefits can greatly improve performance in school and at work. Exercising in nature leads to greater health benefits than performing the same activity indoors. Communities that are closer to nature are more likely to have stronger ties with their community members.

A 30-minute visit to a park can improve heart health, circulation and lower cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure. Walking in nature reduces inflammation, wards off dementia and boosts your immune system, which decreases the risk of certain diseases and cancers.

Listening to bird songs and observing animals in nature have shown to promote wellbeing, reduce stress, improve mood, and reduce attention fatigue. 5 minutes walking in nature improves mood, self-esteem, and relaxation. Frequent exposure to nature reduces anxiety and depression, while promoting a sense of wellbeing and fulfillment.

The above photo of my family was taken this past holiday weekend at Walkway Over The Hudson, the world’s longest pedestrian bridge, located right here in Poughkeepsie New York! Admission and parking are free! Click here for info on this park. Forget about DisneyWorld or LegoLand or Universal Studios. Nothing man-made can compare to what our good earth has put forth in front of us.

And it’s almost all free! Below is a video I took of the Awosting Waterfall located in Lake Minnewaska State Park. Click here for more info.