INDIO ( — Get a much-needed dose of nature this weekend at any of the four federally-protected green spaces within driving distance of Los Angeles in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.

The usual $20 entrance fee will be waived for cars entering the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park in Indio through Sunday. However, the fee waiver will not cover campsite fees, tours of the historic Key’s Ranch, or special use events.

“We are committed to ensuring that all Americans have a chance to enjoy their National Parks — regardless of ability to pay,” Joshua Tree Superintendent David Smith said. “We recognize that entry fees can be a barrier to some of our park users and are pleased that we have been allowed some flexibility in regularly suspending entry fees.”

However, Joshua Tree is not the only national park option in Southern California. In the backyard of Los Angeles County, the Santa Monica National Recreation Area offers everything from rocky vistas to lush hikes to ocean views. And right off the coast, the Channel Islands National Park is a remote island ecosystem teeming with unique animals and plants.

Willing to go a little further? A two-and-a-half hour drive will bring you to the Mojave National Preserve, a geological treasure trove just beyond Southern California’s high desert. Three of the four major North American deserts can be found within this park, where visitors can explore mountains, dry river beds, sand dunes, lava flows and rocks as old as 2.5 billion years.

Admission fees are being waived at all 412 national parks starting Thursday through Sunday.

Entrance to the park will also be free on Sept. 24, National Public Lands Day, as well as Veterans Day.

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