Minnesota state parks, recreation areas free on Black Friday

Great River Bluffs State Park. Photo take by Fox 9 web producer Allie Johnson. 

Rather than spending the day after Thanksgiving shopping indoors, Minnesotans are once again being encouraged to spend their Black Friday outside enjoying the state’s natural beauty. 

For the second year in row, the entry fee at all Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived on Black Friday, now dubbed “Free Park Friday.”

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announced Free Park Friday in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources following the success of last year’s initiative. Smith wants to “encourage all Minnesotans to include outdoor activity as part of their family festivities over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” according to a statement.

Outdoor retailer REI is also encouraging people to “opt outside” on Friday, Nov. 25. All 149 stores, including locations in Bloomington, Roseville and Maple Grove, will be closed again on Black Friday and in an effort to get more people outside. All REI employees will be paid for the day off.