The State of Michigan wants you to enjoy the great outdoors, not the great indoors. For the second year in a row, their contribution to the national #OptOutside program will get you into all State Parks free on Black Friday.

Where would you rather be on Black Friday? Stuck in a department store with crazed people tearing each other apart in search of Fingerlings? Or hiking on a trail hugging one of the Great Lakes?

If you answered 'hiking', the State of Michigan has a great Black Friday deal for you: they are waiving the vehicle entry fee into any of the State's 103 State parks or 138 State Forest Campgrounds.

"#OptOutside is an invitation to residents and those traveling to spend time outside during the holiday weekend and help continue or build new Thanksgiving traditions," said DNR chair Ron Olson in a released statement.

If late fall camping and heading outdoors in the cold sounds intimidating, the state has a list of activities to help you along.

There are plenty of ideas to incorporate into popular day-after-Thanksgiving traditions, including opportunities to:

 

  • Find a new mile to hike or run on one of more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails.

  • Cast a line in a state park and put fishing on your Friday festivities menu.

  • Try mountain biking.

  • Jump on the Iron Belle Trail - the longest designated state trail in the nation - and crisscross more than half of Michigan’s counties along both hiking and biking routes.

  • Find a new hunting spot by exploring one of Michigan's vast recreation areas.

  • Enjoy the peace and quiet of camping in the off-season.

  • Download a geocaching app and take part in an outdoor treasure hunting game that utilizes GPS-enabled devices.

  • Seek out historical markers and learn a little bit more about Michigan’s backstory.

  • Make a bird-watching scavenger hunt for kids and start a list of the birds you spot.

"We want to encourage people to use their public lands because those lands belong to them," DNR spokesperson Maia Turek added.

Sure, late fall camping is challenging, but what's a few layers of clothing for a full weekend free from the maddening crowds?