The National Park Service each year offers several days where the entrance fees are waived and you are allowed free entry in the parks. Named “Free Days,” these days include free entry into over 100 National Parks, Recreation Areas, National Monuments, and National Reserves.
Imagine being able to do this in the Grand Canyon for free! You can five days a year!
When Are The National Park Free Days?
The Free Days are centered around the national holidays and the National Park’s keystone dates throughout the year. The scheduled national park Free Days for 2019 are:
- January 21: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 20: First day of “National Park Week”
- August 25: National Park Service Birthday
- September 28: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
All you have to do is arrive at the National Park of your choice on one of these days and you can drive, bike, or walk right in, free of charge!
Not only are the entrance fees waived on the Free Days but often times there are special events, presentations, or organized group hikes on those days as well! Check the National Park in question before your visit for more information and what events are happening.
What Parks Participate In National Parks Free Days
According to the National Park Service, more than 100 National Parks, Recreation Areas, National Monuments, and National Reserves participate in the National Park Free Days. All of the major National Parks like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Zion, Glacier, and Death Valley will be free of charge on those days. Visit the park’s website in question prior to your visit for confirmation and to also see what special events and activities are planned for the Free Day.
Sunsets at Delicate Arch at Arches National Park are included on the Free Days!
What Is Included In A Free Day:
Obviously the entrance or entry fee into the National Parks are waved on the Free Days. In addition to the entrance fee, events, organized activities, in-park transportation (usually buses), and free tours are included on each Free Day.
What Is Not Included On A Free Day:
While there are a lot of things included, don’t expect the National Park Service to pick up the tab for everything during their Free Days. You will still have to pay for food, drinks, and other concessions, private or commercial tours, and private transportation in and around the park.
Not A Free Day? No Problem
With only five National Park Free Days scheduled for 2019, unfortunately you’re more likely to visit a National Park on a day that doesn’t have the entrance fee waived. That being said, you can still pay the entrance fee during the non-free days (prices vary per park). We recommend you take advantage and purchase the “America the Beautiful Pass” which is the annual pass that allows unlimited entry into more than 2,000 National Parks, Recreation Areas, National Monuments, and National Reserves throughout the United States. For just $80 a year, this pass is absolute worth the investment- considering that most entrance fees to the National Parks alone range from $15-30 per car.
Happy National Parking! We’ll see you out there for a hike next Free Day!
What Are Your Favorite National Parks To Visit On A Free Day? Comment Below!
Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Microadventures. When he’s not writing, you can find him rock climbing, peak bagging, mountain biking, backpacking, or drinking strong coffee.