Walk off that turkey dinner: MN state parks waive entry fee on Black Friday

Headwaters trail in Itasca State park
Rather than shop or sleeping off food comas, officials want Minnesotans to spend time with family outdoors and walk off their turkey dinners. Here, a bench peeks out of the verdant foliage on the Headwaters trails in Itasca State Park.
William Lager | MPR News file

If you're looking for a deal on Black Friday, be sure to check out the great outdoors. Entrance fees to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will be waived Nov. 25.

On most days, the state charges $5 for a daily vehicle permit, including motorcycles.

Like last year, officials are waiving the fee in an effort to get Minnesotans to spend time with family outdoors, presumably walking off those turkey dinners instead of shopping or sleeping off food comas.

On Thanksgiving Day, the average American eats around 4,500 calories. And all that holiday grubbing really does pack on the pounds.

NPR reports that researchers tracked the weights of 3,000 people in the United States, Japan and Germany for a year and saw a spike in weight gain following every major holiday. Unsurprisingly, in the U.S., researchers found a sharp gain in weight after Thanksgiving.

A brisk walk can burn about 300 calories in an hour.

As for the "but-it's-too-far-I-can't-find-a-park" excuse? The Department of Natural Resources says there's a state park within 30 miles of most Minnesotans.

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