The outdoor retailer REI shocked the consumer world last month went it announced that stores would be closed on Black Friday, the biggest retail day of the year.

Following on the example set by REI, several other retailers as well as state agencies are closing or offering free admission to state parks, choosing the outdoors instead of the shopping center.

The non-profit cooperative renowned for its altruism suggests consumers spend the day outside with their families (what a novel concept) and urged people to share their suggested activities on Twitter using the hashtag #optoutside.

Since then, retailers such as Nordstroms, Marshalls and Costco each decided to also close their doors. Rather than reap the financial benefits on the busiest day of the year, these companies are betting that good will and positive press will go much further.

Now several states are hopping on the band wagon and offering free admission to their state parks. The Minnesota park system recently announced that all of its states 75 parks would be free to attend on Friday. 

“We want you to spend time with your family outdoors on the day after Thanksgiving, and with free park entry all day, you have no excuse not to get out there and walk off your turkey dinner,” a statement read.

In Missouri, where admission to its park system is always free, the State Parks department announced that no camping fees would be collected for the evening of Friday Nov. 27.

In California, some 49 state parks will be free as part of “Free Friday in the Redwoods” sponsored by the non-profit Save the Redwoods League. 

“Thanksgiving is about sharing time with friends and family, and appreciating our many shared blessings. Redwood parks are uniquely suited for both!” read a press release.

Photo credit: Dreamstime