Along with small businesses, home buyers, and federal food inspections, our National Parks are one of the many things currently being affected by the Government Shutdown.

So, what does that mean for you- the visitors – and the trips you have spent your time carefully planning and saving up for? In this post, we will highlight a few essential things to know if you decide to still try for it.

Before you go

yellow van driving into a national park

Check the website

Though many of the most popular National Parks are closed, there are others that remain open to visitors.

The first thing you will want to do before you go is to check for any updates on each park’s website. If they are closed due the shutdown, there will be a bold notice at the top of the page. You won’t be able to miss it.

And while the majority of the website will not be updated, the status should be kept up to date. Check back regularly for any new notices.
Although, access has been known to change without notice.

Watch the News

Keep an eye on the news for new developments. Negotiations are always happening Washington, D.C. So, the Government shut down can change at any time.

If you aren’t someone who normally watches the news, maybe you can check in with a trusted source who does.

What to Expect

man backpacking inside of a national park, nearby an ocean

Each park will have different rules and operational schedules during the Government shutdown. You might still be able to visit despite the shutdown. But an absence of workers on the ground raises a number of safety concerns for you. Some parks have been able to enlist the help of volunteers, but there aren’t enough to adequately accommodate the number of visitors they are still experiencing.

A lack of workers present means there won’t be anyone to pick-up trash or clean the public restrooms and amenities.

It also means there won’t be any help if you find yourself in an emergency situation. Several deaths have already been reported from inside the parks since the shutdown began. It’s entirely possible there are more which haven’t been discovered or reported yet due to the lack of resources.

Go Prepared

When you go, consider going on a day trip instead of during the evening or overnight. And you will want to pack enough supplies to keep you covered like extra clothes, food and water, and some bags to dispose of any trash or waste.

What else?

In addition to National Parks, museums and zoo’s are also being affected. So, if you have any of those things planned for an upcoming vacation as well, be sure to call ahead and double check they’re still accepting visitors.

Hopefully, it will all be over before you go. But if not, you can stay ahead of the game with our tips. For last minute hotel reservations, get help on our sister site,