Whenever we’re about to usher in a new year, we start thinking about all the fantastic places we hope to visit, including our favorite national parks. But did you know there were certain days during the year when entry fees at National Parks are waived? No, you didn’t?!?!
To make sure that you don’t miss out on these great opportunities this year, keep reading to learn about the free National Park Days in 2024!
- 1) What Are Free National Park Days?
- 2) What Are the Free National Park Days In 2024?
- 3) Tips for Making the Most of Free National Park Days
- 4) Annual National Park Passes
- 5) Free RVing Tips, Tricks, Reviews & Giveaways
What Are Free National Park Days?
The United States National Park Service designates a certain number of days every year when entrance fees are waived, encouraging us all to get out and explore these breathtaking natural treasures.
The purpose of Free National Park Days is to make the beauty and wonder of U.S. national parks accessible to everyone and to encourage people to get out and experience the wonders of our national parks.
By removing entrance fees on specific days, the National Park Service hopes to encourage individuals and families to explore the diverse landscapes and ecosystems that make up the country’s national parks. These entrance-free days not only provide an opportunity for outdoor recreation, but also serve as a means of introducing the magnificence of the national parks to people who have yet to explore them.
What Are the Free National Park Days In 2024?
The exact dates of Free National Park Days can vary from year to year. On the following dates in 2024, all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee (that includes 2,000 federal recreation areas as well as the national parks) will offer free admission to everyone:
- January 15: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
- April 20: First day of National Park Week
- June 19: Juneteenth
- August 4: Anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act
- September 28: National Public Lands Day
- November 11: Veterans Day
These dates provide opportunities for individuals and families to plan their outdoor adventures, whether they are seeking awe-inspiring landscapes, historical sites, or amazing opportunities for recreational activities.
Tips for Making the Most of Free National Park Days
Following are a few quick tips to help you make the most of your opportunities to take advantage of Free National Park Days:
Free National Park Days tend to attract large crowds, so planning your visit well is essential, especially if you’re hoping to secure campsites in any of the parks. Check the park’s website for information on facilities, trail conditions, and any special events happening on the designated free days. Consider using a campsite availability checker to get a campsite, even at fully booked campgrounds!
Two great campsite availability checkers are CampNab and Arvie. We have a discount coupon for Arvie membership to save you even more money while you grab last-minute campsites on entrance fee-free days… or anytime!
Unable to reserve a campsite? Now you can get notified when a sold-out campground has availability! Campnab helps campers around North America by monitoring a number of provincial, state, and...Show More
Unable to reserve a campsite? Now you can get notified when a sold-out campground has availability! Campnab helps campers around North America by monitoring a number of provincial, state, and federal parks in Canada and the United States.
You tell them when, where, and how long you want to camp for. They notify you (via SMS) when a suitable spot opens up at that campground—so you can nab that sold-out campsite reservation! We used it to book a site at Zion National Park's Watchman Campground... just 10 days before we were supposed to arrive there. In the peak of the season!Show Less
Our CampNab Experience: we know we’ve related this story before, but we once used CampNab to “nab” a site in Apgar Campground at Glacier National Park. Over Fourth of July weekend, no less! And we didn’t even START looking for a spot until 5 days before we were supposed to arrive! If that doesn’t show the power of campsite availability checkers, we’re not sure what can!
You should consider arriving early in the day to beat the crowds and secure parking. This will give you more time to explore the park without feeling rushed.
Remember to follow Leave No Trace principles by packing out all your trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife from a safe distance. Learn more about Leave No Trace principles in our post on dispersed camping.
Take Advantage of Ranger Programs
Many national parks offer ranger-led programs, guided hikes, special tours, and educational activities. These can enhance your experience and provide valuable insights into the park’s natural and cultural history.
Check For Entry Requirements
Since the days of the pandemic, popular national parks (like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon, and more) have had to try to curb the crush of visitors by implementing entry permits. While often relatively inexpensive (in the range of just $2.00 – $5.00), they must be reserved in advance… and often include a specific time window for your entry to the park. Check for any requirements when planning your trip by visiting the park’s information at NPS.gov.
Annual National Park Passes
If you enjoy your national park visits on Free National Park Days in 2024 and are interested in continuing to explore federal lands, there are several ways to do so at low cost.
The following passes cover entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day-use fees) at national forests and grasslands and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:
Annual Pass – $80
The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands pass is available to everyone.
Military Pass – Free
This pass is available to current US military members (and their dependents) in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force, as well as Reserve and National Guard members.
This free pass is also available to United States military veterans and Gold Star Family members.
Senior Pass – $80 (Lifetime)
This is a lifetime pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. When Peter got his pass, he decided to get around the age reference by calling it “Señor Pass” (with the appropriate Spanish accent, of course)! 😂
Fourth Grade “Every Kid Outdoors” Program
The Every Kid Outdoors Program offers fourth-grade students and fourth-grade teachers free entrance to public lands for the entire year. Fourth-grade students or teachers can get a free annual pass to visit more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries, and forests, with their families, classmates, and friends.
Thanks to the Every Kid Outdoors Program, America’s fourth graders can explore, learn, and participate in recreational activities in magnificent natural settings.
Whether you opt to obtain an annual pass from the National Park Service or you want to take advantage of Free National Park Days in 2024, the opportunities to enjoy nature in some of its more glorious locations are available to you.
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